The Right Stuff

Director: Philip Kaufman
Screenwriters: Philip Kaufman, Tom Wolfe

Institute History

  • 1993 Sundance Film Festival


On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first man to fly faster than sound; he put the sky demon to rout and began the Space Age. The Right Stuff is a chronicle of that exciting period, spanning from the early test pilot days through the recruiting of the astronauts for the Mercury program, and concluding with Gordon Cooper's historic twenty-two orbit flight in 1963. Kaufman's masterful adaptation of Wolfe's book etches vivid portraits of the astronauts, especially the stoical whimsical Shepard (Scott Glenn) the affable: yet determined, Glenn (Ed Harris), the earthy direct Grissom (Fred Ward), and the cocky, but charming, Cooper (Dennis Quaid).

But the mythical and dynamic heart of the film is Sam Shepard's Chuck Yeager; lanky and laconic, he has the "rightest" stuff. Before his flight he encounters the Xl plane in the desert; horseman and machine survey each other warily, archetypal emblems of the old and the new American frontiers. "Heroism is something you do for others, but bravery is done alone, for yourself," Kaufman once said. Yeager and other test pilots like him dared to "push the outside of the envelope" first. They, and the women who supported them, made the astronauts' achievements possible.

Saturday Jan 23 1:15 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Sunday Jan 31 6:15 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II


— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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