Funny, trenchant account, based on Tom Wolfe's book, of the dawn of the space age, seen as both a shameless piece of media mythmaking, and as an act of genuine courage on the part of the first astronauts. The movie spans about 15 years, beginning with Chuck Yeager (Sam Shepard) breaking
Mach 1, and concluding with a huge barbecue at the Astrodome at which President Johnson (Donald Moffat) hosts the astronauts. In between, it depicts their arduous training and complex personal lives, and the absurd lengths to which they have to go to satisfy the public's demand for real-life
heroes. Director-writer Philip Kaufman's script brings a wealth of humor to a faithful retelling of the astronauts' fascinating stories, the actors fit smoothly into their roles and even physically resemble their characters, and the direction is well-paced and visually exciting.
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