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The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

Approved | | Adventure, Biography, Drama | 20 April 1957 (USA)
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Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Charles A. Lindbergh (book), Billy Wilder (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... Charles Augustus 'Slim' Lindbergh
Murray Hamilton ... Bud Gurney
Patricia Smith ... Mirror Girl
Bartlett Robinson ... Benjamin Frank Mahoney, President Ryan Airlines Co.
Marc Connelly ... Father Hussman
Arthur Space ... Donald Hall, Chief Engineer Ryan Airlines
Charles Watts Charles Watts ... O.W. Schultz, Salesman Atlas Suspender Co.
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Storyline

Biography of Charles Lindburgh from his days of precarious mail runs in aviation's infancy to his design of a small transatlantic plane and the vicissitudes of its takeoff and epochal flight from New York to Paris in 1927. Written by Paul Emmons <pemmons@wcupa.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story Behind the Story of Lindbergh's Incredible Flight to Paris! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lindbergh - Mein Flug über den Ozean See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)| 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack L Warner said at the time that this was " the most disastrous failure we ever had". See more »

Goofs

The plane that crashes in the snow storm near the beginning of the film is a de Havilland biplane with the markings, "110 U.S. Air Mail C.A.M. No. 2". When Lindbergh arrives at the Lambert-St. Louis Flying Field in his car following the crash, that same aircraft is sitting in the hangar in perfect condition, the number 110 clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Reporter: [checking his copy] Here at the Garden City Hotel, less than a mile from Roosevelt Field... less than three-quarters of a mile from Roosevelt Field... everyone is waiting, as they have been now for seven days and nights, waiting for the rain to stop...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Billy Wilder Speaks (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby Face
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Akst
Played when Lindbergh makes a phone call from Louie's Shack
See more »

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User Reviews

Quite uplifting, this rather forgotten Wilder
26 October 2004 | by jandesimpsonSee all my reviews

Someone once said to me that there are only four basic movie plots: the first, boy meets girl: the second, man against apparently insuperable odds: the others.....I can't remember. Although I am not by nature agoraphobic, I guess when it comes to cinema I prefer the cosily domestic to wide open spaces. Every so often, however, I find myself responding to man battling it out against the elements, particularly if the point is being made that, without the sheer determination of an individual to grapple with prejudice and ignorance, civilization would not gain a pace or two forward. Billy Wilder's epic of human endeavour, "The Spirit of St. Louis", is just such an instance. It is heaps better than most in this category mainly through the excellent central performance by James Stewart as Charles Lindbergh, the first successful transatlantic flyer. True, Stewart was twice the age of the man he was portraying but he brilliantly manages the demeanour of a much younger person and has the advantage of being one of the very few actors able to convey the determined obsessive fanaticism that Lindbergh must have possessed. One can admire Wilder's skill in sustaining audience interest throughout what is essentially a one character and a one scene film but he achieves it through interspersing the present from the night before the takeoff, with flashbacks that retell the background to the mission, each a little story in itself, some quite tense such as Lindbergh's adventurous flight during a blizzard when he was a flying mail courier and others rather droll such as giving a flying lesson to a priest who is the most incompetent would-be aviator ever. The main journey once it gets going is mainly smooth and something of a leisurely travelogue with nice views over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on the way. Far more dramatic is the takeoff during foul weather from a rain drenched runway in which Stewart grapples with his tiny aircraft narrowly clearing pylons and a clump of trees. The miracle that so flimsy a machine could make it not only for a few miles but across a vast ocean is reinforced by the hazardous implications of this wonderfully atmospheric sequence in a way that make the journey and the arrival in Paris quite uplifting.


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