From the Earth to the Moon (TV Mini-Series 1998) Poster

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Touching, Inspirational
heichers17 May 2001
When I first heard of this series when HBO previewed it long before it aired, I was immediately hooked. When it finally aired, it lived up to more than what I expected. When it finally came out in video as a boxed set, it was natural for me to get it. Occasionally, some of the scenes still bring me very close to tears.

This mini-series details the history of the Apollo program from how manned spaceflight got started to the last man on the moon. It very accurately details how we achieved humankind's greatest feat ever: the voyage to, exploration of, and return from, the moon, while adding a very reasonable dramatic twist to it. There are moments where you might laugh, and there are moments where you might feel like crying. There will also be moments where you might feel something else.

Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and the rest of the production staff did an absolutely amazing job in putting this together, everything from the visual effects to the cast and crew. The casting was done so great that this is the first time you cannot pin leading roles in any of the episodes let alone the whole series, even with big names (Hanks, Tony Goldwyn, Mark Harmon, Adam Baldwin, Tim Daly, Cary Elwes, Jay Mohr, Stephen Root, and Lane Smith, not to mention several other big names). Even the writer of the book it's based on, Andrew Chaikin, gets a cameo as the host for "Meet the Press." The soundtrack to this day continues to give me goosebumps highlighting the emotional nature of this series.

Each episode (except episode 12) starts with Hanks as the "host" telling a short anecdote which ties into the episode. The series starts off with featuring the start of the U.S. Manned Space Program versus the Soviet program, highlighting the "firsts" in space by the Soviets and then the Americans, from Mercury to Gemini to the development of Apollo. Episode 2 centers on Apollo 1 fire and the resulting investigation. Episode 3 involves the resumption of the program and highlights the crew before they lift off.

Other Highlightable episodes include the fourth episode, called "1968," which despite how devastating the events of that year were, the Apollo 8 mission helped the year close on a more positive note. The sixth episode highlights the famous Apollo 11 landing on the moon and the first man to step on the moon. Episode 8 is notable for Apollo 13 after its explosion and how the media was trying to find almost anything to feed a hungry audience with tabloid journalism instead of just the facts. Episode 11 is very notable since it focuses on how the wives of Apollo astronauts were affected by their husband's celebrity status and how they coped through the tense, exciting and devastating times. Episode 12, probably one of the most emotional episodes in the series, is about Apollo 17 (the last mission on the moon) and how this mission relates to the a dream from 70 years before by a man called George Melies when he created the moving picture "Le Voyage Dans La Lune." The performances of Hanks (his only appearance as an actor in the series), Daniel Hugh Kelley, Tom Amandes, Tchéky Karyo, Lane Smith, and Stephen Root, with the voice-over of Blythe Danner, make this episode very emotional, especially with everyone except for Karyo in interviews as their older selves.

As much factual information is used while keeping any fictionalized material to a minimum, such as the TV network featuring Emmitt Seaborn (Lane Smith)anchoring the missions for the nation.

This mini-series reminds me what we have worked for in our society and how we are letting that deteriorate now. Back then, it was a man landing on the moon that united the world. It makes you think whether we need something at that caliber to reunite our world today, and how we need to forget our petty differences and better our society as a whole. When you watch this, should think about that, because this is a series you will absolutely never forget.
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The definitive chronicle of the American Space Program.
Doctor_Bombay27 April 1999
Until the movie Apollo 13 came to the screen, many were unaware, or had forgotten of that event, or of the many facets, the visions, the energies that made up the American Space program in the 1960s. A program with a dictate set forth by President Kennedy: to get men to the moon, and return, safely, before the end of the decade.

This 12-hour (12 x one-hour segments) tribute is the personal mission of two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, a man with a childhood love for the astronauts and the space program, and a man with enough clout to get this big-budget extravaganza made.

Each segment is in and of itself a story, each with a different point-of-view on the major aspects of the program. Certainly the main events-the first manned flight, the Apollo 1 fire, the lunar landing, the Apollo 13 emergency, are all there. But quite differently than what we've seen previously, here we have an opportunity to relive much of the day-to-day, aspects-the politics, the personalities, the emotions, of many, many of the key individuals. The astronauts, the engineers, the administrators, the news people, the wives-they all get wonderfully recognized.

Since I'm about the same age as Mr. Hanks, I admit to being a space freak myself as a youngster-at the time these events actually happened. At that time I waited every week, for Time, Newsweek and Life magazine to give me the pictures, and accounts of the activity at NASA.

