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X-15 (1961)

During the Cold War in the 1960s the U.S.A.F.and NASA tested the experimental rocket-powered aircraft X-15 that set altitude and speed records and reached the edge of outer space.

Director:

Richard Donner (as Richard D. Donner)

Writers:

James Warner Bellah (screenplay), Tony Lazzarino (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
David McLean ... Matt Powell
Charles Bronson ... Lt. Col. Lee Brandon
Ralph Taeger ... Maj. Ernest Wilde
Brad Dexter ... Maj. Anthony Rinaldi
Kenneth Tobey ... Col. Craig Brewster
James Gregory ... Tom Deparma
Mary Tyler Moore ... Pamela Stewart
Patricia Owens ... Margaret Brandon
Lisabeth Hush Lisabeth Hush ... Diane Wilde
Stanley Livingston ... Mike Brandon
Lauren Gilbert Lauren Gilbert ... Col. Jessup
Phil Dean Phil Dean ... Maj. McCully
Chuck Stanford Chuck Stanford ... Lt. Cmdr. Joe Lacrosse
Patty McDonald Patty McDonald ... Susan Brandon
James Stewart ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

At the height of the Cold War during the 1960s the U.S. Air Force and NASA tested an experimental rocket-powered research aircraft code-named X-15.The X-15 experiments were conducted at Edwards Air Force Base.The X-15 aircraft set altitude and speed records by reaching the edge of outer space.The project is managed by U.S. Air Force Colonel Craig Brewster and scientist Tom Deparma. The main test pilots are Matt Powell, Colonel Lee Brandon and Major Ernest Wilde.During the test flights the X-15 aircraft is dropped from a B-52 Stratofortress mother ship before starting its engine.The whole test team is enthusiastic about the project but the project is plagued by setbacks and near disasters right from the start. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THIS IS THE STORY THAT STUNS THE IMAGINATION! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Avião Foguete X-15 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$422,500 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Essex Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Donner's feature film directorial debut. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie in a close-up side shot of the X-15 hanging under the B-52's wing, you can see that the cockpit cover on the X-15 is not fully seated in the closed position even though they are in a countdown to in-flight launch. A launch in that condition would have ripped the cockpit cover off of the aircraft and killed the pilot. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Col. Lee Brandon: When you're a man, you be a man.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Faster than anything yet
2 March 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

If you are an aviation junkie than X-15 is the film for you. You will understand and grasp more readily than any of us ordinary film fans what's going on. I had to consult Wikipedia about the X-15 so I was sure of what I was writing.

The narrator of the film was well known Hollywood aviator James Stewart whose love of flying and flight was deep and sincere. He was in fact a general in the Air Force Reserve from his wartime experiences. Stewart always took a reverential approach to flight, possibly too reverential to make his projects entertaining enough. It was the biggest flaw with Strategic Air Command.

Perhaps had X-15 been done as a straight documentary it would have been better. We never really get involved with any of the characters of the test pilots and their homes and families. It was true that one test pilot of the X-15 was killed during the experiments and one of the pilots is killed in the film.

The X-15 was kind of a not missing link between airplanes and rocket travel. It had rocket power that boosted it straight into the highest altitudes yet known and it sure was faster than anything yet known. The experiments would provide a lot of data for NASA to design the space capsules that our Mercury and later Gemini astronauts used.

It would have made a great documentary the X-15 story. For aviation buffs this film's a 10. It's something less for the rest of us.


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