The Right Stuff (Drama, Historical, 1983) (15) D: Philip Kaufman W: Tom Wolfe (book) P: Irwin Winkler C: Charles Frank, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Lance Henriksen, Scott Paulin. Dennis Quaid, Sam Shepard, Fred Ward, Kim Stanley, Barbara Hershey, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed. 3h 3m. USA.
Synopsis : By flying higher and faster than any other man had ever dared before, Chuck Yeager set the pace for a new breed of hero. Those that had just one thing in common…THE RIGHT STUFF
Taking a golden slice out of 1950’s space race history, Right Stuff depicts a sentimental recollection of the transit from aircraft trials to the immense struggle for the USA to beat the Soviets into getting a man into space.
Films of this nature usually massage the patriotic heart and in all fairness this movie also manages to ease in a healthy level of humble pie, the triumphs are also mixed with downfalls, this isn’t just a easy ride to the top, for every step forwards there are sometimes two back. One thing that needs to be considered with this and all historical films is that everyone knows the ending. What has to be done and what the Right Stuff does well is that it gives the viewer a candid look inside the goings on. Dipping into the events and characters it successfully opens the door on a picturesque and fantastic document of team reliving the tribulations and achievements again.
Being a generous 3 hours the pace is stable throughout, the drama is enhanced by the macho bravado of the teams comedic attempts to out do each other through the physical trials and later on their camaraderie against the powers that be take the forefront as the men prepare themselves for the unknown.
Most of the hot shots are twinned with an equally loving and equal actress to support them, the “at home” scenes are incredible, the actors really work off each other, beautifully filmed both as a drama and with the flashy action scenes also, the custom score ads to the vitality of the dazzling sky adventures but the greatest aspect is the powerful acting. A lot of the big names in the 90’s and beyond were slotted together in this marathon movie.
While being slightly romantic it’s approach to the story is pretty authentic, it’s not something that wouldn’t go amiss in the classroom similar to Schindler’s List (1993).
Rating – 7/10
R: Space cowboys (2000) Apollo 13 (1995)