The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)


“Guess who’s still alive… ME!” – Axel

Number of Times Seen – 1 (15 Aug 2019)

Brief Synopsis – In the 1920’s, a fearless pilot tries to prove he is one of the best in the business when he becomes a stunt pilot for the movies.

My Take on it – As a fan of Robert Redford, I have been meaning to watch this film for years, yet never got around to it.

Unfortunately, this film is a bit too wacky for my taste.

It fails to work as well as one might hope given it’s director (George Roy Hill), it’s lead actor (Redford) and the fact that it’s set amid the fledgling movie industry of the 1920’s.

Redford is ok in the lead here but he doesn’t have the charisma in this role as he has shown in most of his other films.

The story itself moves really slowly and borders on mediocrity and fails to be engaging enough for the viewer.

Being able to see how life was like for pilots who yearned t become daredevil stunt pilots is a fascinating idea but this film isn’t able to effectively capture the thrills and excitement of that profession.

The film tries to give us a very nostalgic feel yet unlike two of the Redford-Hill collaborations that were hits – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973), this story is hurt more by that feel than helped by it.

Bottom Line – Pretty wacky film that fails to work as well as one might hope it could. Redford is fine in the lead yet fails to be as charismatic as we usually is. The story itself is mediocre and isn’t as engaging as one could hope for.  Seeing how life was for pilots who wished to become daredevil stunt pilots at that time is a fascinating premise yet this film doesn’t manage to capture the thrills and excitement of things very well.  The nostalgic feel of things actually hurts the story more than helps it unlike in the previous Redford collaborations with Director George Roy Hill.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – There are no studio takes in airplanes. All close-ups of actors being airborne were done for real, sometimes with George Roy Hill, a former Marine pilot himself, flying the airplane while directing. Scenes with Robert Redford and Bo Svenson climbing out on the wing were done without any security harness or parachutes. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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One thought on “The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1975 | MovieRob

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