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Apollo 13 (1995) Poster

(1995)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (8) | Spoilers (1)
After the premiere of the film, Ron Howard asked the audience members to write reviews of the film. While most of the reviews were positive, one review stated that there was no way the crew would have survived the mission. Apparently, the person who wrote it did not know the film is based on a true story.
Ron Howard's favorite film of his own.
In a commentary track Marilyn Lovell comments that Tom Hanks exactly portrays Jim Lovell's mannerisms and style of movement.
Jim Lovell wore his old navy captain's uniform in the scene where he greets the astronauts aboard the Iwo Jima. When Ron Howard asked Lovell if he'd like to be in the film as the ship's admiral, Lovell agreed but pointed out, "I retired as a captain; a captain I will be."
The famous understatement was actually made twice by two astronauts. Jack Swigert said, "OK Houston, we've had a problem here." Mission Control said, "This is Houston. Say again, please." Then Jim Lovell said, "Ahh, Houston, we've had a problem." On the recording, Swigert is garbled at the beginning, while Lovell is clear, so the recording of Lovell is often heard, leading to the impression he said it, even though Swigert said it first. It's commonly misquoted as, "Houston, we've got a problem," or "Houston, we have a problem." Because "we've had" implies the problem has passed, Ron Howard chose to use "we have".
In some scenes where the Earth can be seen from the windows of Apollo 13, it is one of the photos taken by Jim Lovell and Bill Anders on the Apollo 8 mission.
Over the course of lunch with his idol Billy Wilder, Ron Howard has said that he was thrilled to learn that Wilder deemed this movie to be Howard's best work as a director because it was about a guy who did NOT realize his dream, and that's what made it so remarkable.
The line that Jim Lovell asked his crewmates, "Gentlemen, what are your intentions? Mine are to go home." needs some context. While Lovell actually said this, it seems slightly forced and out of place. This is because when he said it on the mission, they were just coming out of from the far side of the moon and had a critical engine burn coming up. Since it was Jack Swigert and Fred Haise's first mission, they were taking pictures instead of preparing for the burn. That's why Lovell said the line, adding, "If we don't get home, you won't be able to have your pictures developed."
The cast and crew flew between 500 and 600 parabolic arcs in NASA's KC-135 airplane (nicknamed the "Vomit Comet"). Each arc produced 23 seconds of weightlessness. All of these flights were completed in 13 days. The actual KC135 used (NASA serial number N930NA) was decommissioned in 1995 after 22 years of service and placed on display (2000) at Ellington Field. {According to TCM, which displayed the movie at its annual Film Festival in 2015, is recently adding it to its February/early March "360 Degrees of Film" lineup, and other sources, it was actually 612 times up and down through the arc. Each arc ("take") achieved 20 seconds of usable weightless scenes. A total of 3 hours and 56 seconds of weightless scenes were filmed.}
Due to his portrayal of astronaut Jim Lovell in this movie, Tom Hanks had an asteroid "12818 Tomhanks (1996 GU8)" named in his honor (1996).
Marilyn Lovell really did lose her ring down the drain but eventually found it again.
In interviews, the real Jim Lovell had said that he thought Kevin Costner looked a little bit like him, but Costner was never cast. When Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment got the rights to the script, Ron Howard signed on to direct and knowing that Tom Hanks was an Apollo/space buff, sent the script to him. They set a meeting and Hanks agreed to play Jim Lovell during Hanks' and Howard's first meeting about the film.
Several actors from the movie including: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, and Gary Sinise visited US Space and Rocket Center Space Camp program and worked on their simulators before production of the movie began to help them get a feel for what it would be like to work in zero gravity.
The Time Magazine 'Men of The Year' cover that Haise (Bill Paxton) and Kenneth Mattingly (Gary Sinise) look at during the Apollo 11 party at the Jim Lovell's house is a real magazine cover, famously celebrating the Apollo 8 missions orbiting of the moon. However, it has been edited, replacing the original caricature of Lovell, with one of Tom Hanks for movie consistency. Borman and Anders remain unchanged given that they don't appear in the film.
Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) gives a list of instructions to his team at Mission Control and finishes by saying, "Failure is not an option!" Gene Kranz did not actually say this during the Apollo 13 mission, but he liked the line. He would later use it as the title of his 2000 autobiography.
According to Ed Harris, Gene Kranz's reaction to the astronauts living, which was sitting in a chair, almost overcome with emotion, was inspired by a documentary interview of Gene, who, while describing his feelings as the astronauts made it back, started to break down.
Ron Howard liked to refer to his stars as "actronauts" on the shoot as a joke.
