Apollo 13

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 140 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 140

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User Reviews

  1. May 22, 2016
    10
    Apollo 13 is a truly masterpiece, because of it's cool mix of true history, serious work, suspense, gorgeous interpretation, intelligent direction and great story-telling. This fantastic film could become some kind of boring for the future audiences (and it is now), but it's not them fault. And that's why this film is the best of 1995.
  2. Mar 27, 2016
    7
    If Bob Dole and other industry critics want to continue attacking Hollywood, they’d better not see “Apollo 13.” With its rah-rah, gung-ho, can-do attitude and cast full of good-looking young white men in buzz cuts, this engrossing account of the nation’s most perilous moon shot embodies what many people consider to be old-fashioned American virtues in a virtually pristine state.If Bob Dole and other industry critics want to continue attacking Hollywood, they’d better not see “Apollo 13.” With its rah-rah, gung-ho, can-do attitude and cast full of good-looking young white men in buzz cuts, this engrossing account of the nation’s most perilous moon shot embodies what many people consider to be old-fashioned American virtues in a virtually pristine state. Sufficiently suspenseful despite its historically preordained happy ending,slightly overlong real-life thriller will appeal to mainstream audiences across the boards and land a commercial bull’s-eye for Universal.

    Scarcely embellishing the story of how three astronauts barely avoided becoming the first Americans to die in outer space, director Ron Howard and his team walk a narrative line that’s almost as narrow as the course of the mission itself. Pic’s exceedingly linear structure, while unavoidable, renders it rather methodical and shallow in characterization. There is also something of the sense of the film as a live-action storyboard, so highly developed is its sense of organization and calculated effect.

    Nevertheless, the film works in a primal way as the story of three brave explorers who manage to find a way home in the face of hazardous obstacles and heavy odds. The verisimilitude with which the mission has been visualized is impressive, and the positive, virtuous, “failure-is-not-an-option” posture of the characters has been adopted winningly by the entire cast and crew.

    Placing the opening scenes in a family context manages the twin feats of conveying some needed exposition and establishing the film’s wholesome credentials. A bunch of NASA personnel and their kin assemble to watch the dramatic moment on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. The host, family man Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), was aboard Apollo 8 when it passed just 60 nautical miles above the moon, and he’s only got to wait nine more months to get his chance to become the fifth man to set foot on the lunar surface.

    As the April 11, 1970, launch date approaches, command module pilot Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) is exposed to measles and has to be replaced by swinging bachelor Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon). But by the time they and lunar module pilot Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) blast off on their 600,000-mile trip, the public has come to regard moon missions as almost routine and worthy of only passing interest.

    Two-and-a-half days later, and 50 minutes into the picture, this attitude abruptly changes. During a routine “stirring” of the oxygen supply, an oxygen tank explodes, which quickly leads to three significant problems for the crew: a dissipating oxygen supply, reduced power on board and a filtering system on the blink, leaving the men susceptible to carbon dioxide poisoning.

    Through this critical portion of the six-day mission, events in Houston prove considerably more dramatic than goings-on in space, where the men shiver and await the fateful moment when they must attempt re-entry. A number of nicely individualized scientists and nerdy computer geniuses argue the merits of different courses of action, with Kranz making the ultimate decisions through a sort of consensus by decree. While chain-smoking flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) overseas the rescue operation, some of the key contributions are made by Mattingly.

    Physically, “Apollo 13” pulls off some stunners, notably the giant rocket launch, the separation of the boosters as the spaceship soars away from Earth, the views of the moon and scenes of weightlessness that were filmed aboard a high-flying Air Force plane that afforded the actors brief moments of zero gravity. Kudos to the special effects hands at Digital Domain, production designer Michael Corenblith, costume designer Rita Ryack and the army of technicians on board for an outstanding display of authenticity. Dean Cundey’s lensing works to seamlessly blend f/x work with normal scenes, but look of the images leans toward the grainy and soft.

    Casting Hanks as Lovell gives the film a human center, someone with whom the audience can easily feel at home, but his dramatic opportunities are more limited here than of late. His most powerful scene has him calming down his two partners when their dilemma threatens to get the better of them late in the journey.

    Bacon brings a colorful cockiness to the one “Top Gun”-style flyer in the bunch, while Paxton is obliged to suffer quietly with a high fever during much of the journey. Harris’ coiled tension provides a strong focus of attention in the control room, and Kathleen Quinlan gives depth of feeling and understanding to the necessarily compartmentalized role of Lovell’s omen-fearing wife.

