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The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

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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:

This was the era that belonged to young people - but mostly it belonged to a shy, lanky guy... The screen has never come so close to the heart of a man! 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

The first flight of "The Spirit of St. Louis" was at Ryan Aircraft's Dutch Flats airfield, then a salt-flats area in San Diego located just north of the present-day Marine Corps Recruit Depot not far from Lindbergh Field at San Diego International Airport. The location site used in the film is a desert salt-flats area with mountains in the background and no water in sight. In San Diego, Dutch Flats was long ago drained and today is the site of small businesses in what is now-called the Midway district sandwiched between the airport and Mission Bay. See more »

Goofs

When Lindbergh yells at the motorcyclist riding down a dirt road, the biker comes to a quick stop with his tires squealing. The road on which the motorcyclist is traveling would have to be paved for the tires to squeal. 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 »


Soundtracks

Rio Rita
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Tierney
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
Played on a phonograph when Lindbergh is trying to rest before the flight
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Epic recreation of Lindbergh's first and historic flight from New York , across Atlantic , until Paris
12 October 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Overlong though exciting story behind the story of Lindbergh's incredible flight from New York to Paris. It deals Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh (excellently performed by James Stewart , he always wanted to portray him , when he ultimately got his chance is very old for a young role ; he was given this character after John Kerr had turned it down, owing to his disapproval of Lindbergh's pro-Nazi sympathies and his racist and anti-Semitic views) struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing . As a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, Lindbergh (Charles wanted Anthony Perkins to play him in the movie) emerged suddenly from virtual obscurity to instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo nonstop flight on May 20–21, 1927, made from the Roosevelt Field in Garden City on New York's Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles or 5,800 km , in the single-seat, single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis . As a result of this flight, Lindbergh was the first person in history to be in New York one day and Paris the next.

Interesting picture with plenty of thrills , emotion , biographic elements and brief touches of humor . The film is pretty well though the action does drag at times and results to be overlong . Magnificent acting by James Stewart -at age 48- who gives a real Tour De Force back by good plethora of secondaries . However , many critics felt he was too old to be believable . In fact , producer Jack L. Warner was strongly opposed to the casting of James Stewart, which he believed caused the film to flop on its release in 1957 . Colorful and evocative cinematography in CinemaScope by two awesome cameramen Peverel Marley and Robert Burks , Hitchcock's ordinary . Impressive and thrilling musical score by Franz Waxman . However , the soundtrack was re-composed but composer Franz Waxman was no longer available so veteran film composer Roy Webb was hired along with Warner Brothers Music Director Ray Heindorf to come up with new cues based on Waxman's original material . The motion picture was compellingly directed by Billy Wilder , but it was a box office flop when originally released . After the film received bad notices from preview audiences, it was extensively re-edited with some new footage shot . Rating : Above average , this one remains a quality movie for the whole family .

This exciting and inventive picture well well based on true events , these are the followings : Six well-known aviators had already lost their lives in pursuit of the Orteig Prize when Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on his successful attempt in the early morning of Friday, May 20, 1927. Burdened by its heavy load of 450 U.S. gallons of gasoline weighing about 1,230 kg, and hampered by a muddy, rain-soaked runway, Lindbergh's Wright Whirlwind-powered monoplane gained speed very slowly as it made its 7:52 am takeoff run, but its J-5C radial engine still proved powerful enough to allow the Spirit to clear the telephone lines at the far end of the field "by about twenty feet or six meters with a fair reserve of flying speed". Over the next 33.5 hours, he and the Spirit faced many challenges, including skimming over both storm clouds at 10,000 ft , 3,000 m, and wave tops at as low at 10 ft (3.0 m), fighting icing, flying blind through fog for several hours, and navigating only by the stars , whenever visible , and dead reckoning before landing at Le Bourget Airport at 10:22 pm (22:22) on Saturday, May 21. The airfield was not marked on his map and Lindbergh knew only that it was some seven miles northeast of the city. He initially mistook the airfield for some large industrial complex with bright lights spreading out in all directions. The lights were, in fact, the headlights of tens of thousands of cars all driven by eager spectators now caught in "the largest traffic jam in Parisian history " . A crowd estimated at 150,000 spectators stormed the field, dragged Lindbergh out of the cockpit, and literally carried him around above their heads for "nearly half an hour".


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