The Right Stuff (1983) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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>
  • The first seven Mercury astronauts: we go behind the prepackaged, unblemished saints we knew through the media to find imperfect human beings who were actually even more heroic. The astronauts are heroes, no doubt about it. As space pioneer Chuck Yaeger bitterly points out, these men all knew the risks they were taking as they rode their primitive capsules into space. They knew they were powered by rockets that could explode them into the tiniest of atoms. There were the fierce fires of re-entry that could reduce them to cinders, as well as the possibility of no re-entry, leaving them to perish miserably in their orbits. Yet these men eagerly took those risks. They were made of the right stuff.

    - Written by alfiehitchie
  • The story of the beginnings of the US space program and the first seven Mercury astronauts. The space began when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier. It was after the Soviets successfully launched the Sputnik satellite in 1959, that the U.S. redoubled its efforts to catch up. After rigorous testing, 7 pilots were selected for the program. They instantly became the modern day equivalent of rock stars, appearing on television and having articles written about them in Life magazine. The work was serious however and dangerous, given the poor record the missile designers faced with multiple failures before finally getting a successful launch. There is a good deal of rivalry among the USA's first astronauts, some quite serious as ambitions and different values come into play.

    - Written by garykmcd
  • The post-WWII period in the US is a time of grandeur and hope, wanting to do things bigger and better than had ever been done before. Within the military, this attitude applies largely to flight, where there is a continual race not only to fly faster and higher, but do it first and especially before the Soviets. The men that are going to achieve these feats are the ones with the "right stuff". One of those initial targets is to break the sound barrier - Mach 1 - with pilots in the newly commissioned US Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California primarily those attempting the feat, many who will die in the process. But with what is happening in the Soviet Union will accelerate the American space program, which will largely usurp the political and public consciousness on those aeronautic feats. However, many within the space program and many pilots downgrade the importance of "man behind the wheel" in getting into space. Regardless, many pilots apply for the seven positions within the first American space program - Mercury - the seven chosen who do whatever they can to make flying expertise an important aspect of the job. In all these situations, the support from the women behind the men is demonstrated, they who have the continual fact of one in four not making it back from a flight in the front of their minds. The motivations of the individuals comprising the pilots, the astronauts and the wives are also shown.

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

    - Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>


In 1947, a group of determined men gathered at a remote Air Force base in the high desert of California...

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