After their latest rocket fails, Dr. Charles Cargraves and retired General Thayer have to start over again. This time, Gen. Thayer approaches Jim Barnes, the head of his own aviation ... See full summary »


Irving Pichel


Alford Van Ronkel (written for the screen by) (as Rip Van Ronkel), Robert A. Heinlein (written for the screen by) | 2 more credits »
2,433 ( 12,299)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
John Archer ... Jim Barnes
Warner Anderson ... Dr. Charles Cargraves
Tom Powers ... General Thayer
Dick Wesson ... Joe Sweeney
Erin O'Brien-Moore ... Emily Cargraves


After their latest rocket fails, Dr. Charles Cargraves and retired General Thayer have to start over again. This time, Gen. Thayer approaches Jim Barnes, the head of his own aviation construction firms to help build a rocket that will take them to the moon. Together they gather the captains of industry and all pledge to support the goals of having the United States be the first to put a man on the moon. They build their rocket and successfully leave the Earth's gravitational pull and make the landing as scheduled. Barnes has miscalculated their fuel consumption however and after stripping the ship bare, they are still 100 lbs too heavy meaning that one of them will have to stay behind. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


UP UP UP Seven miles a second See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The spacecraft launches at 7:50 AM. The actual first trip to the Moon in 1968, Apollo 8, launched at 7:51 AM (EST). See more »


A radio announcer explains, "It takes three seconds ... for radio waves to travel between the Earth and Moon." In fact it's 1.3 sec each way, but the round-trip causes delays of almost 3 sec in conversation, which probably is what the announcer meant. See more »


[Why the government isn't involved if it's so important]
Jim Barnes: Here's the reason. The vast amount of brains, talents, special skills, and research facilities necessary for this project are not in the government, nor can they be mobilized by the government in peacetime without fatal delay. Only American industry can do this job. And American industry must get to work, now, just as we did in the last war!
Industrialist: Yes, but the government footed the bill!
Jim Barnes: And they'll foot this bill, too, if we're successful; you ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the film, a story of the first flight to the Moon, the words THIS IS THE END are displayed first, then OF THE BEGINNING is added. See more »


Referenced in Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us (2005) See more »

User Reviews

A Perceptive Look At The Future.
20 July 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Destination Moon was our conception in the middle of the last century as to what our first hesitant steps would be towards getting to the Moon. What I was amazed to see was just how accurate they got it in terms of reality.

Four men, John Archer, Warner Anderson, Tom Powers and Dick Wesson are the chosen astronauts though that term had not come into usage at the time. When you think of the selection process for astronauts that was to come with the formation of NASA this part of the film seems almost a bit silly. Dick Wesson who provides the comic relief is a communications specialist who gets to go at the last minute because the chosen traveler gets appendicitis.

The best part of the film was the space walk, when they have to do some needed repairs to the ship. Robert Heinlein who wrote Destination Moon was very accurate with that and with the dangers of performing that task when needed.

As for the very harrowing trip home, the plot was eerily accurate in terms of what happened to some astronauts for real in the early Seventies. I really do marvel at how Robert Heinlein got so much of it right.

Without any weird alien monsters, Destination Moon still manages to be thoroughly entertaining and incredibly perceptive. The film won an Oscar for Special Effects no mean achievement since it's only competition was Cecil B. DeMille's big budget Samson and Delilah. It also was nominated for Best Art&Set Direction, but in this case it lost to Samson and Delilah.

When you beat out a DeMille film from Paramount with all the money that studio could throw behind a campaign, you know it has to be good. Even now the Special Effects aren't bad by today's standards.

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Release Date:

August 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Destination Moon See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

George Pal Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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