6.4/10
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Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writers:

William Hanley (screenplay), James Drought (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Mike Rettig
Deborah Kerr ... Elizabeth Brandon
Gene Hackman ... Joe Browdy
Scott Wilson ... Malcolm Webson
William Windom ... V. John Brandon
Bonnie Bedelia ... Annie Burke
Sheree North ... Waitress
Carl Reindel Carl Reindel ... Pilot
Ford Rainey ... Stand Owner
John Napier John Napier ... Dick Donford
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Storyline

On a 4th of July weekend, three barnstorming skydivers arrive to perform in a small Kansas town. They are hosted by the youngest member Webson's aunt, the unhappily married Elizabeth. While Browdy one-nights with a topless dancer, a doomed romance flares up between Elizabeth and Rettig. Tension builds, and explodes with a spectacular skydiving show. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Gypsy Moths fall fast. They can't stop risking their lives - not even for their down-to-earth women. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 September 1969 (South Africa) See more »

Also Known As:

Die den Hals riskieren See more »

Filming Locations:

Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During filming at the airfield in Benton, Kansas, Director John Frankenheimer wanted to get a real, horrified reaction from the extras playing the audience, so he had a mannequin dressed like a skydiver and tied it under a helicopter, which ascended several hundred feet, then released the dummy. Most of the people hadn't noticed what had been rigged up, so when it fell, they thought it was a real person hitting the ground and he got the reaction he was looking for. One minor problem was that the pilot didn't gauge the wind accurately and the "skydiver" fell into some parked cars, narrowly missing some people and caving in the roof of an extra's car. The studio bought the car for several times what it was worth and the damaged vehicle spent the rest of the shooting behind one of the hangers. See more »

Goofs

During the parachute jump that opens the film, the Gypsy Moths jump from the exact same plane flown by the same pilot they meet and hire - supposedly for the first time - in another town several days later. See more »

Quotes

Malcolm Webson: Remember what you always said when I first started with you? "Be careful." That's what you always said. "That's what's important in this business kid. BE careful."
Mike Rettig: Is that what I always said?
Malcolm Webson: Why are you taking so many chances now? What are you trying to prove?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Sky Divers (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Wild Blue Yonder
("U.S. Air Force Song")(uncredited)
Music and lyrics by Robert Crawford (as Robert MacArthur Crawford)
First two lines sung by Gene Hackman
See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating, if flawed film
25 November 2002 | by NotSureifthisis7734See all my reviews

Yes, the movie does miss greatness. But it is far from a failure. As a slice of American with fascinating characters (yes, I like and cared about them), this film is worth seeing. True, there are problems. The husband in particular comes off as emotionally dead, yet I have known of men like that. The wife (Deborah Kerr) comes off almost as hopeless; worse, it is never clear what she wants or what is driving her. Yet, here again I have known marriages like this. I suspect modern viewers will want to be shown the underly rage and desperation of these characters, which has to be present, but like Days of Heaven, they are muted. No doubt, It would have helped if the film had been longer. Nevertheless, it works with great photography and stunt work and is well worth a look. BTW for those who are interested (this is an R-Rated movie after all) even at 48 years, Deborah Kerr looks great nude. I know if I had been the husband in the movie, I sure would have kept trying.


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