According to his book "Lost Moon". Jim Lovell really did make the suggestion to his wife of going to the moon instead of Acapulco, but it was when he got the word that he would be going to the moon on Apollo 8 in December 1968.
Brad Pitt turned down an offer to star in this film and chose, instead, to star in Se7en (1995)
Ron Howard claims that, after seeing the film, Buzz Aldrin asked him if NASA could use the footage of the launch from the movie.
Bill Paxton's line, "I could eat the ass out of a dead rhinoceros." was not said by Fred Haise. It was made up the day of filming by Gary Busey, who was visiting the set at the time and they thought it would be a good country boy line. Busey had previously said the line in another film he starred in, Point Break (1991).
Jim Lovell's line "I vonder vere Guenter vent" was made popular by the crew of Apollo 7. Guenter Wendt was NASA's "pad leader" during the Apollo program and was the last man seen by crews before liftoff. After Wendt closed Apollo 7's hatch and his face disappeared from the window, CSM pilot Donn Eisele said, "I wonder where Guenter went." Commander Wally Schirra claims to have stolen the line and made it famous among astronaut crews.
Marilyn Lovell states in a commentary track that her nightmare was a result of seeing Marooned (1969), about a fictional Apollo disaster. Jim had taken her to see it as a date.
Jim Lovell is actually left-handed, but Tom Hanks refused to write with his left hand for the movie.
Gary Sinise and Tom Hanks were costars in Forrest Gump (1994) as well. In Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan (Sinise) tells Forrest (Hanks) that the day Gump becomes a shrimp boat captain, Dan would become an astronaut.
Associate producer Michael Bostick is the son of Jerry Bostick, one of the technical advisors on this film as well as one of the actual Apollo 13 flight controllers.
The scene where the engineers are challenged to create a device to use the square CO2 absorbers using only items on board was the inspiration for Cathy Rogers to create the TV shows Junkyard Wars (1998) and Junkyard Wars (2001).
The spacesuits cost $30,000 each.
The film was named the #12 most inspirational movie by the American Film Institute, in 2006.
The recovery ship in the film was the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2), played by the USS New Orleans (LPH-11). The Iwo Jima was decommissioned before the making of this film.
The movie's line "Houston, we have a problem." was voted as the #50 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
The Saturn V rockets (used for launching the Apollo spacecraft) were 363 ft (110.8 Meters) tall, taller than the overall height of the Statue of Liberty.
The movie makes no mention of a mid-course correction made while en route to the moon which took the spacecraft off of a free return trajectory. After the explosion, a second correction was successfully made to put the spacecraft back on a free return trajectory. Without this correction, the astronauts still would have swung around the moon, but would have missed the earth on the return leg. Although a free return trajectory was agreed upon in the movie, the engine burn to accomplish this was not portrayed. The astronauts also made a four-minute engine burn after swinging around the moon to gain additional speed and to enable them to splash down in the Pacific Ocean. There is a brief reference to this in the movie, but this maneuver was not portrayed.
The Crawler seen moving in the background of one of the scenes as Apollo 13 is being moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building was the real NASA Crawler. Ron Howard got to drive it.
Although Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton bear at least some resemblance to the characters they portray - Jim Lovell and Fred Haise - Gary Sinise looks nothing at all like Kenneth Mattingly, who - among other things - was practically bald.
St. John's Military Academy, the school that Jim Lovell's son attends during the mission, is a real military school located in Delafield, Wisconsin. The scenes in the movie showing the school were not, however, filmed on location.
All the screens in the fictional Houston control room were monitored by a software center that was built just below the set. According to director Ron Howard, almost three days of production were lost while trying to fix the software, which wouldn't work properly.
At the end of the sequence where a method is devised to fit "a square peg into a round hole" to fix the CO2 scrubbers, a technician is heard saying to the leader of the team that created the makeshift solution (credited simply as "Technician", though it might be assumed that it's Ed Smylie, who was the real guy in charge of that team) "you, sir, are one steely-eyed missile man!" - this colloquial NASA title of honor was perhaps most famously bestowed upon John Aaron after he, serving as EECOM, saved the Apollo 12 mission 4 months earlier when that craft was struck by lightning during launch and had its telemetry signal scrambled. John Aaron was prominently present during the events of this mission as well; he is the tech played by Loren Dean who, along with Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise ), figures out how to power up the craft for reentry.
The scene of the Saturn V launch shows the horizontal service arms swinging back after the rocket's ignition. The arms swung back in milliseconds after ignition, once the rocket climbed to a height of two inches. In the movie the service-arms goes in one by one, but in reality they went simultaneously.
