Movie: Gypsy Moths – 1969

My Take:

  • Wait, the wife slept with the least interesting of the three skydivers?
  • Why is he depressed?
  • I love Gene Hackman. He plays the perfect asshole.
  • Man, Deborah Kerr is older in this.  Far stretch from An Affair To Remember.
  • It should be more skydiving and less movie.
  • LOVE the moth suit….
  • Second day of jumps, after the death – same footage (you can tell by the family on the picnic blanket in front of the grandstand).
  • HOLY SHIT! That is Hershel from The Walking Dead!!! YAS!

I found this movie through a documentary which played on Turner Classic Movies.  And, if I am being honest, the documentary is a million times better than the actual movie.

If you are familiar with the ways of skydivers, it is fun to watch to see the old school jumps.  Otherwise, meh.  I give it a C-.

Did you see the movie?  Did you like or hate it?  Let me know in the comments below!




IMDB Synopsis: Three skydivers and their traveling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.


The tagline is the best: When you turn on by falling free… when jumping is not only a way to live, but a way to die, too… you’re a Gypsy Moth.


Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes review of 43% Rotten.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 43% liking it.  Average Rating: 3.2/5 with a number of User Ratings: 625.

Movie Reviews:


It had an estimated budget of (not noted on IMDB).  It has a 107 minute run time. Release date: 13 September 1969.

Additional IMDB Trivia:

  • Experienced but amateur skydivers, most with several thousand jumps to their credit, were brought in from California to double for the actors. During one take an unexpected gust of wind pulled the chute and caused one of the skydivers to be slammed into the ground, breaking his collarbone and dislocating his shoulder. Even though in great pain, he stayed in character and managed to get up and finish the scene. He was retained by director John Frankenheimer as a consultant.
  • The skydiving equipment the Gypsy Moths use in the film was sport parachuting state-of-the-art for the late 1960’s. The three jumpers’ personal gear consisted of Para-Commander main parachutes in “Piggyback” containers and harnesses made by the Pioneer Parachute Company, Pioneer jumpsuits, Bell helmets, Altimaster wrist altimeters, and French-designed and manufactured “Paraboots”. The goggles they wore were a commercially-available type identical to the Polaroid M-1944 military goggle, their light gloves a commonly-available work or trucker’s driving glove.
  • According to director John Frankenheimer, the dancers in the go-go club were local Kansas girls, not city girls, because they looked authentic.
  • The name of the town in the movie is Bridgeville. There is a Bridgeville, DE and their motto since the 1930’s is “If you lived here, you would be home now”. This is the same as in the movie.
  • During the parachute jump that opens the film, the Gypsy Moths jump from the exact same plane flown by the same pilot they meet and hire – supposedly for the first time – in another town several days later.
  • Joe Browdy: We’ll be jumping from a Howard DGA-15. “DGA”: that stands for “Damn Good Airplane”, which if course it is. Very tricky to land though. Heh heh. You’re much better off jumping out if it than you are taking a chance on landing in it. This one’s in good shape.

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