What is the best documentary about the moon landings?
July 20, 2004 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Quite a few years ago someone told me about a film about the Apollo missions which I've always wanted to track down. Many superlatives were used to describe it, and from what I remember it sounded like it was made solely from archive footage of the events with no commentary. I've made periodic feeble attempts to locate it, but there are so many films and documentaries about the Apollo missions, and I don't know which one I'm looking for. So what is the definitive (non-fiction) film about the moon landings?
posted by gravelshoes to Education (7 answers total)
I bought it for my Dad for his birthday, I can't for the life of me remember the name of it, when we watched it together we were underwhelmed. The archival footage was grainy and low quality and very difficult to make out details.
posted by vito90 at 3:07 PM on July 20, 2004

I believe you're thinking of For All Mankind. I actually saw it in a theater when it first came out. Yes, it was entirely of archival footage--as I recall hearing, the producers realized that all the film footage was produced by a U.S. government agency, and thus in the public domain. And I'll echo all the other superlatives you've heard about it.

On preview: yes, I think the film quality was a bit on the grainy side. Actual 1960s/1970s film footage of the moon, and not a 2004-Hollywood-special-effects version of the moon--what do you expect?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:09 PM on July 20, 2004

With classic ambient soundtrack by Eno, I believe.
posted by carter at 3:31 PM on July 20, 2004

About two years ago, the IMAX company announced a long-term project to make a 3-D film in IMAX from the same source material. Looks like it's stil on.

I believe the idea is intended, partially, as a stunt to highlight the grain-suppression tech the company uses to bring 35mm features to the big, big, big screen.
posted by mwhybark at 3:34 PM on July 20, 2004

bingo! thanks all, and happy 35th anniversary.
posted by gravelshoes at 3:46 PM on July 20, 2004

If For All Mankind is the correct film, note that Criterion has released it on DVD.
posted by dobbs at 7:44 PM on July 20, 2004

Yup, For All Mankind is the one I'm thinking about...and of course I realize that footage in those days reflected the technology of the times, and no I wasn't expecting Hollywood style embellishments. I just didn't like the movie because the footage was low quality, and the movie was all about the footage.
posted by vito90 at 12:41 AM on July 21, 2004

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