STARRING: 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

rightstuff.jpg (16275 bytes)A case of it’s 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 haven’t been paying attention in your History classes), The Right Stuff is, well, fascinating stuff.

Even if you’re not vaguely interested in the American space program, this film (despite its running time of over three hours) is never dull. It’s so crammed with incident and detail, good performances and excellent special effects that it simply can’t 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 . . .



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