The Right Stuff

Rated NR 193 minutes 1983

Covering some 15 years, The Right Stuff recounts the formation of America's space program, concentrating on the original Mercury astronauts. Scott Glenn plays Alan Shepard, the first American in space; Fred Ward is Gus Grissom, the benighted astronaut for whom nothing works out as planned; and Ed Harris is John Glenn, the straight-arrow boy scout of the bunch who was the first American to orbit the earth. The remaining four Mercury boys are Deke Slayton (Scott Paulin), Scott Carpenter (Charles Frank), Wally Schirra (Lance Henriksen) and Gordon Cooper (Dennis Quaid). Wolfe's original book related in straightforward fashion the dangers and frustrations facing the astronauts (including Glenn's oft-repeated complaint that it's hard to be confident when you know that the missile you're sitting on has been built by the lowest bidder), the various personal crises involving their families (Glenn's wife Annie, a stutterer, dreads being interviewed on television, while Grissom's wife Betty, angered that her husband is not regarded as a hero because his mission was a failure, bitterly declares I want my parade!), and the schism between the squeaky-clean public image of the Mercury pilots and their sometimes raunchy earthbound shenanigans.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Film Credits

Director: Philip Kaufman

Writer: Tom Wolfe and Philip Kaufman

Producer: Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler

Cast: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed and Scott Paulin

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