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The Right Stuff (1983)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  21 October 1983 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 41,342 users  
Reviews: 168 user | 77 critic

The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
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Title: The Right Stuff (1983)

The Right Stuff (1983) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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In 1896, three whalers are stranded in the Arctic North Canada and seek refuge with an Eskimo tribe. Gradually they gain control with the Eskimo village and introduce gambling, booze, theft... See full summary »

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Warren Oates, Timothy Bottoms, Louis Gossett Jr.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Charles Frank ...
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Jack Ridley / Narrator
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Storyline

Tom Wolfe's book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How the future began. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 October 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Stoff aus dem die Helden sind  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$21,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While filming the lung-capacity sequence - in which the seven original Mercury astronauts need to blow into individual tubes to keep toy balls suspended in a beaker and end up in a competition of physical stamina - the seven actors portraying the astronauts actually competed with each other for the same reason. Gordon Cooper was third, John Glenn was second and Scott Carpenter won (in the movie). In reality, Gordon Cooper - the astronaut portrayed by Quaid - was the only non-smoker among the seven original astronauts, and therefore possessed a far-greater lung capacity than any of the others. See more »

Goofs

When Alan Shepard is landing on the aircraft carrier, flight deck crewmen are seen wearing flotation devices known as "float coats." These were not used until the late 1960s or early 1970s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, seven hundred and fifty miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it the sound barrier.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Astronaut Farmer (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Tango de Valentino
(uncredited)
Music by Sam Fonteyn
KPM Music Ltd
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User Reviews

Kaufman's Crowning Achievement
17 November 2004 | by (somerville, ma) – See all my reviews

An incredibly under-rated director, Philip Kaufman adapted Tom Wolfe's best-selling tale of the Mercury astronauts in 1983 and, since that time, he has been unable to top himself (he came very very close with Unbearable... and Quills, but The Right Stuff is very much out of their league).

Why? The Right Stuff is a perfect blend of intelligence and wit and action. At just three hours long, it occasionally feels too short. The audience comes to know the characters through terrific performances by Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Sam Shepard, and Fred Willard and Kaufman's deft pen (which, no doubt, Wolfe's novel helped guide). We are sad when the story ends; we want more. It's rare that a movie creates such an inviting and intriguing world that, after three hours, we still do not want to leave.

This movie is absolutely one of a kind. Its critical patriotism shows that films can show their love of country without wandering into nationalistic or jingoistic propaganda. It is very rare that a film this indebted to America and American history can be so ambivalent.

That, in my mind, is a positive rather than a negative. The filmmaker and actors understand that the Space Race was not a simple process; they understand that heroes have a dark side.

They all refuse to let the heroism cover the unsavory aspects of a person's life and, simultaneously, they do not let those aspects darken their contribution to mankind.

The Right Stuff is really an amazing filmic experience. It's an expert adaptation, an expert recreation of the early US Space Program, and an expert entertainment. Apollo 13 wanted so very much to be the Right Stuff. It's not; nothing will ever beat the Right Stuff.


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