The Gypsy Moths (1969) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Gypsy Moths (1969)





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Movie Info

John Frankenheimer directed this low-key drama about three men who stage a sky-diving thrill show and what happens when they roll into a small town in Kansas. Mike Rettig (Burt Lancaster) is the oldest of the group and more than a bit jaded; Joe Browdy (Gene Hackman) is the fast-talking MC who knows how to work the crowd; and Malcolm Webson (Scott Wilson) is the rookie of the group. When they get a job performing in Bridgeport, Kansas, Malcolm arranges for them to stay at the home of his Uncle John (William Windom) and Aunt Elizabeth (Deborah Kerr). John and Elizabeth's marriage has seen better days; they've grown apart from each other, and when Elizabeth meets Mike, a spark of passion catches fire between them which neither can fully control. The two fall into an affair, making love one night in the living room, not caring that John is watching them. However, this relationship does not bring Mike out of his depression and leads to a shocking incident at the group's next show. The Gypsy Moths marked the first time Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr had worked together since their memorable pairing in From Here to Eternity (1953).

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Burt Lancaster
as Mike Rettig
Deborah Kerr
as Elizabeth Brandon
Gene Hackman
as Joe Browdy
Scott Wilson
as Malcolm Webson
William Windom
as V. John Brandon
Bonnie Bedelia
as Annie Burke
Sheree North
as Waitress
Ford Rainey
as Stand Owner
John Napier
as Dick Donford
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Critic Reviews for The Gypsy Moths

All Critics (1)

The film has a satisfying honesty to it and outstanding Ingmar Bergman-like performances from Lancaster, Kerr and Hackman.

Full Review… | January 5, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Gypsy Moths

John Frankenheimer's film is supposed to be about skydiving, which it is. But, there's LOTS of melodrama to go along with it. If I remember, Frankenheimer's "Grand Prix" was like that too. That was about racing, but there was lots of soap opera. The prelude, which lasts a while, does lead to the skydiving sequences. Then, there's a major tonal shift. It is then that the film actually works, and works well. I really liked how the film came to its almost poetic conclusion. The thoughts behind the final part of the film should have been used in the introductory hour or so. John Frankenheimer was very disappointed that this film saw almost no distribution in the U.S. Frankenheimer said it was his favorite film of those he directed. The film was rated "M," which was the two-year forerunner to the MPAA's "GP," and subsequent "PG." Perhaps it was the mature content in those early days of the MPAA's modern rating system that threw audiences and exhibitors off. It is worth one viewing for those who followed Frankenheimer's career, or those who are interested in skydiving.

John Miller
John Miller

With the screenplay and the cast, that bring big names of Hollywood, The Gypsy Moths, show be a sentimental and too much dramatic, but unforgettable film.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

More interesting for the backstory and the historical perspective on skydiving than for the wafer-thin plot and soap opera antics. Terrific stunts were state-of-the-art for 1969.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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