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The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 3,323

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Movie Info

This retelling of one of Charles Lindbergh's most famous feats stars Jimmy Stewart as the legendary flier, and was directed by Billy Wilder. The story, adapted from Lindbergh's autobiography, begins when the aviator is working as an airmail pilot, but has much loftier goals in mind for himself. He begins to envision a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic - something that no one has ever done before - and finds a group in St. Louis, Missouri willing to provide the necessary financial backing;

Aug 15, 2006

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (3) | DVD (6)

Spirit is a James Stewart one-man show.

August 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop 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.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

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

March 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Stewart, who was nominated for five best actor Oscars -- his one win was for "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) -- turns in perhaps his most impressive feat.

September 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Lindbergh's biggest dilemma on the flight was trying to stay awake. To a large extent, it's ours, too.

August 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Fascinating, albeit tedious, telling of the Lindbergh flight.

October 26, 2004 the end, the long film becomes almost as tedious as the flight that inspired it.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Loved it as a kid. Might not wear well now.

August 13, 2002
Sun Newspapers of Cleveland

Billy Wilder's movie isn't particularly daring in its telling, but as a piece of American -- and world -- history, The Spirit of St. Louis is something everyone should see.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

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.
November 28, 2011
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.
January 21, 2008

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.
June 15, 2009

Super Reviewer

The acting was a little goofy at points, but it sure was fun to look at.
July 28, 2008

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • L'odyssée de Charles Lindbergh (FR)
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