IMDb > The Gypsy Moths (1969)
The Gypsy Moths
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The Gypsy Moths (1969) More at IMDbPro »

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6.4/10   1,179 votes »
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Up 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Hanley (screenplay)
James Drought (novel)
View company contact information for The Gypsy Moths on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 August 1969 (USA) See more »
When you turn on by falling free... when jumping is not only a way to live, but a way to die, too... you're a Gypsy Moth. See more »
Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(9 articles)
Film Review: ‘Sunshine Superman’
 (From Variety - Film News. 16 January 2015, 5:05 PM, PST)

Nyff 2014. Main Slate
 (From MUBI. 19 August 2014, 5:16 PM, PDT)

William Windom obituary
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 23 August 2012, 4:06 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Gave it a "7" because of Deborah Kerr See more (30 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Burt Lancaster ... Mike Rettig

Deborah Kerr ... Elizabeth Brandon

Gene Hackman ... Joe Browdy

Scott Wilson ... Malcolm Webson

William Windom ... V. John Brandon

Bonnie Bedelia ... Annie Burke

Sheree North ... Waitress
Carl Reindel ... Pilot
Ford Rainey ... Stand Owner
John Napier ... Dick Donford
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Thom Conroy ... Band Leader (uncredited)

Patty Plenty ... Topless Dancer (uncredited)
Bill Zuckert ... Magistrate (uncredited)

Directed by
John Frankenheimer 
Writing credits
William Hanley (screenplay)

James Drought (novel)

Produced by
Hal Landers .... producer
Edward Lewis .... executive producer
Bobby Roberts .... producer
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein 
Cinematography by
Philip H. Lathrop  (as Philip Lathrop)
Film Editing by
Henry Berman 
Art Direction by
George W. Davis 
Cary Odell 
Set Decoration by
Henry Grace 
Jack Mills 
Costume Design by
Bill Thomas 
Makeup Department
Sydney Guilaroff .... hair stylist
William Tuttle .... makeup artist
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Jim Henderling .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Al Jennings .... assistant director
Lynn Guthrie .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Otto Lang .... second unit director (uncredited)
Art Department
Frank Agnone .... property master
Sound Department
Franklin Milton .... recording supervisor
Tom Overton .... sound engineer (as Tommy Overton)
Visual Effects by
J. McMillan Johnson .... special visual effects
Carroll L. Shepphird .... special visual effects
J. David Jones .... aerial stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Carl Boenisch .... special aerial photographer
Ray De La Motte .... first assistant camera: aerial unit (uncredited)
Jay Gifford .... camera operator: aerial unit (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Alex Beaton .... associate editor
Music Department
Robert Bain .... musician: guitar (uncredited)
Elmer Bernstein .... conductor (uncredited)
Buddy Collette .... musician: saxophone (uncredited)
Shelly Manne .... musician: drums (uncredited)
Richard Nash .... musician: trombone (uncredited)
Uan Rasey .... musician: trumpet (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
107 min
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:G | Australia:PG (TV rating) | Australia:M (VHS rating) | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-8 | Sweden:15 | USA:R | West Germany:18 (f)

Did You Know?

The skydiving equipment the Gypsy Moths use in the film was sport parachuting state-of-the-art for the late 1960's. The three jumpers' personal gear consisted of Para-Commander main parachutes in "Piggyback" containers and harnesses made by the Pioneer Parachute Company, Pioneer jumpsuits, Bell helmets, Altimaster wrist altimeters, and French-designed and manufactured "Paraboots". The goggles they wore were a commercially-available type identical to the Polaroid M-1944 military goggle, their light gloves a commonly-available work or trucker's driving glove.See more »
Revealing mistakes: 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:We'll be jumping from a Howard DGA-15. "DGA": that stands for "Damn Good Airplane", which if course it is. Very tricky to land though. Heh heh. You're much better off jumping out if it than you are taking a chance on landing in it. This one's in good shape.
Malcolm Webson:To Browdy, a airplane is in good shape if it has wings and a prop.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Wild Blue YonderSee more »


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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Gave it a "7" because of Deborah Kerr, 26 March 2005
Author: enthusiast from Lithuania

This movie is an overlooked gem, and deserved better than what it got. I remember it coming out in theatrical release in the late 1960s, and it received very good reviews but for some reason it quietly died off; or so it seems. The director, in the commentary on the DVD, tells why this occurred and that was basically due to a change of management at MGM shortly after this movie was released. Now, it can be appreciated with the new DVD technology.

The technology used to film this movie was very sophisticated for its time and gave results that would challenge the technology of today. Film cameras instead of video cameras were used by the skydivers; nevertheless they obtained tremendous aerial shots that are thrilling even today. It is hard to believe that these scenes were filmed thirty six years ago.

The documentary film on the DVD about the making of this movie is absolutely essential to fully enjoy and understand the skydiving associated with this movie; including the "Bat Wing" stunt skydiving that forms a sort of particular drama with this movie. A better film documentary film about this movie, which I doubt exists or will be shown, would be about the making of the love scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. The had a love scene, of sorts, in the 1953 movie, "From Here to Eternity". That scene, on the beach, is quite well known. However, due to the Code restrictions then not really that much could be shown.

I believe that one unspoken reason this movie was made was to allow a reunion between Lancanster and Kerr. Also, she was willing to be naked in a movie, very rare for the late 1960s. Those would be the primary reasons why she was in the movie as she was actually somewhat miscast due to her accent; a definite British accent in Kansas is somewhat incongruous (nowhere in the movie are we told that she is, say, a war bride or a British girl who somehow otherwise married a Kansas man).

Having said that I am actually very glad they cast her! Nowadays I look a lot like her and worry about whether or not I can find another husband (divorced and looking). Debby showed that a girl could still get a gorgeous hunk like Burt even when she was 48! You guys just can't imagine what us middle aged gals feel when we see Debby and Burt finally doing the wild thing in that living room! It gives us hope that we can still get a man! Deborah Kerr still had a great body at 48, and that is why I think she did not mind doing the nude scene. I think she was not near as nervous showing off as Burt was and certainly not near as nervous as the director. Her performance was certainly a highlight of this movie.

Puzzling was the performance of William Windom; who portrayed her husband. His role is somewhat out of place; and I don't understand why his fine acting skills weren't use more than they were. His role is disjointed at best and it is hard to understand how the character is supposed to fit within this movie. There are absolutely no husband-wife dynamics shown between him and Kerr. Even in the most disjointed of marriages (such as the second of my two marriages) there is generally some sort of attachment between the two even though they may both be in the divorce court! Interestingly enough, when Lancaster was on this film he had just gone through a divorce. His wife was upset due to all the flings he had been through while married to her. Well, it is easy for this gal to see why he was not totally loyal to his wife; he had all those sexy women throwing themselves at him! And, if I had been around that area when this film was being made I would have been one of them! He was a good looking fellow then! Debby, you were a lucky gal!

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