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Release Date:
24 August 2003 (USA) See more »
A history of the U.S. manned space program from Mercury to Apollo 17, as seen by the men of Mission Control. | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Primetime Emmy. See more »
User Reviews:
The highlights of NASA Mission Control through Gemini and Apollo See more (2 total) »


  (in credits order)
Gene Kranz ... Himself - NASA Flight Director
James Doolittle ... Himself (archive footage) (as Gen. Jimmy Doolittle)
Christopher Kraft ... Himself - NASA Flight Director
Robert Seamans ... Himself - NASA Associate Administrator
Alan Shepard ... Himself (archive footage)

John F. Kennedy ... Himself (archive footage)

John Glenn ... Himself (archive footage)
Jerry Bostick ... Himself - NASA Flight Controller
John Llewellyn ... Himself - NASA Flight Controller
Jay Greene ... Himself - NASA Flight Controller
John Aaron ... Himself - NASA Flight Controller
Ed Fendell ... Himself - NASA Flight Controller

Jim Lovell ... Himself - Astronaut
Alexei Leonov ... Himself (archive footage)
Wally Schirra ... Himself - Astronaut
Thomas P. Stafford ... Himself (archive footage)
Frank Borman ... Himself (archive footage)
Eugene Cernan ... Himself - Astronaut
Glynn Lunney ... Himself - NASA Flight Director
Gus Grissom ... Himself (archive footage)
Edward H. White II ... Himself (archive footage)
Roger B. Chaffee ... Himself (archive footage)
Gerry Griffin ... Himself - NASA Flight Director
Donn Fulton Eisele ... Himself (archive footage)
Walter Cunningham ... Himself (archive footage)
Bill Anders ... Himself
Stephen Bales ... Himself - NASA Flight Controller
Bob Carlton ... Himself - NASA Flight Controller

Neil Armstrong ... Himself (archive footage)

Buzz Aldrin ... Himself (archive footage)
Charles Conrad ... Himself (archive footage)
Richard Gordon ... Himself (archive footage)
Alan Bean ... Himself - Astronaut
Gerald P. Carr ... Himself (archive footage)
Jack Swigert ... Himself (archive footage)
Fred Haise ... Himself - Astronaut
Sy Liebergot ... Himself (archive footage)

Directed by
Rushmore DeNooyer 
Kirk Wolfinger 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Rushmore DeNooyer 

Produced by
Tony Bacon .... co-producer
Rushmore DeNooyer .... producer
Mika Lentz .... co-producer (as Mika Holliday Lentz)
Carl H. Lindahl .... executive producer
Kirk Wolfinger .... producer
Original Music by
Robert Neufeld 
Cinematography by
D.J. Roller (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Tony Bacon 
Production Management
Amy Campbell .... production manager
James Luscombe .... post-production manager (as Jim Luscombe)
Sound Department
Tom Eichler .... sound recordist
Greg McCleary .... sound re-recording mixer
J.R. Rodriguez .... sound recordist
Paul Trumbore .... sound recordist
Philip Weiner .... sound recordist (as Phil Weiner)
Camera and Electrical Department
Mark Carroll .... assistant camera
Phil Cormier .... additional photography
Duane Empey .... additional photography
Dave Huntley .... additional photography (as David Huntley)
Editorial Department
Ron Anderson .... colorist
James Luscombe .... assistant editor
Jed Rauscher .... editing assistant
Other crew
Lori Beane .... business manager
David Blatt .... production coordinator
Amy Campbell .... researcher
Sara Clarkin .... production assistant
Adam Costa .... production assistant
Marc Finnegan .... programming coordinator
Scott Glenn .... narrator
Michael Hofheimer .... production assistant
Bill Ingalls .... archive material
Sarah E. Katz .... researcher
Mika Lentz .... researcher (as Mika Holliday Lentz)
Dana Rae Warren .... script consultant
Aane Aamodt .... special thanks
Matthew Abbott .... special thanks
Bruce Bleakley .... special thanks
Scott Bleisath .... special thanks
Maureen Bowen .... special thanks
Ian Brooks .... special thanks
Phillip Currell .... special thanks
Scott Curtis .... special thanks
Mike Evans .... special thanks
William Foster .... special thanks
Gayle Frere .... special thanks
Christopher Gerty .... special thanks
Gerald Griffith .... special thanks
Carol Haroz .... special thanks
Scott A. Hartman .... special thanks
Eileen Hawley .... special thanks
Joyce Hayes .... special thanks
Dennis Hehir .... special thanks
William Jason Helms .... special thanks
Robert Howard .... special thanks
Norman Knight .... special thanks
Catherine Koerner .... special thanks
Bryan Lunney .... special thanks
Jeanne Lynch .... special thanks
David Mays .... special thanks
John C. Melcher .... special thanks
Kathy Messersmith .... special thanks
Wanda Norris .... special thanks
Georgia Piwonka .... special thanks
Glenn E. Pogue .... special thanks
Matt Schottel .... special thanks
Carl Shelley .... special thanks

