The Right Stuff


The Right Stuff

Critics Consensus

The Right Stuff packs a lot of movie into its hefty running time, spinning a colorful, fact-based story out of consistently engaging characters in the midst of epochal events.



Total Count: 48


Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,897
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The Right Stuff Photos

Movie Info

Covering some 15 years, this film recounts the formation of America's space program, concentrating on the original Mercury astronauts. The film relates the dangers and frustrations facing the astronauts, the various personal crises involving their families, and the schism between their squeaky-clean public image and their sometimes raunchy, earthbound shenanigans,

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Sam Shepard
as Chuck Yeager
Scott Glenn
as Alan Shepard
Ed Harris
as John Glenn
Dennis Quaid
as Gordon Cooper
Fred Ward
as Grissom
Charles Frank
as Carpenter
Scott Paulin
as Deke Slayton
Lance Henriksen
as Wally Schirra
Donald Moffat
as Lyndon B. Johnson
Levon Helm
as Jack Ridley
Mary Jo Deschanel
as Annie Glenn
Scott Wilson
as Scott Crossfield
Kathy Baker
as Louise Shepard
Mickey Crocker
as Marge Slayton
Susan Kase
as Rene Carpenter
Mittie Smith
as Jo Schirra
Royal Dano
as Minister
David Clennon
as Liaison Man
Jim Haynie
as Air Force Major
Jeff Goldblum
as recruiter
Harry Shearer
as recruiter
Scott Beach
as Chief Scientist
Jane Dornacker
as Nurse Murch
Anthony Munoz
as Gonzales
John P. Ryan
as Head of Program
Darryl Henriques
as Life Reporter
William Russ
as Slick Goodin
Edward Anhalt
as Grand Designer
Mary Apick
as Woman Reporter
Robert Beer
as Dwight D. Eisenhower
Erik Bergmann
as Eddie Hodges
Richard Duppell
as The Permanent Press Corp
William Hall
as The Permanent Press Corp
Maureen Coyne
as Waitress
Peggy David
as Sally Rand
John X. Heart
as The Permanent Press Corp
John Dehner
as Henry Luce
Ed Holmes
as The Permanent Press Corp
Bob Elross
as Review Board President
Robert J. Geary
as Game Show M.C.
David Gulpilil
as Aborigine
James Brady
as Aide to Lyndon B. Johnson
Anthony Wallace
as Australian Driver
Kaaren Lee
as Young Widow
Katherine Conklin
as Woman TV Rerporter
Tom Dahlgren
as Bell Aircraft Executive
O-Lan Jones
as Pretty Girl
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News & Interviews for The Right Stuff

Critic Reviews for The Right Stuff

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (1)

  • Philip Kaufman's 1983 film is an efficient and absorbing recapitulation of the main events of Tom Wolfe's book that still never succeeds in capturing the inner drives and ethics of the test pilots and astronauts - the "right stuff" never materializes.

    Feb 4, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Rarely has a film made a historic accomplishment seem so vivid and personal... It makes you wonder, quite suddenly, why there aren't more movies like this.

    Oct 22, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The Right Stuff is a spectacular celebration of those heroes of the skies -- those fly jocks who fought the demons of space to launch a new era in American air technology.

    Oct 22, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Kaufman has combined the resources and ingenuity of movie making with the freewheeling, damn-the-conventions style of of the New Journalism and come up with a generous, high-spirited look at the bravery and lunacy that was that era.

    Dec 9, 2016 | Full Review…
  • It means something to be a member of the brotherhood whose trials and accomplishments are celebrated so enjoyably in The Right Stuff.

    Dec 18, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Moviegoers seeking a grand yet edifying entertainment, right-stuffed with what Kaufman calls "seriousness of subject matter and a wild humor that comes out of left field," now know where to look...

    Oct 5, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Right Stuff

  • Jun 19, 2016
    Lots of people have chronicled great feats of human ingenuity but few (if any) have done so while consistently maintaining a satirical and borderline surreal tone. It's hard to imagine that Kaufman was allowed bizarre flights of fancy (the bumbling government agents played by Jeff Goldblum and Harry Shearer, the press corps played by an improvisational comedy troupe, etc.) in a movie that features Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier and John Glenn orbiting the earth.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 25, 2014
    Unlike the overkill in From the Earth to the Moon, the Right Stuff has it down to just the right lengthy length. Three hours is good for a voyage with these dynamic men who took great risks to travel into space.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 11, 2012
    The heroes walking under our noses may have been walking on the moon as well. A great history lesson for those jaded in the age of technology. (Gotta admit that "Apollo 13" is betther, though.)
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2012
    A bit of an interesting history lesson and character study about the beginnings of the American space program. Shepard is iconic as Chuck Yeager, Harris does justice as John Glenn, and Fred Ward lends pathos as Virgil Grissom. A feeling of cowboys looking for the next bronc to break pervades the work.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer

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