It's oh so appropriate to have this wonderful tribute to this important piece of American history.
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It was 35 Years Ago Today
Robert Hayward20 July 2004
HBO's 'From the Earth to the Moon' (E2M) is everything a good docu-drama mini-series should be. Tom Hanks has brought to life the true story of man's greatest adventure to 'land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth'. For those of us who were alive, E2M allows us to relive those incredible days. And for those who were born afterwards, it gives them a chance to understand exactly what it was they missed. If you have even the slightest interest in the space program, obtaining a copy of this DVD set is a must.

Coincidently, Apollo 11 landed exactly 35 years ago today. I was 13 years old at the time and living in Nova Scotia, Canada. The 'Eagle' touched down at 5:17 pm, much to the consternation of my mother who was busy trying to prepare supper. Just like Tom Hanks would later relate, I had my models of the Command Service Module, Lunar Module and Saturn V rocket close at hand while I had claimed the living room armchair for the occasion. My family gathered around our old B&W television which was tuned to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), one of only two stations which were available to us back then. Much of the CBC's coverage consisted of a feed from CBS, so we got to watch Walter Cronkite's famous 'Oh Boy!' commentary. My prized 3" reel-to-reel tape recorder (you could get all of 1 hour on a single reel) was busy taping a local radio station carrying NBC's coverage with Jay Barbree.

The entire family congregated again a few hours later for the moonwalk, just before midnight, and watched Neil & Buzz's first steps. I stayed up for the entire 30 hour televised stretch, from lunar landing to liftoff, stealing a moment every now and then to go outside and gaze up in wonder at the moon, filled with awe that two human beings were actually there, living and working on its surface. In this day of CNN and other all-news networks, it should be remembered that the coverage of this event was in itself history in-the-making - TV's longest continuous coverage of a planned event.

My interest in space began with the flight of Apollo 8. When I heard that this was the first manned launch of the world's biggest rocket, the Saturn V, I was sure that one of its million parts would go wrong with disastrous results. Thank God it didn't. I watched and I was forever hooked. A real space junkie, religiously watching each mission after that, coaxing my Mom to let me stay home from school (recurrent cases of 'moon sickness', no doubt), clipping out every newspaper, Life, Time or Newsweek article I could find (now faded yellow with age) and trying to tape as much of the audio coverage as I could (few private individuals could afford a video recorder back then). By Apollo 14, I had earned enough money working at a grocery store to buy a 4-track 7" reel-to-reel recorder (which allowed one to put up to 12 hours on a single tape!) and had built a 15" Heathkit color TV. For Apollo 16, I had added a new-generation 'cassette' recorder to my arsenal (don't forget that the venerable 8-track was still popular at the time). And, of course, I had acquired a VCR by the time the first Space Shuttle flew in 1981. It has always annoyed me that the more recording resources I could afford, the less TV & radio coverage there was available to tape.

But the effect of the Apollo program on me was profound. Because of it, I entered into a career in radio astronomy, enjoying the technical challenge of building instruments to investigate deep space from the Earth, perhaps recognizing the likelihood that I would never have to opportunity to leave its surface (although I did make the first cut for the Canadian Astronaut Program nearly 20 years ago). In tribute to Project Apollo, we named our son (now 16) after astronaut David Scott who commanded Apollo 15, my favorite of all the lunar flights.

In many ways, I feel sorry for the children of today - they will never experience the monumental awe and global celebration that we were privileged to witness back in 1969. Strange, isn't it, that although Apollo - the pinnacle of mankind's technical achievement - which occurred only 35 years ago is now looked on as though it was something out of our deep past rather than a part of our future. It's almost treated like it was a chapter out of ancient history, similar to other great accomplishments like the building of the Pyramids or the Great Wall. Although it might not seem so today, 500 years from now the moon landings will undoubtedly be remembered as the most significant event to have occurred in the 20th century.

