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In the 1960s, US President John F Kennedy proposed landing a man on the moon before the decade was finished. This film has interviews with most of the surviving astronauts of the Apollo program who were making ready to make that great voyage with an army of experts determined to make the endeavor possible. Through training, tragedy and triumph, we follow the greatest moments of one of Humanity's great achievements. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Of all the astronauts who appeared in the film, only Buzz Aldrin demanded to be paid. See more »
Gene Cernan talks about the Apollo 1 crew (Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee) being buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Only Grissom and Chaffee are buried there. White is buried at West Point. See more »
I kind of have two moons in my head, I guess, whereas most people just have one moon. I look at the moon just like everybody else who's never been there, and you know, there it is, and I've always thought it was interesting. Whether it's full or a sliver, or what have you. But every once in a while, I do think of a second moon, you know, the one that I recall from up close. And yeah, it is kind of hard to believe that I was actually up there.
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The Apollo moon landings of the late 1960's and early 1970's have been the subject of countless documentaries over the nearly forty years since they occurred. Of all of them, only two films have captured the spirit of Apollo and of the men who took the journey. One of them is Al Reinert's 1989 masterpiece For All Mankind. The other is this film: In The Shadow Of The Moon. And this film easily rivals For All Mankind for the position of best Apollo documentary.
This film takes the idea behind For All Mankind and takes it to the next level. For All Mankind showed us the astronauts as they were then with narration from interviews. In The Shadow Of The Moon, as I wrote, goes the next step further. It shows the astronauts not only as they were, but as they are now. The difference is often times amazing. To go from young fighter pilot to being one of the few men to have left our planet must have been an amazing journey as the film shows and these men prove it. Like For All Mankind, their narration and appearances are the heart and soul of the story being told.
The body of the story is the footage. Where as For All Mankind brilliantly combined all the footage into one large mission, this film doesn't to a degree. It shows us highlights from the program including Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 and then makes a conscience effort not to confuse missions together. This allows for clarity that many have complained about being missing from For All Mankind. But this clarity also allows for something else as well. It allows for depth in story.
That depth can be felt. The truly great thing about this film is that these images, which so many of us are use to seeing on a small television screen, are shown on a big screen. Only on a big screen can one see and feel the depth of the journey that was Apollo. The film has the ability to take images seen many times and bring context and emotion to them. In particular, the footage and still images of the Earth as taken by the astronauts is awe-inspiring. In fact, seeing the famous Earth-rise image from Apollo 8 brought me to tears. And for once, I am not ashamed to admit it.
To be frank, In The Shadow Of The Moon is an amazing piece of work. Not since For All Mankind as a film of any size, shape, or form captured the spirit of Apollo. This is a film about a dream, the men who lived it, and its legacy not only for them but for us as well. I beg you to see this film. Only after that and viewing For All Mankind can one understand not only the legacy of Apollo but our need to explore Space.
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