On July 1, 1976, the first giant screen film directed and produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films, To Fly! premiered at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM) as the centerpiece of the museum’s grand opening celebration. A stunning overview of transportation and flight in America, To Fly! presents an emotional and visual experience as audiences float over the Vermont countryside and Niagara Falls in a balloon, thrill to the spirit of flying from wild barnstorming to the precision of the Blue Angels, and explore the beauties of flight with a cross-country cruise, hang-gliding in Hawaii and a rocket lift-off.

Length: 27:00

Film Details

  • Year Released: 1976
  • Date Released:
    July 1976
  • Alternate Titles:
  • Status: In Distribution
  • 3D: No
  • Run Time: 20-30
  • Formats: 8/70, 15/70, Dome-customized 15/70
  • Distributor:

    MacGillivray Freeman Films

  • Produced By:
    Francis Thompson Inc.
  • Executive Producer: Byron McKinney
  • Producer: Jim Freeman, Greg MacGillivray
  • Director:  Greg MacGillivray, Jim Freeman
  • Associate Producer: 
  • Writer:  Jim Freeman, Greg MacGillivray, Tom McGrath, Francis Thompson, Robert Young, Arthur Zegart
  • Cinematography: Brad Ohlund
  • Sound Editor: 
  • Visual Effects:
  • Music/Score:  Bernardo Segall
  • Editor: Alexander Hammid
  • Narrator:
  • Other Credits:
  • Sponsors: Sponsored by Conoco Inc., a Dupont Company


  • Aviation
  • Documentary
  • Military



  • IMAX Hall of Fame Award, 2001.
  • National Film Registry, Library of Congress (America’s film archive). The first giant screen film granted entrance and one of only 25 films selected in 1996 from over 1,100 nominees.
  • Best Film of The Decade Award, The Information Film Producers of America.
  • Golden Eagle Award, Cine Golden Eagle.
  • Best Film Award and Special Jury Award (Cinematography), The Chicago International Film Festival.
  • First Place, Berlin Inforfilm Festival.
  • Grand Place, Bicentennial Festival of Films on Aeronautics and Space.
  • Special Jury Award, Festival of the Americas.
  • Chris Bronze Plaque Award, The Columbus International Film Festival.
  • To Fly! was screened as a special presentation during the Inauguration Ceremonies of President Reagan (1981), who later presented a copy of the film as a gift to the Soviet Union’s General Secretary Gorbachev.

Film Facts

Over 40 million people have paid to see To Fly! in IMAX screenings throughout the world, with over 15 million viewing the film in one theater alone (the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC), an all-time record for any film in any format.