It's hard to choose my favorite E2M episode since they were all so good. As an engineer, 'Spider' resonated well with me, portraying the passion and dedication which many of us put into our work, albeit for projects with a much lower profile. 'That's All There Is' brought back fond memories of the Apollo 12 mission. I distinctly remember there was talk at the time that astronauts Conrad and Bean may have been on an accidental oxygen high. It's good to know that there effervescent behavior on the surface was just a manifestation of their normal high spirits and comradely. I was delighted at how 'Galileo Was Right' was able to present the training of the astronauts to be field-geologists in such an entertaining and informative manner. And finally, the bittersweet "Le Voyage Dans La Lune" brought a tear to my eye, just as happened back in 1972 when I watched Apollo 17 and the last lunar module lift-off from the moon. It's even sadder still, that we have not returned, nor will we for perhaps another 20 years.
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Incredible mini series
Nayzo2225 February 2004
This miniseries is fantastic. As a self titled space geek, I enjoyed every minute. Not only does it tell the story of how we got to the Moon, it tells about the individual astronauts and many who helped get them there. After Alan Shepard had his 15 minutes as the first American in space, JFK made it clear that we needed to get to the Moon by 1970. The mini series details every step of the way, touching on the Apollo 1 disaster, all the steps to getting to the Moon (staying in orbit, space walks, docking, etc), the development of the Lunar Modules, and the inevitable voyage of Apollo 11 that landed on the Moon. I especially enjoyed Dave Foley as Al Bean, an astronaut on Apollo 12 (the funny episode). From the Earth to the Moon also details the NASA/press relationship, astronaut training, the astronaut wives, etc. It's such details and perspective that make this stand out as an amazing miniseries. I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about the Apollo program. Truly an amazing story of arguably the greatest technological achievement of man to date.
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They don't come any better than this...
jhlurie7 June 1999
I'll be brief because this series speaks well for itself--especially on DVD. To the jaded it may feel guilty of many things: romanticism, idealism, patriotism (or jingoism, if you insist), but even if that were true it presents a series of stories that have never been told before. Perhaps in a hundred years the quaintness and primitiveness of what had to be done to visit our nearest neighbor, the moon, might be seen as amusing instead of inspiring--but I don't think so. See if you don't walk away feeling a little better after watching an episode or two, or all twelve. I dare you.

And don't think if you've seen Apollo 13 that you've seen it all. This series even makes the stories of the guys who built the lunar lander, the geologists who studied the moon rocks, and the wives of the astronauts as appealing and fulfilling as the triumphs and tragedies that are better known.
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An inspirationally movie, a Must-See for Everyone
ehrich-33 February 2001
From the Earth to the Moon is a stunning masterpiece that captures the triumph of a defining moment in the history of the world: Humankind's arrival to, short exploration of, and return from, it's planetary neighbor the Moon.

Tom Hanks brought together actors, writers, directors, producers, and composers of the highest caliber to deliver an accurate, outstanding, hard hitting film.

From the Earth to the Moon is a 12 hour movie spanning the United States involvement in the space race from the first man in space in 1961 to the last lunar landing in 1972. The movie teaches, gives insights, paints portraits of real people, and is simply fascinating.

The stories told in From the Earth to the Moon are inspiring, captivating, funny, thrilling, and heartbreaking. The true stories are absolutely unforgettable, stories of the men, women, and machines of the Apollo era.

All the stories presented in the film are special, and one that touched me was the story of Apollo 7. With the tragedy of Apollo 1, the movie reveals how Apollo 7 and its crew were America's last chance to make it happen. The movie beautifully presents the pressure Wally Shirra, his crew, and NASA were under before the lift-off of Apollo 7. Had Apollo 7 failed, the space program certainly would have stopped and the world would have never experienced Apollo 11's lunar landing.

The live footage shown from the Apollo 7 lift-off is awesome and spectacular. Generations from now will watch Apollo 7's lift-off to be amazed that humans could achieve such an engineering and technical marvel and scholars will debate in awe how the political, social, and economic environments of the time made such an event possible.

After viewing the entire movie, I was struck with sense of sadness. The Apollo program seemed to allow people's ideas to flourish and pull together around one common goal. That goal, of landing a man on the moon, was noble and exciting. It drew on man's positive strengths to explore, learn, move forward, and better the human condition. Someday, mankind must again reach for the stars.

From the Earth to the Moon will stay with you for a long, long time.
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A wonderful reminder
gandalf-252 August 1999
The best thing about this series is the fact that it will either teach or remind a great many people about the accomplishments of the race to the moon. Sadly I feel that this is one of the most misunderstood and under appreciated events in human history, thought of by many today as some sort of great patriotic publicity stunt by an insecure America. I feel I can almost read Tom Hank's mind and feel his desire to make people understand the difficulty and significance of the achievement. The series does a wonderful job of placing the entire series of events in context with the political and social climate of the day.

We now live in a world where most of us simply take it for granted that we will probably someday travel to, explore and perhaps even colonize other worlds in our solar system and even beyond. This is the only true because hundreds of thousands of people contributed to proving beyond doubt that it can be done. The race to the moon changed us, even if we don't quite realize it, and this series is a reminder of that.
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What a Great Production...
chicagoastronomer2 March 2005
This is one hell of a production!

