Watch The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club
- 1 hr 4 min
The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club is a 2009 biographical drama film directed by Amanda Pope that tells the inspiring story of Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes, who was a legendary aviatrix and one of the most colorful characters in aviation history. The movie takes us on a journey through the life of Pancho Barnes, from her childhood in Pasadena, California to her career as a stunt pilot and her founding of the Happy Bottom Riding Club, a desert retreat for pilots to relax and unwind in the 1940s and 1950s. The film is a combination of documentary-style interviews with aviation experts, period footage, and stunning reenactments. It also features a star-studded cast, including Tom Skerritt, who plays Pancho's friend and mentor, General 'Hap' Arnold; Kathy Bates, who plays Pancho's mother, Florence; Buzz Aldrin, who provides commentary on Pancho's flights; and Jordan Black, who portrays Tuskegee Airman Harold Brown. As a young woman, Pancho set out to break traditional gender roles and pursue her passion for flying. She mastered the art of barnstorming, performed in air shows, and competed in cross-country races. She became the first woman to fly from coast to coast in one day and a pioneer in testing aircraft during World War II. After the war, Pancho settled in the Mojave Desert, where she founded the Happy Bottom Riding Club. The club became a hub of social activity for pilots, with Pancho as the ringleader. She hosted extravagant parties, bullfights, and even an air show on her property. The club also became a testing ground for experimental aircraft, with scientists and engineers flocking to the desert to work with Pancho and her crew. The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club is a fascinating portrait of a woman who defied convention and left an indelible mark on the aviation industry. It highlights the importance of the Happy Bottom Riding Club as a haven for aviation innovators and as a symbol of Pancho's fearless spirit. Overall, the film is a tribute to Pancho's legacy and offers a unique insight into the early days of aviation. The stunning aerial footage, combined with interviews and reenactments, creates an immersive experience for viewers. It's a must-watch for aviation enthusiasts and anyone interested in the accomplishments of trailblazing women.