Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim
Stanley, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed, Scott Paulin, Charles Frank, Lance Henriksen
1983, 193 Minutes, Directed by: Philip Kaufman
A case of its not science fiction but
should be of interest to some sci-fi fans - or anyone else for that matter.
Based on the
Tom Wolfe book of the same name, The Right Stuff is an almost documentary
recreation of the events surrounding the early days of the American space program.
Chronicling pilot Chuck Yeager's breaking the sound barrier and the Mercury space
program in which the first Americans were sent into space and to orbit the earth (the
Russians beat them to it - in case you havent been paying attention in your History
classes), The Right Stuff is, well, fascinating stuff.
Even if youre not
vaguely interested in the American space program, this film (despite its running time of
over three hours) is never dull. Its so crammed with incident and detail, good
performances and excellent special effects that it simply cant miss. This movie,
which was directed by Philip (who did the first remake of Invasion
of the Body Snatchers) Kaufman, would make an excellent double bill along with Apollo 13.
Difficult to believe: but even though The Right
Stuff was nominated for 8 Oscars, it lost out to the dreadful Shirley MacLaine weepy Terms
of Endearment when it came to the final hurdle of best picture. (It won four in the
end: film editing, sound, sound effects and best original score.)
Then again, nothing new:
the Oscars have always preferred schmaltz to great art - like when Kramer Vs Kramer
beat Apocalypse Now. Or when Gandhi beat ET - the
Extra-Terrestrial . . .