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The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)

A biplane pilot who had missed flying in WWI takes up barnstorming and later a movie career in his quest for the glory he had missed, eventually getting a chance to prove himself in a film ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Axel Olsson
Roderick Cook ...
Scott Newman ...
James S. Appleby ...
Patrick W. Henderson Jr. ...
James N. Harrell ...
Farmer (as James Harrell)
Elma Aicklen ...
Farmer's Wife


A biplane pilot who had missed flying in WWI takes up barnstorming and later a movie career in his quest for the glory he had missed, eventually getting a chance to prove himself in a film depicting the dogfights in the Great War. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Robert Redford Takes to the Skies in This Rousing Adventure


Adventure | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 March 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tollkühne Flieger  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Waldo is recounting his fight with Kessler at the start of the movie, he mentions that his guns jammed and Kessler, seeing that he was helpless, saluted then flew away. This actually happened to Ernst Udet (on whom Kessler is based) when flying against the French ace Georges Guynemer in 1917, only it was Udet (at that time inexperienced) who had the jam and Guynemer (a high scoring ace) who let him go. See more »


A modern power line tower can be seen during the dogfight sequence between Waldo and Ernst. See more »


Axel Olsson: Guess who's still alive... ME!
See more »

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User Reviews

Best Aviator Flick Ever Made
28 July 2007 | by (naples, florida) – See all my reviews

How can this film barely have more than a single page of comments? Redford in his youthful heyday, following the success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Susan Sarandon as the female lead, and yet, apparently, so few have ever seen this that less than two pages covers comments. Major urging: see this film.

Extremely well written and directed, even better acting, all stunts by human beings and not computers, and beautifully photographed. The only weakness is that due to audience availability, this film is hard to find on DVD, even at Blockbuster. Similar to The Hill, absolutely the best acting performance by Sean Connery, but try and see it. Major hint to those who have missed Waldo Pepper: never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, attempt the double loop, especially in a plane. Today, July 28, 2007, we had two crashes at the Wisconsin and Ohio Air Shows. Death isn't just in the movies when doing stunts in a plane.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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