It starts out with the Mercury missions, but not just the glossy scenes we know and have seen already, it goes beyond the norm. This 12 part series explains the absolute minutia of the space effort and the lives of the people behind it. It progresses through the Gemini and finally the Apollo missions all the way to the last Apollo 17 lunar landing.

I learned quite a few things about the space race that I never knew before, such as: The surly nature of Alan Shepard, the fate of the astronauts wives, the fun nature of the Apollo 12 crew and the internal politics within the ranks of the astronauts themselves. I was also surprised on how much a bastard that Walter Mondale was in his attempts on derailing the space program. (I'm glad his bid for the White House was a failed one... Ignorance favors all political parties.)

A lot of familiar faces starred in this production, the one that knocked me for a loop was Malcolm in the Middle's father as Buzz Aldrin. The acting is great and shows the versatility of the actors in both comedic and serious roles. I knew that Pete Conrad was cocky, but it shows more of his personality here. Armstrong has been known to be rather sullen and quiet, and is clearly demonstrated here as well. To this day, he doesn't talk much about his adventure. The decision determining who will be the first man on the moon is blunt and anti-climatic, but it tells it as it is. It tells of the astronauts secret activities and agendas, as well as particular small moments that they experienced.

In the Apollo 13 segment, the production did not go into the details of the incident like we all seen before, but rather focused on the reporters angle on the event. And I rather enjoyed the insight sweat details on the building of the L.E.M. I wish they did a segment on the rover. I thought that they labored too long over the Apollo 16 mission - training much...learning geology with a trained eye, but I appreciate the effort that they went through. The Apollo 1 tragedy was produced well, with the political aftermath fallout.

I hope that all what was filmed is true, and I do understand creative license, but I would feel better if I knew they kept it faithful to actual events. I need to view this again to catch more, but I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the space program.


Chicago Astronomer
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carsch2 April 2002
This series is simply amazing. It is well acted, well written, and you can't beat the subject matter. I have never seen a better show. Everyone in this series is wonderful and the dialog is so crisp. It is a great tribute to an important era in American history. I recommend it for everyone.
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Obvious labour of love
Neal Klein25 May 2002
For those who look for a well produced, faithful, moving telling of

the Apollo program, this series is a masterpiece. Michael Kamen's

poignant music, Tom Hanks' exacting production standards,

outstanding performances from a range of excellent actors and

special effects that leave one wondering what it would have looked

like on a movie screen ---- all make this series a must-see. And for

those concerned that this series might have gross overlap with

other films made about this time period (The Right Stuff, Apollo

13), you will be pleased to see that the series carefully and

deliberately tells the tales not already well told in these two films.

Again, this is a subtle example of Hanks' production values.

But let's say you don't care about all that. Then, get ready to learn.

Get ready to see the complex conundrum that was the Apollo

program unfold in much the way the principal players probably

saw it. Get ready for a balance between humour and intelligence.

Get ready for exposition that does not drag like exposition tends to

do. Get ready to cry at times, and if you're lucky enough to

remember those days, get ready for a wave of nostalgia.

People who rave about this series usually do so not because they

are blinded by their own interest in the subject and are glad

someone did the tale justice. Usually, they marvel at how

someone managed to capture so much and keep the quality so

high. And I believe you will, too.
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When it is dark enough, you can see the stars ...
Kitt32721 February 2003
I have seen this many times now, but it never fails to move me to tears. The passion and love that was put into the making of this series is evident in every single scene. The story isn't simple told; each episode invites the viewer into the story, using black and white photography, news reports, hand-held camera, grainy 60s style film, voice-over, music, SFX .. it exploits every film innovation possible. But even without that, it would still work perfectly, because each story is framed as a personal journey and told through human eyes. It reminds me of a quote in the series, about the reasons for sending a human being to the moon: "Only a man is capable of comprehending the moon in terms understandable to other men." This principle is applied to the series itself, allowing us to comprehend the reality of the journey by showing it to us through the eyes of other human beings. There are many awe-inspiring moments, but my favourite would have to be the end of '1968', the sequence starting from the astronauts seeing the earth rise over the moon to "You saved 1968." The first moon landing and leaving the moon for the last time are also very moving. Overall, it's incredible, from start to finish.
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eian-nelson27 December 2005
I have just watched the entire series from start to finish in one hit, absolutely amazing. What a way to spend a bank holiday. I was 8 years old when Neil and Buzz landed on the moon and this series put the whole story into perspective and what and who it was really about. The technological barriers which had to be annihilated to achieve what was achieved. The suspense of the geologists as they excitedly wait for news on the types of rocks and structures and the terrified look from the guy responsible for operating the remote camera on the moon televising the only chance to see a full launch of the lunar module from the surface of the moon for the last time and allowing for the 6 second delay....priceless! .just small, seemingly insignificant stories added together to make this a masterpiece.
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The definitive chronical of the Space Race...
Dylan-3610 January 2000
When taking in the whole of the series, after viewing, I cannot help but be overwhelmed by a sense of awe. Awe at what man has accomplished, awe at the ingeinuity and the diligence that it took for us to take the mighty and unbelievable step as the journey from the earth to the moon.

