The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) - Plot Summary Poster


Showing all 3 items
Jump to:


  • 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.

  • Waldo Pepper was a World War I flight trainer. Waldo believes the honor of the best WWI fighter pilot goes to German Ernst Kessler, although Waldo's flight commander Newt believes that if Waldo had entered the war earlier and had got the flight time, he would have proved himself to be the best. In the post-war era, Waldo, self-coined as the "Great Waldo Pepper", has like many war pilots resorted to barnstorming to make a living. Instead of the penny-ante flights he provides to adoring fans, Waldo wants to join Dillhoefer's flying circus. Dillhoefer will only let him join if he can prove he can perform a death defying feat that his audiences crave to see. He decides to join forces with sometimes rival pilot, Axel Olsson, to come up with such a stunt. Another possibility, with the help of plane designer Ezra Stiles, his girlfriend Maude's brother, is to complete the first ever outside loop. But when the defying part of death defying comes close to not happening, Waldo's livelihood is jeopardized. He may have to reinvent himself if that livelihood is no longer a possibility. An unexpected source may allow Waldo to show if he really was and is the greatest.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Excuse my little english, I'm writing from Buenos Aires, Argentina; "The Great Waldo Pepper" is an outstanding movie, one of my favorites, with a beautiful story, an excellent director and a powerful cast, with Robert Redford at his best moment, and excellent performances by Bo Svenson, Geoffrey Lewis and the entire cast; the final battle between Kessler and Waldo is beatufilly shooted and it's impossible to stop the tears when Waldo becames an old still photo; the cinematography by Robert Surtees is so beautiful as Sven Nykvist´s or Gabriel Figueroa's; also is remarkable the work of the second unit and Henry Mancini´s melodies; I found some relation with another great movie, "The Tarnished Angels", starring Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone and Jack Carson, an Universal - International movie directed by Douglas Sirk from the novel "Pylon" by William Faulkner, but Waldo Pepper is not so bitter; this is my question: "Waldo Pepper" is an hommagge for Waldo Salt?

See also

Taglines | Synopsis | Plot Keywords | Parents Guide

Contribute to This Page