The role of Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) was first offered to John Cusack but was turned down.
Several items in the movie, including Jim Lovell's jumpsuit and a coffee mug at Mission Control bear the mission patch for Apollo 8, the mission that took Lovell to the moon for ten orbits a year and a half earlier.
At one point during the return flight there is a bang and nobody is very alarmed; it's just a "burst helium disk." This was actually a significant event, though an expected consequence of the situation. The helium disk served a protective function in the LM descent engine and, after it burst, they might no longer be able to restart that engine. A final course correction, not shown in the movie, had to be done using thrusters instead.
When the real Jim Lovell saw the film, he found the CGI work so convincing that he firmly believed that the filmmakers had uncovered some hitherto unseen NASA footage.
Zero-gravity sequences were filmed at Ellington Field-Houston, TX.
One of two films where a character played by Ed Harris is in charge of a mission control room that is trying to rescue astronauts in danger - he would play a similar role in Gravity (2013).
Footage of the Saturn V was created specifically for this film; no Saturn V stock footage was used. The Saturn V launch was a combination of traditional miniatures, pyro, and digital effects.
Gary Sinise, who plays the part of Kenneth Mattingly, shares the same birthday with him: March 17.
The model used to represent the Saturn rocket on its launch pad was built around huge cardboard tubes, normally used as molds in the pouring of concrete on building sites.
When Marilyn Lovell comments on Mary Haise's pregnancy during the liftoff, Mary replies, "I've got 30 more days till this blast-off." In fact, she didn't give birth until nearly two months later.
In a scene showing the "Vehicle Assembly Building", it is referred to as such, but during the Apollo program, the building was actually called the " Vertical Assembly Building" the name was changed when the Space Shuttle program began.
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The Apollo 13 emergency situation began on April 13, 1970, six days after the 42nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony in which the Oscar for Best Visual Effects was awarded to Marooned (1969), a movie similar to Apollo 13 (1995) though entirely fictional. 26 years later, Apollo 13 (1995) had the Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects but did not win.
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The 6 August 1994 draft of the screenplay credits a rewrite to John Sayles. He is not credited in the final film.
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The Navy SH-3H Sea-King "66" helicopter from the rescue scene is not the original rescue aircraft from the Apollo missions as previously stated, as the original "66" had been lost at sea before the film was made. Another Sea King (bureau number 148999) was painted up like the original and used for filming. This helicopter can (as of Dec. 2008) be seen on display at the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, CA. The aircraft was assigned to and flown by crews from HC-85, a Naval Reserve squadron based at NAS North Island in San Diego, CA. HC-85 was one of the last units to fly the Sea King helicopter in the U.S. Navy.
Gary Sinise shot to stardom the previous year, appearing opposite Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994), and playing a leading role in 'The Stand (1994)(TV)', which also featured Ed Harris in a small role. That was based on a Stephen King novel. Sinise and Hanks appeared together again in The Green Mile (1999), also based on a Stephen King novel.
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John Travolta turned down the part of Jim Lovell.
As portrayed in the film, Marilyn Lovell really was concerned about Jim's Apollo mission being number 13
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Michael Keaton and Charlie Sheen were considered for the role of Fred Haise.
In the movie, Jim Lovell is shown driving a red Chevrolet Corvette. This is a nod to an actual program conceived by Jim Rathmann, a Florida Chevrolet dealer and Ed Cole, who was president of GM at the time. The program offered astronauts a choice of two new cars every year, of which one choice was almost always a Corvette. Mr. Lovell did indeed own a 1968 Corvette, however his Corvette was silver in color, not the red depicted in the movie. It recently sold through Mecum Auto Auctions.
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Kathleen Quinlan's first credited screen appearance was in American Graffiti (1973), as Peggy. Her scene consists of her in a bathroom talking to Laurie (Cindy Williams) about forgetting her boyfriend, Steve (Ron Howard).
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Michael Keaton was considered for the part of Fred Haise.
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In reality, at 6'1" is too tall to be an astronaut exceeding the NASA's maximum height standard of 6' 0".
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The real Apollo 13 capsule was restored and is on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas
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After Tom Hanks was cast, Gary Sinise was free to choose his part. "When I looked at it, I said, 'I want to play that guy.' Without him, they won't get back."
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The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Tom Hanks; and three Oscar nominees: Ed Harris, Gary Sinise and Kathleen Quinlan.
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Three members of the Apollo 13 cast - Ed Harris, Gary Sinise, and Ray McKinnon all starred together The Stand (1994) the previous year.
