6.7/10
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6 user 19 critic

Mercury 13 (2018)

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1:49 | Trailer
This documentary profiles women who were tested in 1961 for spaceflight, but had their dreams dashed when only men were chosen to become astronauts.
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bill Clinton ... Himself (archive footage)
Hillary Clinton ... Herself (archive footage)
Jerrie Cobb Jerrie Cobb ... Herself
Jacqueline Cochran Jacqueline Cochran ... Herself, pilot (archive footage)
Eileen Collins Eileen Collins ... Herself, astronaut
Gordo Cooper ... Himself, Mercury astronaut (archive footage)
Wally Funk Wally Funk ... Herself
John Glenn ... Himself, Mercury astronaut (archive footage)
Gus Grissom Gus Grissom ... Himself, Mercury astronaut (archive footage)
Ann Hart Ann Hart ... Herself, daughter of Janey Hart
Janey Hart Janey Hart ... Herself, pilot (archive footage)
Jim Hart Jim Hart ... Himself, son of Janey Hart
Gene Nora Jessen Gene Nora Jessen ... Herself, pilot
Jackie Lovelace Johnson Jackie Lovelace Johnson ... Herself, daughter of Dr. Randy Lovelace
Lyndon Johnson ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

This documentary profiles women who were tested in 1961 for spaceflight, but had their dreams dashed when only men were chosen to become astronauts.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the Women Who Dared Reach for the Stars

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

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Details

Official Sites:

Festival announcement

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Boise, Idaho, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fine Point Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color (Black & White and Color)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Soviet Union (Russia) launched two women into Space before Sally Ride became the first American into Space onboard the Space Shuttle. Since that milestone, tragedy has claimed four women in Spaceflight accidents, including three Americans and one from India. The second American woman into Space, Judith Resnik, lost her life in the Challenger disaster and is technically, the first woman astronaut to lose her life in a Spaceflight accident. Onboard with her was Christa McAuliffe, the third American woman in Space, the first non-astronaut, but the first Teacher in Space. Both died during liftoff and as the Shuttle Challenger was "Go for Throttle up." The other two women to perish were lost aboard the Shuttle Columbia. US Navy Captain and Flight Surgeon Laurel Blair Salton Clark and Aerospace Engineer Kalpana Chawla, were both Mission Specialists onboard Shuttle Columbia. Chawla was the first woman from India in Space and was on her second mission into Space. Chawla's first mission was also aboard Columbia. The 16-day Columbia mission was Clark's first mission into Space. See more »

Goofs

Reversed image. At 39:59 a TH-55 (Hughes 269) U.S. Army trainer hovers by the camera from left to right. The collective control is clearly visible in what appears to be the pilot's right hand. The collective is on the pilots left and thus the image must be reversed. See more »

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User Reviews

What a wonderful documentary this is
4 May 2018 | by gcsmanSee all my reviews

Everyone should see this, and since it's on Netflix, it's easy. This episode in the history of the USA space program was a reflection of the 1960's society of the time, but obvious echos still ring today. A doctor attached to the Mercury space capsule program, Dr. Lovelace, started a program on his own initiative to recruit women pilots for possible astronaut training. The ones who passed all the (sometimes bizarre) physical tests, the "Mercury 13", had high hopes of going further but NASA, Congress, and VP Lyndon Johnson summarily dismissed it for reasons that were nothing more than blatant sexism. All the women were accomplished pilots and first-rate human beings by any standard, but the arbitrary "rules" of qualification for astronaut training were such that no woman could meet them -- despite the fact that no piloting was even needed for Mercury capsules; the astronauts were just "spam in a can" as the saying went.

These ladies drew career inspiration from a still earlier generation of women pilots who flew in WWII (the WASPS), including Jacqueline Cochrane who features prominently in the doc. Cochrane herself wanted to be an astronaut, but didn't pass the physicals that the younger women did, and later on betrayed them during crucial Senate hearings about the astronaut program. John Glenn, the fair-haired hero of these early stages of the space program, also comes in for some criticism; he's someone who could have given meaningful support to the women at a critical stage, but did not.

Just like these womens' hopes, the Mercury 13 history has been largely buried, so this doc is very timely. A number of them are still around to be interviewed and tell their story first-hand, and boy are they great to hear. (Dr. Lovelace's daughter is an interviewee as well, and she's excellent.) It's easy to get outraged on their behalf, but that might be too simplistic. Listen to them first. They in turn have clearly been role models and inspirations for the women who have now become a regular part of space exploration.

The chronology of this film is frequently spliced in with absolutely gorgeous flight scenery accompanied by a graceful, soaring musical score. Oh, the magic of flight. Those scenes alone make it worth seeing this fine production.


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