The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama  |  13 March 1975 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 4,118 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 15 critic

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)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: M Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv
Comedy | Western | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Sonny Steele used to be a rodeo star, but his next appearance is to be on a Las Vegas stage, wearing a suit covered in lights, advertising a breakfast cereal. When he finds out they are ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine
The Hot Rock (1972)
Certificate: GP Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Dortmunder and his pals plan to steal a huge diamond from a museum. But this turns out to be only the first time they have to steal it...

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Robert Redford, George Segal, Ron Leibman
Legal Eagles (1986)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A New York district attorney works and flirts with his adversary and her kooky artist client, who is on trial for a murder she didn't commit.

Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Robert Redford, Debra Winger, Daryl Hannah
The Candidate (1972)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Bill McKay is a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. He has no hope of winning, so he is willing to tweak the establishment.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton
Brubaker (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto, Morgan Freeman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A story of two motorcycle racers, the inept, unsuspecting Little Faus (Micheal J.Pollard) and the opportunistic, womanizing Halsey Knox (Redford)

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Robert Redford, Michael J. Pollard, Lauren Hutton
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson
Havana I (1990)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Cuba, December 1958: The professional gambler Jack visits Havana to organize a big Poker game. On the ship he meets Roberta and falls in love with her. Shortly after they arrive in Cuba, ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Lena Olin, Alan Arkin
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two desperate people have a wonderful romance, but their political views and convictions drive them apart.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A railroad official, Owen Legate comes to Dodson, Mississippi to shut down much of the town's railway (town's main income). Owen unexpectedly finds love with Dodson's flirt and main ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Natalie Wood, Robert Redford, Charles Bronson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Axel Olsson
Philip Bruns ...
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 <>

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  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of the stunts the movie recounts is the first outside loop. It's the stunt that kills Ezra Stiles. The first person in the U.S. to successfully perform an outside loop was Jimmy Doolittle, who went on to become a hero of WWII. See more »


When Ezra and Waldo drive up to the farmhouse in Ezra's pick-up it is very obvious that the truck looks far too old for the 1920's time frame of the movie. In the late 1920's that truck would have been new or nearly new. Instead, it is obviously 40 or 50 years old (which is just about exactly the age it would have been when the movie was released in 1975). See more »


Ezra Stiles: It's gonna be a monoplane.
Waldo Pepper: A monoplane. Are you telling me you're building me an airplane with only one wing?
Ezra Stiles: Just thought you'd like to know: the biplane's gone the way of the Dodo.
See more »


Featured in Hooper (1978) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The air and the ground
8 May 2006 | by (Zurich, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

First I must say that this beautiful movie handles the wide screen format extremely well, to watch it on TV comes near to an act of profanation. The lines, the colors , the surfaces, the sun that always seems to be low above the horizon ... The Great Waldo Pepper really is a work of cinematic art.

Secondly I would really like to know how the idea for this script developed. It looks like the aviation business is a metaphor for the movie industry. I would not be surprised had director and co-scriptwriter George Roy Hill put many personal feelings and experiences into it. Aviation stands for freedom. But even in the title scene the constant fear of being forcefully grounded becomes evident – the main character, aviator Waldo Pepper, talks an overawed boy into getting a canister of gas for him with the promise of a free tour above the landing strip. Cute, at first sight, but also curiously grim. It immediately started me wondering how the boy could manage to carry the full canister over the required long distance.

The wish to be free and be able to fly off sets ever more demanding conditions. People get bored with acrobatics, they want to see blood. The artists comply, because they are ambitious but also because they know that it is the only way that allows them to continue. Time moves on and it becomes evident that commercial air service will put an end to the adventurous phase of aviation. Hollywood seems to be the only way out. Acrobats are needed as stunt-men there. The grindhouse routine of the dream factory is not to their liking, but what else can they do? On a set Waldo Pepper meets a famous German flyer he idolizes. Much to his surprise this Erich von Stroheim character is deeply in debt. „In the air, I see heroism, chivalry and a spirit of comraderie", rasps the German, „but on the ground ..." He just limply shrugs. The final quixotic showdown between Pepper and the German is a natural and very good ending of this surprisingly „deep" and rather pessimistic movie that offers far more than nostalgia.

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is this a movie for kids? maranofam
How 'bout a DVD Upgrade? skidmark57
Alternate version iamjohnsname
Opening Song lil_mean_birdie
Ezra's plane Jester1981
Stunt Flying by Art Scholl thestilettoman
Discuss The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: