11 user 5 critic

Challenger (1990)

New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe joins six other astronauts on the tragic 1986 space-shuttle flight.




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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Commander Francis R. Scobee
Julie Fulton ...
Dr. Judith A. Resnick
Gregory B. Jarvis
Captain Michael J. Smith
Dr. Ronald McNair
Lt. Colonel Ellison Onizuka
Joseph Kilminster
James Monroe Black ...
Robert Mayfield (as James Black)
Cheryl McNair
Elizabeth Kemp ...
Jane Smith
Jeanne Mori ...
Lorna Onizuka
Gene Thomas


This film profiles the astronauts, crew, and civilians who were involved in the January 28, 1986 flight of the space shuttle Challenger, that resulted in its explosion 73 seconds after takeoff. Center point of the film is the safety inspections and arguments surrounding the use of the o-rings that ultimately were blamed for the explosion. Film is lent authenticity by being filmed at the Johnson Space Center in Texas. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


based on the true story of the tragic space shuttle disaster







Release Date:

25 February 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Challenger - Um Vôo Sem Retorno  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


About 45 minutes in when you hear the song Wind Beneath my Wings playing. The movie takes place in 1985-86. The song didn't come out until 1988. See more »


Christa McAuliffe: I feel great.
See more »


Followed by The Challenger Disaster (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

A great chance of high potential sadly missed
1 September 2002 | by (Colchester, England) – See all my reviews

There have been some great or plausible movies or made for television films focusing on disasters or news events in history, such as 'Alive' and 'Hillsborough'. Sadly, 'Challenger' isn't one of them.

It perhaps could've been improved with not leaving the launch until the end of the film, and instead perhaps leaving it until about two thirds of the way through, leaving room for the investigation into the Disaster. It hardly breaks new ground either, apart from maybe that the teachers knew before the White House conference who was chosen to go into space.

Although i have not minded her in other films, i don't think Karen Allen was anywhere near the ideal choice to play Christa McAuliffe, she was at times irritating and wooden occasionally too, it also seemed to rely on her looks more than her acting ability, and also over-done the scene where she makes her speech at the White House about taking ten souls on board with her.

The disaster happened in 1986, the film was made 1990, a bit too early in my opinion. Had it been made at present times, less emotional feeling would be used during the making of it, I'm not saying that it's wrong, just that you can tell it was obvious it was made in a time when the world was still not fully over the shock of the disaster.

May all seven astronauts rest peacefully. May this film have reached its potential and not been a disappointment.

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