The Great Waldo Pepper Movie Review Summary

Actors: Robert Redford, Bo Svenson

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Great Waldo Pepper

Waldo Pepper (Redford) is a very frustrated man. Though a veteran of World War I, he was made a flying instructor and never saw combat. He yearns to show the world he is a great pilot, perhaps by being the first to fly the outside loop.
Click here to see the rest of this review

He and his friend Axel Olsson (Svenson) make a precarious living barnstorming. During one aerial stunt, a new wing walker (Susan Sarandon) becomes petrified out on the wing. Waldo carefully edges out to try to coax her in, but she ignores his instructions, grabs for his hand and falls to her death.

Then Waldo's friend, Ezra Stiles (Edward Hermann), crashes while trying the outside loop. As Waldo frantically tries to free him from the wreckage, the spectators gather around, but do nothing to help. A carelessly tossed cigarette ignites leaking fuel, burning Ezra to death. Waldo grabs a plane and buzzes the watching "vultures", resulting in him being grounded permanently.

Waldo persists, however. He gets a job as a Hollywood stunt pilot under an alias. The movie stars Ernst Kessler (Bo Brundin), the great German ace. While the two men are up in the air to reenact a famous duel, they decide to dogfight for real. Without working guns, they simply ram each other. Waldo eventually damages Kessler's plane so badly the German is forced to concede. Waldo finally has his heart's desire.

Best part of story, including ending: The aerial shots are spectacular.

Best scene in story: The final duel isn't half bad, but the outside loop footage, filmed from the vantage point of the plane, tops it, for me at least.

Opinion about the main character: You have to sympathize with a man who is unable to utilize his great
talent to its fullest for so long.

The review of this Movie prepared by J. Lee a Level 10 Peregrine Falcon scholar

Script Analysis of The Great Waldo Pepper

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Time/era of movie:    -   1900-1920's Job/Profession/Poverty Story?    -   Yes Job:    -   pilot

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   pilot, civilian Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White American


United States    -   Yes Air?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Any profanity?    -   Occasional swearing

Movies with storylines, themes & endings like The Great Waldo Pepper

The Great Waldo Pepper Message Board (click here)
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian