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15 AIRLINES CUT PLANE SCENE FROM `RAIN MAN’ FOR FLIGHTS

SHARE 15 AIRLINES CUT PLANE SCENE FROM `RAIN MAN’ FOR FLIGHTS

A crucial scene from the Oscar-winning "Rain Man" has been excised from the version shown by at least 15 major airlines because the scene about aviation safety was considered unfit for passengers.

In the four-minute "Rain Man" sequence, Dustin Hoffman's autistic savant character refuses to board a plane because he has memorized airplane crash statistics.Pressured by his brother Charlie Babbitt, played by Tom Cruise, Hoffman's Raymond Babbitt panics and starts screaming and thrashing about.

"I think it's a key scene to the entire movie. That's why it's in there," Barry Levinson, the film's Academy Award-winning director, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "It launches their entire odyssey across country - because they couldn't fly.

"Without that scene, it comes down to this: You basically lose an enormous impact of the film. That scene tells you that they, mechanically, are forced to drive across country and, secondly, that Charlie can only push Raymond so far because he knows what will happen."

Furthermore, the deletion of the scene makes later references to it nonsensical.

"Rain Man" started showing on airplanes in June and is now being screened regularly on 15 carriers, said Don Sathern, supervisor of visual programming for Sony-Trans Com Inc., the nation's largest in-flight movie service.

"Everybody wanted the scene out," he said. "Usually, plane-crash sequences are automatically out."

One airline spokeswoman said it was the sort of scene that typically could make passengers uneasy.

One airline is showing "Rain Man" with the scene intact: Qantas, which Raymond singles out for the best safety record.

"Qantas?" Charlie demanded in exasperation.

"Never crashed," Raymond muttered.