Production Companies

Additional Details


Did You Know?

The narrator says, "The silver wings that would carry Gene Kranz aloft were born not of laughter, but fire." This is a reference to the famous poem "High Flight" by RCAF pilot John Gillespie Magee; the poem's first lines are, "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings."See more »
Narrator:At any other time, these men would have had unremarkable careers. Now, world events have put them at the center of a desperate struggle. Few will ever be known to the public, but they will become the unsung heroes of the race to the Moon.See more »
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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
The highlights of NASA Mission Control through Gemini and Apollo, 1 September 2005
Author: Freycinet from Denmark

Based on NASA flight director Gene Kranz' autobiography "Failure is not an Option" this documentary traces the history of NASA Mission Control during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, with special emphasis on Apollo 1, 8, 11, 12 and 13.

While Kranz' book often comes out as overly jingoistic and with an excess of pathos, this documentary strikes a good balance between depicting the historical background of the space race, the technical issues of spaceflight and the emotional impact on Mission Control personnel.

To people very familiar with the events of US manned spaceflight in those years, there is not much new information to be gained from the documentary. There is Conrads difficult Gemini spacewalk, the Apollo 1 fire, Apollo 8 going around the moon, the Apollo 11 moon descent crises (Computer alarm and low fuel), Mission Controller Aarons reset of the Apollo 12 during launch and of course the whole saga of Apollo 13. All is told through the eyes of Mission Control, its directors and controllers, with the astronauts only appearing as fuzzy voices on the radio downlink.

The strength of the documentary is that it shows us the faces and voices of the Mission controllers. From the perspective of 2003 they re-tell their stories in a seamless narrative illustrated with mostly original film, but also a little re-enactment, which happily is not too intrusive (even though it does show people watching a Mercury launch in colour on their home TV set..). The contrast between the young faces filmed in the 60's and the present-day aged and haughty demeanor of the same men is a captivating reminder of the passage of time. Working in Mission control was obviously the high point of their lives, so there is a slightly nostalgic note to their account.

Some things about the documentary can be criticized. Space buffs will miss technical details, and not much is being said about the system of shifts in Mission Control, that is, how "colourcoded" teams managed the job of mission control 24/7. Also, the focus is very much on the telegenic Gene Kranz, to the detriment of the other mission directors and controllers. This is probably unavoidable when we're dealing with the TV medium, which needs easy-to-follow stories and a captivating protagonist.

If one wants a true insight into NASA mission control, one has to read books about it. This documentary will however serve as a primer, and a good one at that. It is emotional to hear the story of NASA's crises and triumphs, re-told 40 years on by the men who were actually there. They might not quite be unsung heroes, since their feats are well-documented, but they certainly deserve to be heard once more by new audiences.

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