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The flame exhaust of the Saturn V at launch in the movie is not long enough. A comparison with film of actual Saturn V launches shows the exhaust length is at least as long as the rocket; in the movie the exhaust is only half the length of the rocket.
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Bobak Ferdowsi, "Curiosity" Rover Mission Controller, joked that he felt like Ed Harris in Apollo 13 as he gave final instructions to ground the lander on Mars.
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The Anthony Horowitz novel Oblivion paraphrases the line from the movie "Failure is not an option".
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One of a number of movies where actor Kevin Bacon has played a character who has been first named "Jack". In Frost/Nixon (2008) (Jack Brennan), in My Dog Skip (2000) (Jack Morris), in Apollo 13 (1995) (Jack Swigert), in A Few Good Men (1992) (Jack Ross), in Quicksilver (1986) (Jack Casey), and in Friday the 13th (1980), Jack.
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The first 35mm film to be converted to IMAX.
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Bill Paxton asked Fred Haise how he felt about saying goodbye to the lunar module. "He said he felt kind of sad about the LEM. The little LEM that could."
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Set designers looked through the Lovells' old family photographs to recreate their home from 1969.
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The helmets were really being locked and oxygen was pumping into those 180-pound airtight spacesuits.
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When Tom Hanks joined the cast, Jim Lovell sent him a telegram that read, "Welcome aboard Apollo 13."
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The Mission Control set was nearly a carbon copy of the original one in Houston.
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The "vomit" is mostly condensed soup. Fred Haise did experience some space sickness on the mission but denied ever throwing up.
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This was the only movie to ever use NASA's zero gravity airplane, the KC-135. It simulates weightlessness by climbing to 38,000 feet, then diving about 15,000 feet.
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Filming inside the zero gravity plane could only happen in 25 second bursts. The plane performed 612 dives, giving filmmakers 54 minutes of footage in a weightless environment.
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Many of the actors in Mission Control were being fed lines directly from technical advisers on set.
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For some of the scenes inside the spacecraft, the actors would sit on seesaw devices that created the illusion of zero gravity.
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Ron Howard had Walter Cronkite record new audio reports to add to Apollo 13
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Tom Hanks is wearing Jim Lovell's Naval Academy ring. Hanks visited Lovell's home in Texas to do research for the movie.
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Val Kilmer turned down the role of Jack Swigert in order to go to Africa for The Ghost and the Darkness (1996).
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Ed Harris described the film as "cramming for a final exam."
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Ron Howard stated that, after the first test preview of the film, one of the comment cards indicated "total disdain"; the audience member had written that it was a "typical Hollywood" ending and that the crew would never have survived.
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Ron Howard anticipated difficulty in portraying weightlessness in a realistic manner. He discussed this with Steven Spielberg, who suggested using a KC-135 airplane, which can be flown in such a way as to create about 23 seconds of weightlessness, a method NASA has always used to train its astronauts for space flight. Howard obtained NASA's permission and assistance in filming in the realistic conditions aboard multiple KC-135 flights.
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The scene where Jim Lovell was being heckled by another motorist at a traffic light was filmed only 1.7 miles (2.7kM) from the Pig Burger in Better Off Dead... (1985).
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Roger Corman appears as a US Senator. As a producer, Corman gave Ron Howard his first feature film assignment, Grand Theft Auto (1977).
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Ron Howard says he's most proud of the launch sequence: "I think as a filmmaker, that might be the most cinematic thing I've ever done."
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The filmmakers took some lines directly from the mission transcripts.
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The Saturn V rocket in the movies isn't real. It's a much smaller model that was added digitally with special effects.
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Cameo 

Jean Speegle Howard: director Ron Howard's mother plays Blanche Lovell.
Rance Howard: director Ron Howard's father, playing a priest.
Jim Lovell: Captain of the USS Iwo Jima. In the final minute of the movie, he shakes hands with Tom Hanks playing him, while Hanks narrates the line "And as for me..."
Marilyn Lovell: an extra in the grandstands at the launch.
Gene Kranz: can be seen in the background at Mission Control just before reentry.
Roger Corman: As one of the tour group Tom Hanks shows the rockets to in the beginning of the movie. Amusingly, the notoriously tight-fisted producer appears here as a senator concerned about the costs of continuing moon missions.
Bryce Dallas Howard: director Ron Howard's 13-year old daughter plays the girl in a yellow dress.
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Cheryl Howard: director Ron Howard's wife plays an onlooker at the launch site.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

In one scene, Kranz(Harris) attempts to draw a plan b on a projector. The projector's light burns out, showing how technology can fail, just like the rocket.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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