6.0/10
1,573
21 user 16 critic

Countdown (1967)

Unrated | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | February 1968 (USA)
Desperate to reach the moon first, N.A.S.A. sends a man and shelter separately, one-way. He must find it to survive. He can't return until Apollo is ready.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Loring Mandel (screenplay), Hank Searls (novel)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The black sheep of a family and the local minister discover their true vocations during the Revolutionary War.

Directors: Guy Hamilton, Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

The British launch the world's first orbital vehicle. Their military sends a super-bomb along, which goes wrong and threatens the crew and a stowaway.

Director: Paul Dickson
Stars: Kieron Moore, Lois Maxwell, Donald Wolfit
Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

In 1868, American inventor Victor Barbicane develops a powerful military explosive that he also uses as fuel for a moon-bound rocket manned by himself and a motley crew.

Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: Joseph Cotten, George Sanders, Debra Paget
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A frustrated young man, separated from his younger girlfriend, gets involved in a juvenile gang.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Tom Laughlin, Peter Miller, Richard Bakalyan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A rich but lonely woman, Frances Austen, one day invites a boy from a nearby park to her apartment and offers to let him live there.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Sandy Dennis, Michael Burns, Susanne Benton
The Sellout (1952)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During the 1950s, a small-town newspaper editor and a state assistant attorney-general fight corrupt local officials from one rotten county.

Director: Gerald Mayer
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, John Hodiak, Audrey Totter
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An introverted loner living in the bowels of the Astrodome plots to develop - with the aid of a mysterious guardian angel - a pair of wings that will help him fly.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Bud Cort, Shelley Duvall, Sally Kellerman
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A cynical Buffalo Bill hires Sitting Bull to exploit him and add his credibility to the distorted view of history presented in his Wild West Show.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Paul Newman, Joel Grey, Kevin McCarthy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a casual gambler befriends a professional one, he begins to mirror his life, sending both deeper into the sleazy gambling world where the stakes keep getting bigger.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A ragtag group of American stragglers battles against superior Communist troops in an abandoned Buddhist temple during the Korean War.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Gene Evans, Robert Hutton, Steve Brodie
Never So Few (1959)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

During WW2, the American O.S.S. mounts covert operations against the Japanese army in the jungles of Burma.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

This documentary, which was undertaken soon after James Dean's death, looks at Dean's life through the use of still photographs with narration, and interviews with many of the people ... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Altman, George W. George
Stars: Martin Gabel, James Dean, Lew Bracker
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Caan ... Lee Stegler
Joanna Moore ... Mickey Stegler
Robert Duvall ... Chiz
Barbara Baxley ... Jean
Charles Aidman ... Gus
Steve Ihnat ... Ross Duellan
Michael Murphy ... Rick
Ted Knight ... Walter Larson
Stephen Coit ... Ehrman
John Rayner John Rayner ... Dunc
Charles Irving Charles Irving ... Seidel
Bobby Riha ... Stevie Stegler (as Bobby Riha Jr.)
Edit

Storyline

When the U.S. learns the Soviets are about to launch a manned mission to the moon, they feel it imperative that they get there first. The moon program isn't ready to launch yet so they decide to send one man in a modified Gemini capsule that will be able to land on the moon. The astronaut will have to stay there for up to a year - in a special built shelter that will be sent ahead of time - until an Apollo mission can rescue him. The obvious choice for the mission is Chiz, who knows the Gemini inside out but the Soviets are sending civilians, not military men, so geologist Lee Stegler is asked to go. He has only three weeks however to learn about the intricacies of the spacecraft and no one is sure if he will make it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the director of "The Player" and "Nashville" comes a screen space adventure that's the real stuff. See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Moonshot See more »

Filming Locations:

Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Executive Producer William Conrad supplied the television announcer's voice. See more »

Goofs

In scene of Lee's walk on the moon just before finding the shelter, desert plants are clearly visible in the background casting shadows. See more »

Quotes

Houston Captain Commander: [Opening lines] Apollo 3, Houston, do you read? Apollo 3, Houston, do you read?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Altman (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Altman's First Time at Bat
28 July 2006 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

"Countdown," Robert Altman's first theatrical release, is the only film I've seen by the prolific director that feels nothing like an Altman project. A bit of history surrounding it reveals that Altman battled the studios over creative control, and that the final version of the film exists more as a product of the studio than of the auteur. Never again, for better or worse, would Altman relinquish control of his films, a tenacity that won him an instantly recognizable style not afforded to many other directors.

So "Countdown" isn't terribly interesting formally and feels like it could have been directed by anybody, but that's not to say it isn't an interesting movie. Released a year before man actually landed on the moon, it provides a remarkably accurate guess at what such a feat would look like, and the film is played with conviction by a strong cast of actors led by James Caan, Robert Duvall and Michael Murphy. Duvall and Murphy would appear again in "MASH," and Murphy would go on to become an Altman regular. Barbara Baxley, known to Altman devotees as Haven Hamilton's wife in "Nashville," fulfills wifely duties in this film as well, though women may as well not even exist for all the attention the screenplay affords them.

As a studio film, "Countdown" isn't half bad. As an Altman film, it's one of his weakest. But nevertheless, it's well worth seeking out, especially for fans of the iconoclastic director.

Grade: B-


19 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed