Skyward (TV Movie 1980) Poster

(1980 TV Movie)

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Early example of Ron Howard's skills
Flickers-44 January 2003
I haven't seen this movie since 1981 or so, but somewhere I still have a rotting video tape of it's first airing. I remember it to be very good, and Suzy Gilstrap as the wheelchair bound dreamer inspirational (and she was very cute). Bette Davis gave a very fiesty performance, and maybe it was a little over the top, but she was still very strong and at the top of her game before she had her stroke a few years later. This was also, it seems, Ron Howard's first "serious" movie (the others seem to have been low budget noisy films, love that Grand Theft Auto) and it kinda shows the themes of some of Howard's future projects--people overcoming obstacles to obtain a dream or just to survive.
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I was there!!!!!!!!
sbsing128 January 2004
I finally found the site hooray!!!!!!!!!! I write cause I love this movie. They did it in my home town of mckinney and at my high school. I was a extra in the movie and it was so fun. I remember the night it came on tv. I also remember getting to meet ron and anson and they are really fantastic people They actully sat down at the cater lunch with us all and were so nice. If Ron ever reads this please know you are one fantastic person who is a normal human being and you changed my life because your movie gave me so much self esteem about my self.Thankyou. If you would like to know what went on the movie set give me a holler I would love to reminisse about that. Thanks for reading..... Sherrie
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Skyward - One to Remember!
JLRMovieReviews18 July 2016
A young girl bound in a wheelchair has dreams of flying. With her daily feelings of depression, helplessness, and loneliness, she longs to break free from her doldrums and dare to do what others tell her she can't. She recently moved to a new neighborhood with her father and mother (played by Happy Days' Marion Ross) and sister (played by The Facts of Life's Lisa Whelchel.) Feeling out of place and not wanting to be in a class with other people in her situation, she drifts over to a local airport, where Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinnati) is a plane mechanic. With his encouragement and the little extra nudge, she immerses herself into the wonderland above her. Her flying instructor is none other than Bette Davis, who is one tough cookie. But, she knows that her parents would be dead set against all this. Also, a "babe," as she describes him, befriends her, and their relationship is very sweet. He could have any girl in the school. But he really wanted to be with her. The film's authenticity and love of the subject matter and its characters come through to the viewer. This feel-good TV movie was directed by Ron Howard and is a very special film, and one of the few that will stay with you long afterwards.
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You can see Skyward on YouTube
gerdelt17 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
YouTube Link:

Filmed in (and above) Rockwall, Texas, "SKYWARD" is an inspirational, made for TV, movie that will more than satisfy any lover of the "wild blue yonder" with it's spectacular aerial photography and sport flying! For the aviation enthusiast, you will share the sky with aircraft like the Stearman PT-13, Christen Eagle, and a several sailplanes.

For the lovers of heart touching dramas with inspirational messages and an all-star cast, it doesn't get much better than this! Ron Howard and Anson Williams, bring you a wonderful film dedicated to the disabled who "reach for the sky!" Julie Ward (Suzy Gilstrap, a true paraplegic) is a young wheelchair bound girl who, against handicap stereotypes, and her parent's (Marion Ross and Clu Gulager) overprotective wishes, fulfills her dream and learns to fly! She is aided with the help of flight instructor Billie Dupree (Bette Davis), airplane mechanic "Koup" (Howard Hesseman), and her high school boyfriend Scott Billings (Ben Marley).

For me, Skyward was a true inspiration as I went through flight school at TSTC in Waco, Texas from 1986 to 1988. It really puts a magical touch on aviation and has always been one of my favorite movies...thank you Ron Howard!

Where is the Christen Eagle airplane (N2FC) that was used in the movie today? In 2011 it was moved to the "EAA AirVenture Museum" in Oshkosh Wisconsin:
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Uplifting film
Ron Brooks5 March 2009
I remember watching this many years ago. I remember that it was very uplifting to see someone reach literally higher from their confines.

I remember this as a "made for TV" movie of the time. As my father was a pilot who was rebuilding old planes in our garage, it brought home something extra.

While watching the video, I was immediately hooked into the drama of a wheelchair bound girl wanting to learn to fly.

Added to that was the performance of Bettie Davis along with Suzy Gilstrap as the girl.

The icing on the cake was the Christian Eagle plane depicted in the movie. IMHO, there could have not been a better all around showing.
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sailplane instructor.
kiowa0027 May 2016
I was living in Rockwall TX. when that movie was being filmed. I noticed sailplanes over head and was told about a Ron Howard filming a new movie. It rekindled my pursuit of being a solo sailplane pilot. Next week I was off to Caddo Mills airport to pick up sky sailing where I left off. My instructor was an English chap, Derek Piggott. I don't remember how many duel instruction flights ( lost my log book) but I do remember my first solo like it was yesterday. I plan on getting back in the air again this summer. I hope I will not have to relearn every thing all over again and that I still retain some flight coordination. Only one way to find out, wish me luck. TDK
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