7.8/10
56,136
198 user 78 critic

The Right Stuff (1983)

Trailer
3:31 | Trailer
The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.

Director:

Philip Kaufman

Writers:

Philip Kaufman (written for the screen by), Tom Wolfe (based on the book by)
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Popularity
2,495 ( 754)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Shepard ... Chuck Yeager
Scott Glenn ... Alan Shepard
Ed Harris ... John Glenn
Dennis Quaid ... Gordon Cooper
Fred Ward ... Gus Grissom
Barbara Hershey ... Glennis Yeager
Kim Stanley ... Pancho Barnes
Veronica Cartwright ... Betty Grissom
Pamela Reed ... Trudy Cooper
Scott Paulin ... Deke Slayton
Charles Frank ... Scott Carpenter
Lance Henriksen ... Wally Schirra
Donald Moffat ... Lyndon B. Johnson
Levon Helm ... Jack Ridley / Narrator
Mary Jo Deschanel ... Annie Glenn
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The spectacular story of America's first astronauts. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The bartender who chews out Gordon Cooper, calling him a "rookie" and a "pud-knocker," is Florence 'Pancho' Barnes, and she is well within her rights to put Cooper in his place. Barnes earned her pilot's license in 1928. She flew solo, crashed a plane, held the women's world speed record (taking it from Amelia Earhart), and worked as a stunt pilot in Hollywood (see Hell's Angels (1930)), all before any of the Mercury 7 astronauts - of which "Gordo" was the youngest, born in 1927 - reached the age of ten. As a pioneering aviatrix, she was truly made of "the right stuff." Her story was told in a television movie, Pancho Barnes (1988), starring Valerie Bertinelli. See more »

Goofs

Alan Shepard was wearing a helmet from VA-122, a flight training squadron at NAS Lemoore, but when his A-4 was shown landing onboard the USS Lexington, it had the bright green XE painted on the rudder of a VX-5 (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron-Five) jet of NWC China Lake, Ca. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: 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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Alternate Versions

When the movie premiered on American TV in May 1986 on ABC TV, during Yeager's first X-1 flight, there are several radio transmissions from Ridley to Yeager which do not appear in other versions. For example, Yeager to Ridley: "Hey, Ridley, make a note here will you. Got nuthin' better to do. Elevator effectiveness regained." Ridley to Yeager [on radio, deleted]: Yessir, that's duly noted! While Yeager is taking in the spectacle after passing Mach-1, there is only music on the VHS, DVD, etc. On the ABC TV premiere, Ridley's voice is heard clearly on the radio saying, "Say, buddy, while you're up there put in a good word for me, will ya?" Finally, when Yeager performs the barrell roll in the X-1, he can be heard on the radio shouting "Woohoo!!" in the TV premiere. Again, this is not featured in any other version of the film. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Zoom (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Faraway Places
Written by Alex Kramer (uncredited) and Joan Whitney (uncredited)
Performed by Margaret Whiting
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
History Is Made Of This Stuff
5 October 2009 | by claudiaeilcinemaSee all my reviews

It was wonderful to see again this 1983 gem. Just as I remembered plus those unexpected surprises that time puts in evidence. Kim Stanley for instance. A few minutes on the screen, a peripheral character but I took her with me and here I am, thinking about her. The "starry" role jet pilots played and that new breed: "tha astronauts" getting the all American treatment, becoming overnight celebrities. Ed Harris is extraordinary as John Glenn. He becomes a sort of leader with some TV experience and we never ask why. Ed Harris's performance explains it all without ever actually saying it. Dennis Quaid is irresistible as "Gordo" Cooper. You believe every one of his thoughts, specially the ones he never reveals. In spite of the film's length, I wished the film would not end. I haven't had that wish very often. "The Right Stuff" is the real thing.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

17 February 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Right Stuff See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,601,167, 23 October 1983

Gross USA:

$21,192,102

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,192,315
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Company Credits

Production Co:

The Ladd Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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