The Right Stuff
Based on Tom Wolfe's thrilling history of the US space program, The Right Stuff is a spirited and rousing tribute to the men (and their wives) who took death-defying risks in the name of adventure and the dream to be the first men in space.
Beginning with legendary ace pilot Chuck Yeager's (played by Sam Shepard) attempts to break the sound barrier, the film traces the journey of the seven astronauts selected to man the first rocket flight into space.
The media circus that surrounds this very public space race against the Soviets becomes a bracing satire on the art of media spin and what it really takes to become a hero.
Director Philip Kaufman brings a real sense of urgency to the proceedings, highlighting just how insanely dangerous it is to propel a man into orbit at such an accelerated rate. The body count amongst the initial test pilots shines a sobering light on the sacrifices these men make to be counted as that special breed that do indeed have the right stuff.