BEST MOON MOVIES
“Countdown” (1967) The space race was in full swing when Robert Altman helmed this underrated drama about an American astronaut hastily launched toward the moon so he – and his country – can get there before the Russians. James Caan plays the astronaut in question, who must rendezvous with a space shelter if he is to survive. The surprisingly impressive cast includes Robert Duvall, Ted Knight, Joanna Moore and an uncredited Mike Farrell.
“The Right Stuff” (1983) The U.S. space program, from Chuck Yeager’s breaking of the sound barrier in 1947 to the Mercury 7 project and President Kennedy’s proclamation to send astronauts to the moon by the end of the 1960s, is at the center of Philip Kaufman’s superb historical drama. There’s lots of space minutiea to absorb here, from the lives of the astronauts in the early days to history-making missions such as John Glenn’s (Ed Harris) orbit of Earth in the unpredictable Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft in 1962. All in all a rousing tribute to space exploration.
“Apollo 13” (1995) While no one actually lands on the moon, it figures heavily in the storyline of Ron Howard’s 1995 classic. Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert (Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon) are headed there on Apollo 13 when an explosion of an onboard oxygen tank cripples the ship and severely compromises their air supply. Much problem solving ensues as NASA works around the clock to bring the astronauts back alive while their friends, colleagues and family sweat it out on the ground. vAnd look carefully at the end of the film. That’s the real Lovell as an aircraft carrier commander, shaking hands with Hanks’ Lovell following splashdown.