The Right Stuff
Dir. Philip Kaufman. 1983, 193 mins. 35mm. With Dennis Quaid, Ed Harris, Fred Ward, Sam Shepard. Kaufman’s mammoth adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s bestseller about the selection and lift-off of NASA’s first astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven, is a singular Hollywood epic. Part satire of American gung-ho machismo, part reverent dramatization of the mission that would change the world, The Right Stuff is a dazzlingly mounted production that effortlessly mixes comedy and drama. Shepard is a particular standout in a poignant subplot as sound-barrier breaker Chuck Yeager.
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