The last in a string of period films directed by George Roy Hill, The Great Waldo Pepper is a high-flying adventure-drama set in the days after World War I. Many expected the film to be the third consecutive blockbuster for Hill and lead Robert Redford -- following their successes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting -- but Pepper failed to find much of an audience, perhaps because it was released the same summer as Jaws. Nevertheless, the film features some wonderful aerial barnstorming sequences, reminiscent of the airborne dramas of Howard Hughes or Howard Hawks. Shot on location in Texas by the great Robert Surtees, Pepper is perhaps most successful at capturing the feel of 1920s rural America. The script by Butch Cassidy writer William Goldman has some trouble juggling all the humor, adventure, and drama, but it doesn't detract from the film's overall impact. With his subsequent scripts for Marathon Man and All the President's Men, Goldman became one of the most highly regarded screenwriters of the decade.
by Brendon Hanley review