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Restless Spirits (1999)

A young girl, who struggles with her pilot father's death in a plane crash years before, visits her grandmother in Newfoundland. While there, she encounters the ghosts of two pilots, who ... See full summary »



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4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Nungesser
Michel Monty ...
François Coli
Juliana Wimbles ...
Mr. Martin
Mrs. Martin
Mr. Frears
Mr. Hindle
Nickolas Swan ...
Sheldon Turcott ...
TV Reporter
Woman with red hair


A young girl, who struggles with her pilot father's death in a plane crash years before, visits her grandmother in Newfoundland. While there, she encounters the ghosts of two pilots, who are condemned to Earth to constantly re-live their own crash that occurred in 1927. The girl decides to help the pair by helping them re-build their airplane and complete their flight so they may be released and, in turn, deal with her own emotional bondage. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Adventure | Fantasy





Release Date:

1 August 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Aviators  »

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Did You Know?


This movie is based on a true event. Capt. Charles Eugene Jules Marie Nungesser and Capt. Francois Coli were a pair of French aviators who may have crashed in Newfoundland as they sought to become the first pilots to fly nonstop from Paris to New York in 1927 - just two weeks before Charles Lindbergh made aviation history with his successful nonstop flight in the opposite direction. Their plane was the White Bird. The wreckage and their bodies were never found. See more »

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User Reviews

Nice Family Film
14 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

David Wellington's award winning "Restless Spirits" is a family film much on the order of "The Boy Who Could Fly" and "Fly Away Home". The restless spirits belong to an actual pair of 1927 French aviators who aviation historians believe made a successful transatlantic flight two weeks before Charles Lindbergh did in May, 1927. Their names were Charles Nungesser & Francois Coli (humorously played by Lothaire Bluteau & Michel Monty) and the prevailing theory is that they crashed in a isolated area of Newfoundland.

These two ghosts are tangible and approachable, even friendly although Nungesser works hard to give an unpleasant impression. Adults looking for gore, scares, and atmosphere will be disappointed although the film does succeed at developing a decent amount of tension.

Juliana Wimbles does a nice job as Katie, a twelve-year-old who has not yet accepted the death of her test pilot father and whose mother has parked her and her younger brother at their paternal grandmothers while playing around in Europe with a new romantic interest. Marsha Mason plays the grandmother who has had little contact with the two children prior to this visit. She happens to live near a haunted pond and in the tradition of "Sixth Sense" Katie soon discovers that only she and her brother can see the ghosts.

Because of her father's occupation Katie has a natural bond with the two French aviators and figures out why they have not passed on. In 1927 they became lost in the fog and crashed into the pond, on foggy days they must repeat the events that led to their deaths. Katie enlists the help of Andy (Ben Cook), a young neighbor who has a crush on her. They work to restore the wrecked plane so the ghosts can finally escape the pond. Suspense is generated by the interference of Andy's nasty sister, and by the competition of two archaeologists who are trying to unravel the mystery of the doomed flight.

In the process Katie is able to finally come to terms with the loss of her father. She gains an understanding of death from the disparate reactions of the two aviator's to their ghostly situation. Nungesser, the pilot, is upset about losing out on the fame of the first transatlantic crossing and embarrassed at crashing. Coli, the navigator/mechanic is crushed by the realization that he will never see his family again. Katie begins to understand that her father was a mix of these two sets of motivations. Pay attention to Katie's interactions with the two aviators because it is in this substitute father/daughter dynamic that the film transcends the ordinary ghost story.

This is a well scripted and pleasant film with a very original premise that the whole family should enjoy, but don't expect shock and horror.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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