The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

James Stewart plays transatlantic pilot hero Charles Lindbergh.

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Charles A. Lindbergh, Billy Wilder, Wendell Mayes, Charles Lederer
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 15, 2006
Warner Home Video


as Charles Augustus 'Sl...

as Bud Gurney

as Mirror Girl

as B.F. Mahoney

as Father Hussman

as Model/Dancer

as Donald Hall

as Boedecker

as Goldsborough

as Blythe

as Harold Bixby

as Major Lambert

as William Robertson

as E. Lansing Ray

as Earl Thompson

as Old Farmer

as Jess the Cook

as Casey Jones

as Associate Producer

as Mr. Pearless

as O.W. Schultz

as Photographer

as Earl Thompson

as Photographer

as Mrs. Pearless

as William Robertson

as Director

as Louie

as Captain

as French Policeman

as Surplus Dealer

as Professor

as Mechanic

as Barker

as Farm Boy
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Critic Reviews for The Spirit of St. Louis

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

Spirit is a James Stewart one-man show.

Full Review… | August 15, 2007
Top Critic

It's quite engrossing, with the period trappings lovingly presented.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Not one of Billy Wilder's best efforts -- still has some interest because of James Stewart's performance, which is very nearly a one-man show.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A haunting recollection of one of the thrilling events of our times has been handsomely staged by Mr. Wilder, and for that you should see the film.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

Not one of Billy Wilder's strong features, this biopic of the ace flyer is too conventional, lacking the helmer's more characteristic humor, irony, cynicism.

Full Review… | April 28, 2011

The adventure of the historical making flight was captured, but not its spirit.

Full Review… | March 18, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Spirit of St. Louis

Director Billy Wilder puts on a showcase with this biopic of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh's life, from his humble barnstorming days to his "welcome home" tickertape parade through the streets of New York City (where he was supposedly greeted by 4 million people), is represented through both flashbacks and linear storyline. Lindbergh, of course, was the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, and in doing so, both cemented his place in history as well as forever changing the way we travel. Wilder employs many great techniques while telling Lindbergh's story, from the aforementioned flashbacks, to giving the audience a chance to listen in on Lindbergh's inner monologue (most particularly effective when Lindbergh is trying to get to sleep the night before the big flight). And it seems so effortless the way it's all blended together, like Wilder got a dose of Bergman before making the film. Jimmy Stewart plays Lindbergh effortlessly, despite being twenty years older than the man he was portraying at the time. Then again, Stewart often plays the same kind of role (not that there's anything wrong with that), so there's little in the way of surprises regarding the Lindbergh character. While this is a Lindbergh biography (somewhat), there's little attention paid to his life post-flight, whether it be his supposed nazi sympathizing or the kidnapping of his child in what was referred to as the "crime of the century", and rightly so. A film entitled "The Spirit of St. Louis" should be about the uplifting triumph of the human spirit over a great challenge, not some tabloid fluff. Stewart and Wilder manage to capture the "spirit" to which these endeavors were made. Good stuff.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer


A gripping biopic about Charles Lindbergh's record-breaking non-stop transatlantic flight of 1927. Billy Wilder does not immediately spring to mind as the ideal director for this sort of thing, but he does a solid job on the whole, occasionally injecting some of his trademark humour--sometimes successfully, sometimes not--but generally playing it straight. The success of the film is due in no small part to the ever-excellent James Stewart's infectious, boyish enthusiasm and to Franz Waxman's music, which underscores the tension marvellously. Visually, the film is pretty drab, and it's quite pointlessly photographed in Cinemascope. The portion detailing the flight itself is broken up by superfluous flashbacks, too obviously just a device to create the illusion of time passing. Another dubious device sees Lindbergh conveying his thoughts to us, the viewer, by chatting to a fly trapped in his cockpit! Silly as that undoubtedly is, I can sympathise with the makers' desire to supplement or limit Stewart's voice-over before it got too tedious.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer


Billy Wilder's only Bio-Pic and directing of Jimmy Stewart is a nice change of pace. It's not his greatest film,but it is his best looking color film.Based on Lindbergh's autobiography it's about the preparation and flying across the Atlantic Ocean. Stewart Sells this film and Wilder comes up with interesting methods to keep the viewer from being bored. Some of the flashbacks are a little too aw...shucks,but some are really entertaing. Most of the flying footage is real and it looks great. I wish Wilder would have set a more claustrophobic mood ,because the sleep depravity works well .Enjoyable off the beaten path for Wilder and again it looks gorgeous.

cody franklin

Super Reviewer

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