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The Right Stuff (1983)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 39,137 users  
Reviews: 165 user | 73 critic

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

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Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Philip Kaufman
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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:

By flying higher and faster than any other man had ever dared before, Chuck Yeager set the pace for a new breed of hero. Those that had just one thing in common...THE RIGHT STUFF. 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

The production was beset by 15 mile per hour, dust-laden winds when they were filming at Edwards Air Force Base. See more »

Goofs

The close-up of John Glenn's rocket eight seconds before launch is reversed. 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

Spoofed in South Park: Helen Keller! The Musical (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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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