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The Right Stuff: Human Heroes in Space

Astronauts are the coolest possible human beings, and no movie has ever nailed it quite like this one. Watch and aspire to be as awesome as these guys. Oh, and tear up about space glory.

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Who's in it?

Some very talented people: Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, Scott Glenn as Alan Shepard, Ed Harris as John Glenn, and Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper.

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What's it about?

The film follows the envelope-pushing birth of America's manned space program, from its explosion-prone start to the consummation of the Mercury Program, detailing the struggle to build a machine that could take humans into space, and to find the right humans for that machine.

Why do we like it?

As it's based on a Tom Wolfe novel by the same name, the film examines the astronauts beyond any documentary or museum exhibit—they're cocky, accomplished, tall glasses of ego, and they're all thrown through the same gauntlet of tech and nationalism. It's easy to think of these guys as just faces on stamps, but the psychology of an astronaut is pretty compelling. Sure, it's a movie about the Mercury team, with actors, but the flick really pushes its feat on you like nothing else.

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The Right Stuff (1983), 193 Minutes — Netflix

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DISCUSSION

This is just a great movie.

Thinking about these guys basically riding a couple tons of explosives into the upper atmosphere and beyond was nothing short of incredible.

Even the portrayal of Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier was awesome...They were all risk takers, maybe even a little crazy to do all of that.

(on a side note: in Disney's California Adventure, there is a shop right across from Soarin' Over California. They have a clock in there that was in the control tower the day that Yeager broke the sound barrier - the clock stopped at the time that he punched through it.)