On May 21, 1927, the world changed. "Lucky Lindy" landed outside Paris. And people who previously talked about the limitations of air travel suddenly dreamed of its limitless possibilities. The Spirit of St. Louis is six-t... more »ime Academy Award? winner* Billy Wilder's recreation of the struggles and success of Charles A. Lindbergh, the pioneering flyboy who, like test pilots and astronauts to follow later, had the "right stuff" of aviation heroism. Lindbergh fan James Stewart, himself a pilot, sought the role ? and was initially turned down. But his persistence paid off, as Stewart added Lindy to his gallery of indelible portrayals of American heroes. He and Wilder together manned the cockpit of a stirring epic entertainment. Director: Billy Wilder Starring: James Stewart, Patricia Smith, Murray Hamilton« less
"Jimmy Stewart stars as the "Lone Eagle" Charles Lindbergh in Billy Wilder's film "The Spirit of St. Louis". This was a film Stewart wanted to make for years; but was repeatedly turned down. James Dean was even considered for the role. Despite the fact that Stewart was already in this 40's (Lindbergh was 25 at the time), Stewart's persistence paid off and Warner Bros. Studios finally relented and let him star as one of American's greatest aviators. The life of Charles A. Lindbergh is told in a series of memorable flashbacks as he makes his trans-atlantic flight. His life experiences and the people he met along the way are vividly recounted.
On May 20, 1927, at approximately 7:52 in the morning, Charles Lindbergh took off in the "Spirit of St Louis" from Roosevelt Field, Long Island. A crowd of more than 500 must have thought they had witnessed a miracle as the "Spirit of St. Louis" barely managed to clear the telephone wires at the field's edge in terrible weather conditions. Thirty-three and one half-hours and 3,500 miles later Lindbergh landed in Paris, the first to fly the Atlantic alone. Many great aviators of the time had tried and failed -- some even lost their lives in this attempt. Along the way, Lindbergh is forced to conquer his fears, snow, sleet and a lack of sleep to rediscover his faith. On the evening of May 21, at 10:22, "The Spirit of St. Louis" touched down at Le Bourget Field. A crowd of more than 100,000 people were there to greet American's Lone Eagle. His feat electrified a nation and inspired an interest in aviation. Unfortunately, this film flopped at the box office; but as the years have passed, this film has gained in respect and is now recognized as one of Stewart's greatest film accomplishments. Enjoy!"
A DVD Release Is Needed
onlysleeping | Cedar Rapids, IA United States | 08/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Spirit of St. Louis was a box-office disappointment. That will never change. But what may change is the opinions of critics and the public on how this film should be viewed. It has all of the makings of a successful film: a great director in Billy Wilder, a legend in Jimmy Stewart, and it's based on the autobiography of an American hero in Charles Lindbergh.No matter what ticket sales were like, it is a well-done film. One cannot deny the fact that Stewart was not the correct age to play Lindbergh, but it doesn't really take anything away from the film. Lindbergh always seemed to be more wise than his age would suggest anyhow. The VHS version is fine, and until the DVD version is released (if ever) this is the only way to go."
THE SPIRIT OF BILLY WILDER
B.Wray | 02/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I read about the passing away of "The Great Billy Wilder" last year, I was deeply saddened and as soon as I went home I watched one of his finest films THE SPIRIT OF ST.LOUIS. It reminded me of the first time I watched this film several years ago and how impressed I was with everything about the film. I became an immediate fan of Billy Wilder and over the years I've watched all his classic and not so classic films. I'm happy to say even his not so classic films were better than some of the "so called classic films" that idiotic critics love to praise. He was adept at Suspense, Drama and Comedy. Tell me who else past or present can boast of such versatile talent.
I think all young people should be made to see this stunning film not only for inspiration but about learning to believe in themselves to achieve their fondest dreams. Billy Wilder was the greatest film director of his time and I wish all students of Film and Drama and all movie lovers get to see and enjoy this beautiful film. I promise you it will remain in your mind for a long long time.
Billy Wilder loved to entertain the masses and he truly had the midas touch in eliciting the finest performances from his Actors, if you don't believe me just see his films and judge for yourself.
Long live Billy Wilder the "Emperor of Film Directors" through the medium of films."
Billy Wilder captures the pioneering spirit of the era!
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 01/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Spirit of St. Louis" is Billy Wilder's film tribute to one of the best figures in aeronautical history, remembered for the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in May 1927 with James Stewart (a little too old for the part) playing Charles Lindbergh...
As a tribute it is eloquent enough and, although a few nice liberties may have been taken with historical fact, the motion picture describing the detailed odyssey before and after the Paris flight on May 20-21 in the monoplane "Spirit of St. Louis."
Although the lengthy internal monologue employed during the journey may be disappointing to an audience, the truth is that it helps keep the picture focused tightly on its essential point... Stewart dignified the portrait of one of the greatest adventurers in the air the world has ever know, departing, in a highly modified single engine monoplane, from Long Island, New York to Paris, France...
No action is depicted in the trip, only some flashbacks to break up the monotony of the long flight... But there is superb determination of the ordeal of a brave and talented pilot decided to fly alone... His equation is simple: less weight (one engine, one pilot) would increase fuel efficiency and allow for a longer flying range, but with so much risk... Lindbergh's claim to fame was doing something that many had tried and failed...
Even though Wilder has bravely put it upon the screen in a calm, unhurried fashion, it comes out as biography of intense restraint and power... But it is James Stewart's performance (controlled to the last detail) that gives life and strong, heroic stature to the principal figure in the film...
From it there, emerges an awareness of a clever, firm but truly humble man who tackles a task with resolution, plans as much about it as he can, makes his decisions with courageous finality and then awaits with only one thought in mind, to get to Paris... In his efforts to cut off the plane's weight, any item considered too heavy or unnecessary was left behind...
The record-setting flight proved not only to be a fight with the elements and a test of navigation, but also a long battle against fatigue... A busy schedule and an active mind kept Lindbergh up all of the previous night... Still, he managed to stay conscious enough to keep the monoplane from crashing and landed at Le Bourget Aerodrome, near Paris, 33 hours and 30 minutes after leaving New York...
Stewart gives an able portrait of a brave pilot who attains legendary status, emphasizing the intention and dominant resolution to fly nonstop 5,810 kilometers (3,610 miles) across the Atlantic...
Photographed in CinemaScope and WarnerColor and backed by Franz Waxman's beautiful music, the film effectively captures the pioneering spirit of the era and the hero's ultimate achievement since he takes off, that day, from Roosevelt wet field, and clears telephone wires at the end of the runway...
Inspiring then and now....
J. Bevan | Mansfield, TX USA | 09/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw this in its first run, I didn't know it was a box office flop. It was anything but that with me. It was the most inspiring film of my youth ! I can't think of any other film that caused me to DO something about my young life. I procured copies of the original engineering drawings of the plane and made a detailed working scale model. Subsequently I chose engineering as a profession.
After seeing the film I read both "We" and the "Spirit of St. Louis." The movie is surprisingly close to the latter.
I am glad we have a Cinemascope Dolby 5.1 version of this personal classic. I don't know WHY this film flopped in 1957, but I think Stewart's age had less to do with it than others are saying. Had it been made 10 years earlier, it would not have been Cinemascope, the sound would have suffered, and Billy Wilder might not have directed. I wouldn't want to give those things up to have Stewart be the "right" age.
It's a great film played by an actor passionate about the part and it tells a great story. ....another case where the ticket-buying-public didn't get it right."