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Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott's Road to the Stars (2010)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 14 March 2010 (USA)
The story of legendary computer game developer Richard Garriott's spaceflight in October 2008.


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Credited cast:
Sergey Brin ...
Mike Fincke ...
Renita Fincke ...
Helen Garriott ...
Owen Garriott ...
Richard Garriott ...
Robert Garriott ...


A behind-the-scenes journey with the video game legend, Richard Garriott, in his quest to become the first second-generation astronaut, from making his fortune to spending it ($30 million!) to reach the International Space Station via Russian rocket. From secret training in Moscow, to a rumbling launch from Kazakhstan, to 12 glorious days onboard the ISS, the adventure is captivating. And for the first time ever, a camera is rolling in the capsule during the fiery return to earth. Owen Garriott, his astronaut father, is there to greet him, welcoming us all to the next generation of human space travel. Written by SXSW

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Release Date:

14 March 2010 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,430 (USA) (13 January 2012)


$8,548 (USA) (17 February 2012)

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Did You Know?


The haunted houses that Richard threw at his home, Britannia Manor, in Austin, became so popular that people would camp outside of his house for two weeks leading up to Halloween. See more »

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User Reviews

An Inspirational Story of Fulfilling A Dream
8 January 2012 | by (Oakville, Ontario) – See all my reviews

The story of Richard Garriott is an inspirational one. It's a story about realizing a dream. A story about fulfilling a childhood fantasy. It's a story about persistence, adventure, and man's desire to explore the outer reaches of space. It is Man on a Mission.

Richard Garriott is the son of scientist and NASA astronaut Owen K. Garriott. Growing up in an environment where your father has actually gone into space only fuels the desire to follow in his footsteps. If nothing else, it helps promote the reality of most young boy's dreams of becoming an astronaut.

Richard himself was a little bit of ad oddball. He was a computer geek who in his late teens created a game called Ultima – a 3D adventure game – that sold 30,000 copies. Richard would parlay the financial success of the game into various ventures and adventures, not the least was in an organization that looked to develop a transportation method to bring civilians on space travel missions. Putting himself through college, Richard continued to create video games and the increased success of each game in the Ultima franchise would soon net him tens of millions of dollars.

Richard's dream of ever following his father into space was hampered by his near-sightedness. His sight deficiency would not allow NASA to consider him as a potential candidate to ever venture on their crafts towards the heavens. And as he grew older, he continually met resistance in fulfilling his dream no matter how much money he was willing to throw at potential space programs.

Then in 2008, Richard Garriott got his break. Already having successful laser eye surgery in Canada, Richard was able to use his influence and money to pioneer a private space travel journey from a facility in Russia. He would undergo vigorous training – everything from experiencing the pressure forces of 8G's of force to learning Russian so that he could communicate with his fellow Kosmonaut.

Man on a Mission follows Richard through his childhood dream, his training and to the launch of the Russian craft The Soyuz which launched in October 2008 and docked with the International Space Station before returning to earth some 10 days later. It is a fascinating and engrossing adventure of a persistent man with a dream and the funds to help realize them. Some of the training scenes that Richard has had filmed are some of the more interesting and detailed seen in any educational film about space travel preparation. We get a chance to watch everything from Richard being outfitted for a chair (did you know that your spinal cord expands in space) to the continuous training for emergency landings that might happen at sea or on land.

Director Mike Woolf has the privilege of bringing to a wider audience an interesting story focusing on an even more interesting character (thank The King of Kong's Steve Wiebe in space). Richard is weird and extravagant in ideas but not showboating or flamboyant that might be expected by a computer geek with his financial means.

Much of the story details his relationship with his father. Richard and Owen Garriott would become the first American generational family to fly into space and his father provides the necessary support to Richard's ambition and is in Russia for both the launch and the capsule's return.

Man on a Mission has played on the festival circuit including the SXSW where it was the Audience Award winner in 2010. It is finally getting a theatrical release starting with a limited run in New York in January 2012 and should be considered as valued entertainment despite its documentary genre and educational status.


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