6.7/10
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30 user 25 critic

The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

George Roy Hill

Writers:

George Roy Hill (story), William Goldman (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Waldo Pepper
Bo Svenson ... Axel Olsson
Bo Brundin ... Ernst Kessler
Susan Sarandon ... Mary Beth
Geoffrey Lewis ... Newt
Edward Herrmann ... Ezra Stiles
Philip Bruns ... Dillhoefer
Roderick Cook Roderick Cook ... Werfel
Kelly Jean Peters ... Patsy
Margot Kidder ... Maude
Scott Newman Scott Newman ... Duke
James S. Appleby James S. Appleby ... Ace
Patrick W. Henderson Jr. Patrick W. Henderson Jr. ... Scooter
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... Farmer (as James Harrell)
Elma Aicklen Elma Aicklen ... Farmer's Wife
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Storyline

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. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Robert Redford Takes to the Skies in This Rousing Adventure See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Waldo Pepper See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$20,642,922

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,642,922
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

When Axel Olsson (Bo Svenson) crashes in a water-pond after Waldo (Robert Redford) has caused his wheels to fall off, small roller skate type wheels can be seen on the axle, which allowed the stunt plane to land back on land if it was necessary and the stunt couldn't be done. See more »

Goofs

Following the scene of Waldo's initial wing walk, there is an aerial view of four planes flying but there are five plane shadows on the ground. The fifth shadow is of the camera plane. See more »

Quotes

Waldo Pepper: [about to crash and burn] I let her fall! Watched her scream and lose her grip. And do you know why? Because I'm Waldo Pepper, that's why. The great Waldo Pepper! Now get out of my way - I'm flying so high not even the angels can catch me!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gabriel's Fire: The Great Waldo (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The word "great" also describes the movie
12 January 2003 | by RalphoSee all my reviews

This movie has special significance for me because I first saw it as a

teenager. Yet it holds up as a great movie for me 28 years after it was

made (unlike some others I could name).

I like Robert Redford in almost anything, and he's at his best here as

a barnstorming pilot in the 1920s who pretends to have seen more action

in World War One than he did. He made me feel for the character when he

said, "It should have been me" after rival flyer Axel Olsen exposed him

as a "four-flusher" for claiming he was a key figure in a famous battle.

Pepper finally gets his chance to go up against the German World War One

ace Ernst Kessler (perhaps loosely based on the real German ace Ernst

Udet) as a stunt pilot in a movie crew.

The dialogue scenes between Pepper and Kessler leading up to the

climactic dogfight are the best part of the movie, even though Kessler's

lines seemed to be written more in the interest of serving the plot than

in serving the character.

The idea that Kessler was a man who only felt at home in the air, for

whom nothing worked out well on the ground, resonated with me, as it did

with Pepper, who felt the same way.

In closing, I'd like to mention the beginning of the movie when Waldo

Pepper lands at a small town in Iowa to offer airplane rides. He

promises a free ride at the end of the day to a boy named Scooter if he

will tote a 5-gallon gas can back and forth from the filling station to

keep Pepper's plane fueled.

The song that plays over the opening credits during this sequence has

stuck with me for 28 years. I heard it again in 1992 while attending a

boot camp graduation ceremony at the Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training

Command and remembered it from the movie. I don't know the name of it,

but I love that song.

Anyway, at the end of the day Scooter asks for his free ride and Pepper

says he only promised that to get him to haul gas. He never takes kids

for rides. Whether the character is kidding or not isn't clear, but it

certainly seems that Scooter (and his dog) get the best ride of the day.

That sequence establishes Pepper as a decent, if somewhat slippery

character and gets the m


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