Challenger (1990)





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Movie Info

Made for television, The Challenger is at once a tribute and a eulogy to the seven courageous souls who perished when the Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on January 28, 1986. Though all of the crew members are given three-dimensional, balanced treatment, the one we all remember is schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. As played by Karen Allen, McAuliffe is neither superwoman nor saint: just an average human being with an insatiable thirst to learn more about the universe around her. The other members of the ill-fated crew are Cmdr. Francis R. Scobee (Barry Bostwick), Captain Michael J. Smith (Brian Kerwin), Dr. Judith A. Resnik (Julie Fulton), Lt. Col. Ellison Onizuka (Keone Young), Dr. Ronald E. McNair (Joe Morton) and Gregory B. Jarvis (Richard Jenkins). Wisely, the film concentrates on the crew's training, ending before the tragic real-life denoument. Filmed on location at the Johnson Space Center, the 3-hour The Challenger was originally telecast February 25, 1990.
Drama , Television
Directed By:
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Angela Bassett
as Cheryl McNair
Joe Morton
as Doctor Ronald McNair
Karen Allen
as Christa McAuliffe
Peter Boyle
as Roger Boisjoly
Brian Kerwin
as Capt. Michael J. Smith
Barry Bostwick
as Francis Scobee
Richard Jenkins
as Gregory B. Jarvis
Lane Smith
as Larry Mulloy
James Black
as Robert Mayfield
Elizabeth Kemp
as Jane Smith
Keone Young
as Lt. Col. Ellison Onizuka
Raye Birk
as Joseph Kilminster
Kale Browne
as Steven McAuliffe
Jeanne Mori
as Lorna Onizuka
Julie Fulton
as Dr. Judith A. Resnik
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Critic Reviews for Challenger

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Audience Reviews for Challenger


The producers of made-for-TV "Challenger" had a tough problem: how do you make an engaging movie about a story that has no happy ending or silver lining? They largely succeed by focusing on the training and bonding of Challenger's crew. The movie gives a pretty good idea of an astronaut's personality and what goes into the training of an astronaut. The flying scenes are very captivating, but a lot of the acting (particularly Karen Allen) is uneven. The dialog, particularly in the scenes involving the engineers' sub-plot, is guilty of being written with heavy-handed 20/20 hindsight of what's going to happen. Still, the scene of the launch decision meeting is well-done in showing the way engineers and technical managers have to make important decisions.

Mark Soppet
Mark Soppet

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