Tom Wolfe's book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Mis-matched shots when "real" footage is mixed with fictional as Shepard leaves the van heading for the Redstone rocket. See more »
There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, seven hundred and fifty miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it the sound barrier.
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ABC edited 5 minutes from this film for its 1986 network television premiere. See more »
This is, in many ways, a very strange movie. One the one hand it deals with a very serious topic, which it seems to take very seriously. It has the overall look and feel of a drama (or even a melodrama). And yet, there are so many goofy moments in the movie that one wonders whether they were meant to be funny or not.
There was the odd, stilted dialogue, especially among the fliers and their families, as they discuss (or as the case my be, don't discuss) what it means to have the "right stuff" of the title. There are the customarily nerdy performances of Jeff Goldblum and Harry Shearer in small roles as NASA recruiters. There is the truly over-the-top performance of Donald Moffat as Vice President Lyndon Johnson (who was a pretty over-the-top character in real life, now that I think of it). There are the German rocket scientists, the gaunt black-clad Angel-of-Death-type minister (Royal Dano) who turns up whenever a flyer gets killed, and the throng of reporters who chase after the astronauts and their families, literally barking like a pack of dogs as they pry into the most intimate parts of their lives for the sake of another human interest story.
Even so, this movie was very entertaining. The story itself is fascinating, and the cast was great. Standouts include Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Fred Ward, Dennis Quaid, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed, Kathy Baker, Barabara Hershey, Mary Jo Deschanel, Lance Henriksen, Levon Helm, and General Chuck Yeager himself in a cameo! It perhaps worth mentioning that most of these actors were relative unknowns when this movie came out in 1983.
All in all, this is a fun movie.
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