The Terminal is a 2004 comedy-drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It is about a man trapped in a terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot return to his native country, the fictitious Krakozhia, due to a revolution. The film is partially inspired by the 18-year-stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Terminal I, Paris, France from 1988 to 2006.

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Steven Spielberg
Walter F. Parkes
Laurie MacDonald
Andrew Niccol
Screenplay by Sacha Gervasi
Jeff Nathanson
Story by Andrew Niccol
Sacha Gervasi
Starring Tom Hanks
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Stanley Tucci
Barry Shabaka Henley
Kumar Pallana
Diego Luna
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Janusz Kamiński
Editing by Michael Kahn
Studio Amblin Entertainment
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Release date(s) June 18, 2004
Running time 128 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Gross revenue $219,417,255

Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) arrives at JFK International Airport, but finds that he is not allowed to enter the United States. While he was en route to the US, a revolution was started in his home nation of Krakozhia. Due to the civil war, the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation and denies Viktor’s entrance to the US on the grounds that Viktor technically has no citizenship. Unable to leave the airport or return to Krakozhia, Viktor instead lives in the terminal, carrying with him a mysterious Planters peanut can. The mystery as to what the can contains remains an interesting plot point.
Viktor quickly befriends the staff at the terminal while being under the watchful eye of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Head Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci), who wants Navorski removed from the airport. Initially being deprived of food by Dixon as a method of trying to get him arrested and made someone else’s problem, Navorski takes on the task of retrieving vacant baggage trolleys for the 25 cent reward from the machine. He uses this money to buy food from Burger King until eventually Dixon prevents him from collecting. He then makes his first friend, a catering car driver named Enrique (Diego Luna) who asks him to approach a female Customs and Border Protection officer named Dolores (Zoë Saldana) for him in exchange for food. With Viktor’s help, Enrique and Dolores eventually marry each other. He meets flight attendant Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who asks him out to dinner, but he tries to earn money in order to ask Amelia out instead. He finally gets an off-the-books job as a construction worker at the airport earning $19 an hour.
Viktor is asked to interpret for a desperate Russian man with undocumented drugs for his sick father. Viktor claims it is “medicine for goat,” barring the drug from confiscation and resolving the crisis. Under pressure and the watchful eye of the Airport Ratings committee, who is evaluating Dixon for an upcoming promotion, Dixon has a falling out with Viktor. Though Dixon is advised that sometimes rules must be ignored, he becomes obsessed with getting Viktor ejected from the airport. An Airport janitor Rajan Gupta (Kumar Pallana), exaggerates the “goat” incident to his fellow co-workers and as a result, Viktor earns the respect and admiration of all of the airport staff.

One day, Viktor explains to Amelia that the purpose of his visit to New York is to collect an autograph from the tenor saxophonist Benny Golson. It is revealed that the peanut can Viktor carries with him contains nothing more than an autographed copy of the “Great Day in Harlem” photograph. His late father was a jazz enthusiast who had discovered the famous portrait in a Hungarian newspaper in 1958, and vowed to get an autograph of all the 57 jazz musicians featured on the photograph. He succeeded in obtaining 56, but died before he could finish his collection.
A few months later, the war in Krakozhia ends, but Dixon will still not allow Viktor to enter the United States. Amelia reveals that she had asked her ‘friend’ — actually a married government official with whom she had been having an affair — to assist Viktor in obtaining permission to travel within the US, but Viktor is disappointed to learn she has renewed her relationship with the man during this process.

To make matters worse, Dixon needs to sign the form granting Viktor the right to remain in the United States, but refuses. He instead blackmails Viktor into returning to Krakozhia, or he will deport Gupta to his native country, where he is wanted for assaulting a corrupt police officer. Upon hearing this, Gupta runs in front of Viktor’s plane and asks Viktor to go anyway. The plane is delayed, giving Viktor enough time to go into the city and obtain the autograph. With the blessing of the entire airport staff, Viktor leaves the airport after receiving a uniform coat from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Port Director and hails a taxi. Dixon, watching Viktor leave the airport, decides not to pursue him. As Viktor prepares to take the taxi to a Ramada Inn where Benny Golson is performing, he observes Amelia exiting from a cab, where she gives him a wistful smile. He has a short conversation with the cab driver, telling him how to avoid traffic on the way to the hotel and that he is from Krakozhia. The driver tells Viktor that he is from Albania and arrived earlier that week. He attends the show and collects the autograph, finally completing the collection. Afterwards, Viktor leaves and hails a taxi, telling the driver: “I am going home.”

Krakozhia (Кракозия or Кракожия) is a fictional country created for the film, that closely resembles a former Soviet Republic. The natives speak the Krakozhian language. From January 16, 2004 to November 2004, the country was in civil war. When the war began, the President of the country was held hostage and a new regime installed, leading to Viktor finding his passport and visa useless. Consequently, Viktor must stay in the airport terminal for nine months, as the United States refuses to recognize the new Krakozhian government, after which peace is declared in Krakozhia and he is able to return home.
The exact location of Krakozhia is kept intentionally vague in the film, keeping with the idea of Viktor being simply Eastern European or from a former Soviet Republic. However in one of the scenes, a map of Krakozhia is briefly displayed on one of the airport’s television screens during a news report on the ongoing conflict. The country’s borders and location are those of the Republic of Macedonia. Throughout the film, it is learned that Krakozhia is bordered with Russia, that the Krakozhian language is akin to Russian, and that the Krakozhian national anthem is musically close to that of Albania (or the tune of Vajacki marš). Little else is known about Krakozhia, except that there was a lot of fighting which made the international news. We hear of the “northern area” being taken by rebels. The cover of the passport that Viktor shows to the customs officer in one of the initial scenes of the film closely resembles the Soviet passport. His driver’s license is Belarusian. One can see the words Вадзіцельскае пасведчанне (Vadzicielskaje pasviedczannie), which means driver’s license in Belarusian and the name of the Belarusian city of Homel.
The language which Hanks’ character speaks in the film, “Krakozhian”, is supposedly close to Russian to the point of mutual understanding, but is actually slightly-accented literary Bulgarian. Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, whose father is a Pomak, is reported to have coached Hanks in Bulgarian in the course of the shooting of the film.[citation needed] In the same line the name of Viktor’s father is Dimitar Asenov Navorski, shaped after the Bulgarian three-section pattern and contains one name popular among contemporary Bulgarians—Dimitar (Димитър). The patronymic Asenov derives from one Bulgarian medieval dynasty and was borne by several Bulgarian Tsars, Ivan Asen II for example.
Krakozhia’s name was inspired by one of Spielberg’s favorite cities – Kraków in Poland.[citation needed]
The film presents a reasonably accurate picture of the process of naturalistic second language acquisition, according to professional linguist Martha Young-Scholten.[12]
John Williams, the composer of the music for the film, also wrote a national anthem for Krakozhia.