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Apollo 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 (1995)
May 4, 2012 - 7:00 pm
Brian Grazer.

Directed by Ron Howard

Just nine months after Neil Armstrong’s famous footsteps crystallized American dreams of a man on the moon, the harrowing journey of Apollo 13 riveted the nation and underscored the extraordinary risks of space exploration, and the bravery and heroism of those who face these perils.

After an explosion crippled their spacecraft, the astronauts aboard Apollo 13 were left in near-freezing temperatures with a dwindling oxygen supply and failing electrical systems, as mission control worked around the clock to find a way to bring them home safely. Apollo 13 captures the intimate human drama of this nail-biting true story, as well as its reaffirming importance to an America jaded by the Vietnam War and losing faith in the power of American ingenuity and perseverance.

Nominated for nine Academy Awards, director Ron Howard’s deep collaboration with NASA and veterans of the mission produced a film with vivid detail and authenticity. The terse and suspenseful screenplay, based on the memoir of flight commander Jim Lovell, handles arcane technical matters with clarity and simplicity. Houston’s mission control was meticulously recreated at Universal Studios, and the spacecraft scenes were shot in zero gravity aboard the same KC-135 airplane used to train astronauts.

A necessary film for an era in which the space shuttle program has so recently been retired, Apollo 13 resonates strongly as a nostalgic look to a time when American vision looked expansively outward, extraordinary courage and resilience could seemingly overcome all odds, and the simple wonder of journeying to a strange place captured the national imagination.

—Nina Rao

Imagine Entertainment. Producer: Brian Grazer. Based on a book by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. Screenwriter: William Broyles Jr., Al Reinert. Cinematographer: Dean Cundey. Editor: Mike Hill, Dan Hanley. Cast: Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris.