Watch the New Movie About Miss Montana’s Return to the Skies
It's pretty crazy to think that it's been three years already! But it really was 2019 when the iconic Miss Montana took to the skies to honor the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy. The task of taking a war plane from the 1940s and making the journey from Missoula was quite the undertaking when you consider Miss Montana hadn't been flown in almost 20 years as she sat in a museum after being retired. A new film tells the story of how the old C-47 plane made national news as it was refurbished and eventually took to the skies once again to honor its history.
If you're not familiar, you can read a great story of Miss Montana's history on the Destination Missoula website. It tells how the plane was built in 1944 but never saw combat action in WWII. It would go on to be used as a cargo plane, be used to transport civilians, and also carry smokejumpers. A big piece of its history is tied to a 1949 wildfire near Helena when 12 of the 15 smokejumpers that jumped out of the plane would lose their lives to the fire.
The new film is a celebration that tells the story of the community and volunteers taking the idea of Miss Montana making the trip to Normandy from a dream to a reality. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of hours went into prepping her for the journey across the Atlantic. And what would a movie be without a little drama? You can see how the work on a complete overhaul took place as they raced the clock to finish in time and participate in the flight to honor a massively important day in American history.
It took months and months to finish the film that is dedicated to Miss Montana's restoration, but Return to the Big Skies: Miss Montana to Normandy is now available to stream worldwide through the Amazon Prime Video service. The following quote is from a press release from One Acre Films:
The Montana-based filmmakers worked with the Miss Montana crew and the Museum of Mountain Flying to capture the work ethic and dedication of everyday citizens determined to honor veterans of the World War 2 and the men who died in the Mann Gulch tragedy. RETURN TO THE BIG SKIES: MISS MONTANA TO NORMANDY was funded in part by a grant from the Montana History Foundation and fiscal sponsorship from the Big Sky Film Institute and was a selection of the 2022 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and EAA’s AirVenture screening series. A link to the film on Amazon Prime Video is available at www.MissMontanaMovie.com.
Since the flight to Normandy, Miss Montana has been used for a variety of purposes, including participation in Memorial Day ceremonies just weeks ago here in Missoula.