This list returns to films — based on real science — about our history that inspire us to move forward into the future. I hope you’ll agree these films are timeless and inspirational.
It’s hard not to get choked up during the opening scene of this 1989 documentary — President Kennedy’s Moon speech in 1961, followed by the crowning moment of what the United States achieved less than ten years later.
Watching the Apollo Program story unfold — including the enthusiasm and excitement of the actual crew’s audio — gave me goosebumps. This film, composed of archival footage (most of it shot by the astronauts), is a must-see for anyone interested in NASA’s space program.
This IMAX documentary from 1982 is another powerful film! It provides a glimpse into the maiden voyage (STS-1) of NASA’s space shuttle program. Hard to believe that, with this launch of Columbia, the program would extend over 30 years and more than 100 missions — carrying us into the 21st century.
I chose this film because it conveyed the fresh sense of optimism at the time. Kudos also to another IMAX film, The Dream is Alive (1985), about a shuttle’s deployment of the LDEF (a school bus-sized, cylindrical experiment rack) into the atmosphere. Both are worthy films about the early — pre-Challenger disaster — years of NASA’s shuttle program.
This Oscar-winning drama from 1995, depicts the true story behind the Apollo 13 mission — in which the spacecraft developed severe problems while heading to the Moon. While the three imperiled astronauts made headlines around the world. Few people knew the intense story of their rescue — particularly among the NASA teams on the ground.
It required all of the knowledge and skill of those in the space program to bring Apollo 13 home safely. I really like seeing the dynamics of Mission Control and those behind the astronauts. Director Ron Howard gives us not only a great drama, but also an exciting, suspenseful ride into history.
The 1999 drama tells the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal-miner’s son, who’s inspired to study rocketry after watching Sputnik orbit overhead in 1957. I really enjoyed this film, because (finally!) it shows a group of kids using their intelligence — rather than violence or slapstick — to better their surroundings. I think you’ll agree we need more positive stories about science like this for the next generation.
The story of the original seven Mercury Program astronauts and the extreme dangers they faced are portrayed in this 1983 film. You don’t feel this epic’s three-hour length, because the individual stories are so compelling. I hope you agree, these are some great films to remember.
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