The Gypsy Moths (1969)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Romance  |  28 August 1969 (USA)
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Reviews: 30 user | 11 critic

Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Complete credited cast:
Mike Rettig
Elizabeth Brandon
Joe Browdy
Malcolm Webson
V. John Brandon
Annie Burke
Carl Reindel ...
Ford Rainey ...
Stand Owner
John Napier ...
Dick Donford


On a 4th of July weekend, three barnstorming skydivers arrive to perform in a small Kansas town. They are hosted by the youngest member Webson's aunt, the unhappily married Elizabeth. While Browdy one-nights with a topless dancer, a doomed romance flares up between Elizabeth and Rettig. Tension builds, and explodes with a spectacular skydiving show. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Gypsy Moths fall fast. They can't stop risking their lives - not even for their down-to-earth women. See more »


Action | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 August 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die den Hals riskieren  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Experienced but amateur skydivers, most with several thousand jumps to their credit, were brought in from California to double for the actors. During one take an unexpected gust of wind pulled the chute and caused one of the skydivers to be slammed into the ground, breaking his collarbone and dislocating his shoulder. Even though in great pain, he stayed in character and managed to get up and finish the scene. He was retained by director John Frankenheimer as a consultant. See more »


During the parachute jump that opens the film, the Gypsy Moths jump from the exact same plane flown by the same pilot they meet and hire - supposedly for the first time - in another town several days later. See more »


Joe Browdy: Hey Kid... Next time you get in an airplane, make sure it's got a door on it!
See more »


Referenced in Blunt Talk: Who Kisses So Early in the Morning? (2015) See more »


Wild Blue Yonder
("U.S. Air Force Song")(uncredited)
Music and lyrics by Robert MacArthur Crawford
First two lines sung by Gene Hackman
See more »

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User Reviews

A rare look at the sport of sky diving.
4 May 2007 | by (Central City, Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Directed by John Frankenheimer, best known for his political thrillers, this is one of the few films to take a serious look at the increasingly popular thrill sport of sky diving. Burt Lancaster, Gene Hackman and Scott Wilson represent three different points of view of sport parachuting. For Hackman it is a business, for Wilson it is about escape and acceptance, for Lancaster it is something more personal. Seven gifted amateur sky divers did over 2000 jumps to create the stunt work in this film. Between uncooperative winds and rain and with settings in parts of seven different Kansas locations they managed to pull together this film, which will have you on the edge of your seat all the way through. Excellent supporting turns are put in my Debra Kerr and William Windom

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