Tom Hanks' series can only be characterized as the definitive chronical of the space race. Given enough time to properly dissipate the stories, enough talent to portray, and enough insight and intrigue to be accurate, he has put together episode after episode of historically credible and entertaining accounting of this.

Part 1, entitled "Can We Do This?" captures the feeling of overwhelming that America experienced when faced with the daunting task of actually landing on the moon. This episode provides a fitting prologue to the remainder of the series. The second episode, "Apollo 1" is perhaps the first real disection and discussion of the fire that tragically took the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White. (Look for an excellent recounting of the fire itself as told through the narration of Frank Borman...

Perhaps the most well produced episodes are some of the later episodes: Recounting of missions that are easily forgotten in the wake of their more powerful predeccessors. Overall, this series is one of the great treasures of the 1990's, and one of the crown jewels in Tom Hanks illustrious career.
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Still has impact.
txkent5 February 2002
For Christmas, I bought "From the Earth to the Moon" on DVD, and I've been rewatching the entire series in order for the past few days. The writing, acting, directing, cinematography, visual effects, everything is so wonderful, and I'm finding myself choked up at scenes, laughing out loud and being immersed in the scenes so deeply, it's like I'm watching for the very first time.

It's a shame that all features shot for TV aren't of the caliber of this series.
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Perfect in every way...the comprehensive study of the American Space Program
mdeasy28 February 2000
From the earth to the Moon tells the whole story of America's space program. If a person combined the first couple episodes of Earth to the Moon with Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, you would have a brilliant beginning. Next replace the Apollo 13 episode of ETTM with the Hank's movie Apollo 13 and then let the rest speak for itself. That would be the perfect mix.

Several of the episodes of ETTM I have watched over and over again. A particular favorite is Spider, which tells the story of the creation of the LEM vehicle by the Grumman Corporation. Matt Craven who was brilliant played the head of that project. This was a magnificent piece of film, showing every aspect of the engineering process, but having made it accessible and even loveable. The team effort and building as a team comes out clearly.

Also the episode called `Is that all there is', about the moon flight of little known astronaut Al Bean was also fantastic. The interplay between Dave Foley (Al Bean), and Paul McCrane (Pete Conrad) is just great on screen magic. There is chemistry between these two teammates that goes beyond normal.

Finally the geology and rock-collecting episode is brilliant. This episode truly captured the final flights of the Apollo program and the direction that the space program might have taken had the funding continued. There is a real magic here with Brett Cullen (Dave Scott) and Tom Amandes (Jack Schmitt) and their taking the lead in truly training the astronauts to also be scientists.

Tom Hanks made the world a masterpiece…it should be required watching in every US History class in America. This is brilliant work from the first episode to the last.
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Where have all the men with the right stuff gone?
jacktodd9763 October 2004
"From the Earth to the Moon" reveals an American spirit that is seemingly lacking in our current leadership. The explosion of ideas and research from the space program have been seen in no other endeavor except possibly war. Instead of putting our resources into exploration of our Universe, we spend money on military exploits that will provide us with few benefits in the short or long run. When will we understand that this little planet cannot hold us all forever, and that exploration of other worlds for raw materials to improve our lives will be necessary in the near future. We will never achieve harmony with everyone on this planet, to think so is shear fantasy. We must move ahead in concert with those who believe that we must explore beyond this world and look for material benefits from those explorations. We can't wait for everyone on the planet to catch up, we need to move now. It's seemingly like the minor dilemma in buying a new digital camera, do we wait for the new technology next year, or go ahead and take the plunge and buy one now? It will never be any cheaper than it was this year, prices always seem to go up. So lets get going, we will have no problem finding those men and women who share the dream and are willing to take the risk. The question is do we have leaders who understand those dreams, the risks, and the need for man to explore and push the envelop.

"We choose to go to the moon and do the other things this decade, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." JFK, Rice University Speech 1961.
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The Voyages Of Apollo
Matthew Kresal15 August 2009
Truth is stranger then fiction as the saying goes. If there ever was need to prove this one would need to look no further then HBO's 1998 miniseries From The Earth To The Moon. Acting a bit as television companion to Ron Howard's feature film Apollo 13, this miniseries covers the years between 1961 and 1972, this epic twelve hour miniseries covers the race to the Moon from the perspective of those in NASA who went on the missions, supported them from the ground and watched them take place.

The epic cast of the miniseries is where much of its success lies. While it may be lacking any "named stars" in its cast it is a perfect place for numerous character actors to show their talents. The cast ranges from Nick Searcy as Deke Slayton, Lane Smith as the Walter Cronkite-like TV reporter Emmett Seaborn, David Andrews as Frank Borman, Stephen Root as Chris Kraft to Ted Levine as Alan Shepard, Rita Wilson as Susan Borman, Dave Foley as Al Bean and Mark Harmon as Wally Schirra amongst many, many others. Then there is of course executive producer Tom Hanks who acts, at the start of all but the last episode, as a sort of Chorus introducing the viewer to the story that is about to unfold.

The series is also blessed with fantastic effects work. From The Earth To The Moon builds on the fantastic effects work done for the feature film Apollo 13 to accurately and dramatically recreate the flights of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. Of special mention is the effects work done in the episodes "1968" and "Mare Tranquilitatis". The CGI and model work blends in near perfectly with the archival material used in places throughout the series. Yet perhaps the biggest special effects highlight of the production is the moon walk recreations. As other productions on the moon landings have shown, recreating these famous moon walks are not easy and yet by the time you have finished watching the twelve hours this miniseries covers you'll be amazed at just how convincing the moon walks are. While there are one or two questionable special effects (such as the LLRV crash in "Mare Tranquilitatis") the effects are fantastic pieces that help make the recreation of the missions all the more believable.

Yet the heart of From The Earth To The Moon lies in the scripts of its twelve episodes. Perhaps better then a documentary could, the miniseries' writing brings to the light of day the ambitions, dreams, egos, emotions, politics and the people behind the scenes of the Apollo mission to the Moon. While the first episode "Can We Do This?" moves along far too quickly due to the fact it covers as much history in a hour as the rest of the miniseries covers in eleven, the other eleven hours make for fascinating viewing. The various episodes cover the political fights that came up after the Apollo 1 fire ("Apollo One") to the lead-up to the flight of the first manned Apollo flight ("We Have Cleared The Tower") to the building of the Lunar Module ("Spider") to the media coverage of the Apollo13 mission ("We Interrupt This Program") to the scientific flights of the later part of the program ("Galileo Was Right") to the effect of the mission on the astronauts wives ("The Original Wives Club") to the contrasts between the 1902 filming of the George Melies film Le voyage dans la lune and, seven decades later, the last of the Apollo mission done in a documentary format ("Le voyage dans la lune"). Each script tells the story not only of the missions but of the people there as well and never does it descend into the cliché one has come to expect from TV docudramas.

The best episode of the miniseries, in my opinion anyway, would be its fourth episode entitled simply "1968". Better then any documentary on the Apollo 8 flight I have seen to date, the Al Reinert (the filmmaker of the wonderful Apollo documentary For All Mankind) scripted episode puts the Apollo 8 flight in the perspective of the other disastrous events of 1968. Even more intriguing, the episode is stylishly shown with all of the Earth-bound scenes in this episode are filmed in black and white, while the astronaut scenes are in color giving an amazing documentary like effect for most of the episode. Add on the aforementioned acting and special effects, especially in the earth rise sequence, and the result is an amazing fifty-four minutes of television.

Across the twelve hours and twelve episodes it covers, From The Earth Of The Moon is an amazing piece of television. From its fine acting, incredibly done special effects and fantastic scripts cover the story of the voyages of Apollo. It tells not just the story of the technological achievement of the Apollo flights but of the human stories that lied behind them, mostly unseen. While it might not always be exactly true to life it may well be as close to an accurate recreation of those amazing missions as we are ever likely to get.
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This was a wonderful and informative production.
vickieturtle17 April 2002
This was one of the best mini series I have seen. I loved every minute of it. This was a wonderful exhibit of the Apollo missions. I am sad for those who did not see these flights as they happened. But I am glad and thankful for this presentation for those too young to share this amazing experience. I loved the music, the wit and the wonderful emotions of this production. I hope to see more programs like this. It was captivating, humorous and educational.
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Excellence from the heart of a true enthusiast...
alvintostig28 December 2000
Everyone that grew up during the time of the space race speaks of its inspiration, how it captured the national consciousness at a time when it was otherwise preoccupied with fear. For those of us who grew up long after the fascinating events of the 1960's and already lived in a world in which shuttles and space flight were a reality, "From the Earth to the Moon" provides us with a sense of the awe and wonder which so gallantly captured that time. Tom Hanks', a noted NASA enthusiast (admittedly he has seen 2001: hundreds of times) seems to radiate his joy for the subject onto the screen, methodically pointing out the highlights, lowlights, and points of interest that marked the American rush to fulfil John F. Kennedy's promise to place a man on the moon. Perfectly written, wonderfully acted, and beautifully placed on the screen, this mini-series is one of the greats, that when future societies dig up information on our culture, "From the Earth to the Moon" will provide a great example of what the American spirit was all about.
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Making the impossible possible on a slide rule...
Ron Brooks6 July 2004
Frankly, every time that I watch the series, I get choked up. The dedication and bravery to make a mandate possible...

Yes, it was a political mandate, but it seemed to be more in my view.

More a quest to prove that it could be done. Never before has anything been undertaken quite like it. Perhaps the Manhatten Project would come close, but it did not have 400,000 people working together as one.

To me, it is totally amazing that it was done on the tools available: Slide rules and rudimentary computers.

They went to the moon on a computer that had a whopping 32K of memory if I remember correctly.

Most home appliances, cell phones (not to mention computers) have much more processing power than what they used to send Apollo to the Moon.

Truly an feat that will be remembered for all of history, at least I hope so.

Lesson for today is to remember that given a 'impossible' task that almost anything can be accomplished if you set the human mind free and believe.

I wish that in my lifetime, mankind will return to the greatness that was attained during Apollo and surpass it as we must.

If not, a true shame for all mankind....
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Just wonderful in every way
trpdean18 April 2004
I believe I'm a couple of years older than Tom Hanks - and though at the age of 5, I remember thrilling to Alan Shepard's trip into space, and of course to John Glenn's orbit, by the time of Gemini, my interest in history had so trumped my interest in science that I was bored by the space program. Although I certainly watched those grainy pictures of the moon on July 20, 1969, I have to say that I found it all dull and (except for the disasters of Apollo 1 and 13 - both of which I vividly remember) very predictable.

This amazing series converted my contemporary indifference to awed fascination. As the spotlighted review far more eloquently stated, the space program in the 1960s was one of the most extraordinary feats in the history of mankind -- and this series makes it completely absorbing, inspiring, full of extraordinary (and previously unknown to me) personal tales, humor, and just marvel at the ability of the filmmakers (including the actors) to create this amazing document.

No matter whether you were then alive or have any interest in the space program, you are missing something very valuable and unique and completely enjoyable - if you fail to see this series.

I've seen a number of television series that are as memorable as any movies I've ever seen - Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, I Claudius, the various Ken Burns documentaries (particularly the one on the Civil War), the Tinker-Tailor/Smiley's People series -- and this wonderful and marvelous From the Earth to the Moon.

I thank everyone involved with this project for the care and dedication they took to present it - and the joy they've brought me.
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Decent But Rather Overly-Patriotic Look at the Apollo Program: Needed More of the Mishaps and the Struggles -- can't hold a candle to "The Right Stuff"
classicalsteve2 November 2009
Certainly, the accomplishments of the space program make Americans very proud. But a TV mini-series devoted to the subject didn't need endless flag-waving and a soundtrack that sounds like a slanted World War II movie from the 1950's and early 1960's to make its point. (One episode actually uses the theme music from "The Great Escape"!) "From the Earth to the Moon" is a bit over-the-top in the patriotic department and a little under-done in the real behind-the-scenes drama department. The United States' project to send a man to the moon and return him to the earth, which was originally proposed by John F. Kennedy, was full of glitches, setbacks, wrong-turns, conflicts, and clashes. A few these behind-the-scenes darker aspects were portrayed but not nearly as many as actually occurred. Unfortunately, the filmmakers glossed up the positive aspects and left out a lot of the darker albeit more interesting aspects of this incredible venture.

