During the Cold War in the 1960s the U.S.A.F.and NASA tested the experimental rocket-powered aircraft X-15 that set altitude and speed records and reached the edge of outer space.


(as Richard D. Donner)


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Cast overview:
Matt Powell
Lt. Col. Lee Brandon
Maj. Ernest Wilde
Maj. Anthony Rinaldi
Col. Craig Brewster
Tom Deparma
Pamela Stewart
Patricia Owens ...
Margaret Brandon
Lisabeth Hush ...
Diane Wilde
Stanley Livingston ...
Mike Brandon
Lauren Gilbert ...
Col. Jessup
Phil Dean ...
Maj. McCully
Chuck Stanford ...
Lt. Cmdr. Joe Lacrosse
Patty McDonald ...
Susan Brandon
Himself / Narrator (voice)


At the height of the Cold War during the 1960s the U.S. Air Force and NASA tested an experimental rocket-powered research aircraft code-named X-15.The X-15 experiments were conducted at Edwards Air Force Base.The X-15 aircraft set altitude and speed records by reaching the edge of outer space.The project is managed by U.S. Air Force Colonel Craig Brewster and scientist Tom Deparma. The main test pilots are Matt Powell, Colonel Lee Brandon and Major Ernest Wilde.During the test flights the X-15 aircraft is dropped from a B-52 Stratofortress mother ship before starting its engine.The whole test team is enthusiastic about the project but the project is plagued by setbacks and near disasters right from the start. Written by nufs68

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The Rocket Ship That Challenged Outer Space! See more »


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Release Date:

22 December 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Avião Foguete X-15  »

Box Office


$422,500 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Richard Donner's directorial debut. See more »


During the engine test scene, the pilot is helped into X-15, serial number 66671. When the test begins, the serial number is showing 66672. See more »


Featured in 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Better as a documentary

Just about 40 years ago I saw this movie in an Air Force theater where I was stationed. It was the very first movie that I saw after basic training. I thought the movie was terriffic then when I first saw it in wide-screen. I just saw it on a premium channel without commercials but it was not in wide-screen so a lot of it was missing. The flying scenes were very good as they were probably mostly shot by the Air Force but the family life scenes off-duty were very boring and predictable and mostly used a filler. What makes me smile is that the characters were just like those in a soap opera, in other words all the wives are gorgeous and the pilots were all perfect male specimens. Since I first saw this movie 40 years ago I have seen many documentarys on tv about the X-15 which were far more interesting and real than this hokey movie. I might be wrong but I thought that in the theater 40 years ago the movie started with Jimmy Stewart at his desk in his Air Force uniform but this was not in this version but I am not sure.

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