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The Right Stuff (1983)

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



(book), (screenplay)
1,972 ( 109)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


How the future began. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 February 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Stoff aus dem die Helden sind  »

Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)


$21,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Chuck Yeager in his autobiography it was not known he broke the sound barrier until after they checked the Bell X-1 recording panel not when they heard the sonic boom as shown in the movie. He still got his steak dinner for being the first to break the sound barrier. See more »


When John Glenn's flight is scrubbed, Vice President Johnson can be seen sitting in a 1965 Lincoln limousine, yet the year is 1962. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Valiant (2005) See more »


Wake Up Little Susie
Composed by Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant (uncredited)
Performed by The Everly Brothers (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Just about every element ties together well creating a nearly perfect movie
15 February 2005 | by (someplace) – See all my reviews

The Right Stuff takes place during the Cold War when America was trying its hardest in technological advancements to beat the Russians. The movie first starts out with Chuck Yeager(Sam Shepard) attempting to break the sound barrier. The movie continues with other story lines as professional pilots desperately try to get into the NASA space program, become the first Americans into space, and try to break some kind of record that will beat what the Russians had. The other real life people that this movie follows are Alan Shepard(Scott Glenn), Gordon Cooper(Dennis Quaid), John Glenn(Ed Harris), Gus Grissom(Fred Ward), and of course, their families.

The running time is very long at 3 hours plus, but it goes by very quickly. The first couple of hours go by as if they were 25 minutes, and the last hour is thrilling, as well as inspiring. There are several plot elements that really make this movie phenomenal. There is plenty of excitement as you see what the skilled pilots try to accomplish, there is plenty of humor, the cast is nearly perfect, and the score adds plenty of effect to the film. The result is a phenomenal, nearly perfect film, being one of the best films of the 1980's.

The plot is very interesting, as you see the lives of the pilots, the status of the American Government desperately trying to overcome the Russians with advanced technology, and the difficulties in trying to accomplish these difficulties. This is well worth your time, and it is a great movie.

38 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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