The made-for-television mini-series comes off more like a NASA press conference or a tour for fifth-graders at a museum than a stark honest depiction of the actual events leading up to the first moon missions. "From the Earth to the Moon" depicted very little conflict between any of the personalities, the technological setbacks, the political controversies, and the many mishaps that are inevitable from such an undertaking. Some were hinted at, such as the decision concerning who would be the first man to walk on the moon but I wanted to see more of the arguments, the setbacks, the conflicts. These more negative aspects were part of the history of the missions but a lot of this was glossed over in favor of how wonderful the resulting accomplishments were and how great everyone got along with each other. The film "The Right Stuff" did a far superior job of showing the craziness, the absurdity, and some of the foolishness that comes along with these kinds of projects that involve millions of dollars and 1000's of people.

Probably the strongest and most informative episodes were the following: "Spider", the episode that chronicles the design of the LEM, aka the lunar module, "Galileo Was Right" which depicts one of the later missions in which the astronauts train to become like geologists, and "Le Voyage dans la Lune" concerning the early 20th-century silent film of a voyage to the moon, which was made in France.

The most disappointing of the series has to be the first landing, "Mare Tranquilitatis". Apparently, there were many unexpected hurdles and unforeseen setbacks that almost prevented the first landing and the famous moon walk of Neil Armstrong from taking place. Many of these twists and turns were absent in favor of a patriotic outcome replete with glorious brass choirs. An issue about who would be the first man to walk on the moon and when Armstrong missed the intended landing target were the only stumbling blocks that were developed during the episode. I caught the tail end of a documentary about the subject in which Armstrong related many of the hurdles that had to be overcome to accomplish the mission which were glaringly absent from the television portrayal.

Patrotism is not born of flag-waving or music. It's born from admiring the struggles of our American heroes. Only when we see how much these people had to fight and struggle can we truly admire them. But if their struggles are softened, the true point of their heroism becomes lost, and I think that's what was missing from this series. If I had seen more of the "tear your hair out" hurdles that had to be overcome, I probably would have felt more patriotic towards these people and what they did. Instead I think I came away feeling like it was no big deal.
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A thrilling piece of human history incredibly recreated!
agardk24 April 2005
As someone born in 1959, I grew up with the space program. I was a bit too young for Mercury but I a handful of truly vivid memories from my lifetime. One of those was Apollo 1 and another, of course, was sitting in my living room with my parents on a hot July evening in New York watching, as man first landed and then walked on the moon.

As the parent of a teenager, who has had the good fortune to be fairly well traveled, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of NASA facilities over the years with my son. We've even been to the Cape for a number of shuttle launches and landings. So I have naturally discussed what the this time period was like and the impact the Moon landings had on the US and the world. However I don't think he really had a grasp of what I was talking about until he watched this series when it originally aired on HBO.

Of course, we added the DVD Set to our collection the day it was released and it has had a workout ever since. I consider this a must for anyone with children. Not only does it do an outstanding job of giving a fairly factual account of the of the events surrounding mans voyage from the Earth to the Moon, but it also gives those who were not alive to witness it first hand a sense of the excitement, wonder, awe and worry a great portion of the world experienced in the 4 years between December 1968 and December 1972.

Unfortunately, events such as those depicted in this series are not ones we are not likely to see again in our lifetimes. Hopefully our children will. They will experience it when man finally sets foot on Mars. Perhaps this series will inspire tomorrow's engineers and astronauts to see to it that we do!
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Movie: A- DVD: A-
paulb-810 February 2000
Tom Hanks executive produced this mini-series after completing Apollo 13 as a way of detailing the entire Apollo program. Each episode is a story about a different aspect of the endeavor and each features different writers, directors and actors. As a whole, the series is a wonderful adventure and a great history lesson. Cameo appearances by many, many well known character actors enhances the fun. A few of the episodes really stand out as special, but the entire series is more than worth watching. The entire video was shot on video for HBO but still looks great, special effects are as good as in any movie and for the DVD, excellent 5.1 sound is used. The boxed set includes a fourth disc containing extras that I have not seen, thought I anxiously await the opportunity.
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Hanks' creation is another national treasure
Brian Wright13 August 2008
In searching my memory banks for a movie or miniseries of this much 'scope and hope,' the only thing that comes to mind is another Tom Hanks' production, John Adams, reviewed on these pages several weeks ago. As in that more recent tour de force, From the Earth to the Moon features superbly acted episodes of extraordinary depth and nuance about an era that came to signify what it means to be American (and human)... at least for a significant minority of individual strivers and would-be strivers inhabiting the planet at the time.


For my complete review of this movie and for other movie and book reviews, please visit my site

Brian Wright Copyright 2008
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