    “Apollo 13” will inevitably be compared to the only previous large-scale film about the U.S. space program, 1983’s “The Right Stuff.” New effort is much more succinct and conventional in its aims and will no doubt play more successfully with the public.
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  3. Feb 18, 2016
    10
    Apollo 13 - In my opinion, one of the best sci fi films ever made. The intense scenes and great acting all make the 2 hours of film worth it to watch. Though it may get a tad boring and confusing at times, it still is a great piece of art from Ron Howard. I recommend this film. 10/10
  4. Feb 4, 2016
    9
    Lovable and enjoyable, Apollo 13 will keep all your eyes on the movie while grabbing popcorn and a seat. Come join the excitement Apollo 13 has got for you!
  5. Nov 29, 2015
    10
    Okay, I'm old; I was in college when this happened and I remember TYs set up around campus so we could keep up on the latest developments. But this movie goes in depth to show how it affected the people involved, not just the 3 astronauts, but their families and the ground crew trying to bring them back. You talk about making tough decisions where it's life and death. This includedOkay, I'm old; I was in college when this happened and I remember TYs set up around campus so we could keep up on the latest developments. But this movie goes in depth to show how it affected the people involved, not just the 3 astronauts, but their families and the ground crew trying to bring them back. You talk about making tough decisions where it's life and death. This included having the whole world watching. That's pressure. Who knew what the controllers and engineers at the Manned Flight Center were doing? I don't have many DVDs but this one is in my collection. Expand
  6. Jul 9, 2015
    9
    I just saw this film for the 1st time in a long time and I forgot how great it was. You really saw the terror in everyone's eyes and their emotions. It actually is one of the only movies that gets me choked up because I recognized the bravery the actual astronauts had to go through. Simply amazing. 9/10
  7. Mar 31, 2015
    8
    Dramatically stunning, and at times at the profound level, Apollo 13 is a magnificent retelling of the doomed Apollo space mission. It succeeds in fleshing out the heroism and determination in what is the quintessential modern story of mankind's greatest adventure and victory over adversity.
  8. Sep 22, 2014
    10
    from director Ron Howard ( Rush , DaVinci Code and the producer of Changeling ) which DaVinci code was good movie also as the over rated Changeling was good as well . Anyway the movie stars tom hanks as a space astronaut which sounds good and is awesome for the Acamedy Award Winner as his performance was sort of out breaking also tempting , danger thrill in space but it was cool in 3dfrom director Ron Howard ( Rush , DaVinci Code and the producer of Changeling ) which DaVinci code was good movie also as the over rated Changeling was good as well . Anyway the movie stars tom hanks as a space astronaut which sounds good and is awesome for the Acamedy Award Winner as his performance was sort of out breaking also tempting , danger thrill in space but it was cool in 3d great directing from Ron Howard . Grade A Expand
  9. Aug 24, 2014
    8
    Apollo 13 is a riveting experience about reaching to the edge of a dream and backing off for family. Extraordinary performances and score. If you are anyone who is anyone you have to see Apollo 13.
  10. Apr 17, 2014
    8
    Great acting as always from Tom Hanks, as well as good supporting turns from Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, and Ed Harris, as Apollo 13 manages to capture the suspense, excitement, and potential tragedy, that is packed into this true story. The film is certainly slow at points, but for me, throughout, I was very intrigued by the film. From when they were preparing to when things start goingGreat acting as always from Tom Hanks, as well as good supporting turns from Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, and Ed Harris, as Apollo 13 manages to capture the suspense, excitement, and potential tragedy, that is packed into this true story. The film is certainly slow at points, but for me, throughout, I was very intrigued by the film. From when they were preparing to when things start going wrong to the end, I was hooked. The film is never great, so to speak, but it was still very good and, while it needed no help in doing so, did a great job creating suspense when things went wrong, as well as sympathy for the families of the men aboard. The suspense is constant and really leaves you on the edge of your seat as you see the inner workings of the ordeal and it almost leaves you in tears as you watch their families deal with the ordeal back at home. Overall, a very enjoyable film that is not great, but is still very good. Expand
  11. Mar 3, 2014
    8
    The most astonishing thing about this movie is that it really happened! You can experience a precarious travel. It's sometimes a bit booring, but I can't complain about sth. else.
  12. Dec 19, 2012
    10
    One of the best movies I have ever seen. Wonderfully acted with a powerful story. Even though you know the ending, it still has you on the edge of your seat.
  13. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    A cast of remarkable actors do some of their absolute best in a story well crafted by the directorial expertise of Ron Howard. "Apollo 13" is a solid, rousing, and beautiful historical drama.
  14. Aug 26, 2012
    9
    Fantastic acting in a fantastic movie. This is one of Tom Hank's best films and is one of my personal favorites. The movie can get boring at times but overall its realistic, interesting, and well done.
  15. Nov 28, 2011
    8
    Great acting performances. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon were incredible. It's epic length must be considered. Although acted very well, it was boring at some times. Overall, I give it an 8. If it was cut down maybe to 120 minutes I might give it a 9. It's length is probably why I certainly agree with their choice of Braveheart as Best Picture winner.
  16. Sep 15, 2011
    7
    Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" may be boring as hell with some cheesy moments, but the realistic direction and the powerful lead by Tom Hanks makes this space movie a movie you must watch.
  17. Mar 2, 2011
    9
    Great acting, directing, dialogue. Very intense with the Apollo disaster and astronauts, interesting family problems and politics. A little slow at times but that really does not effect how good the movie is overall.
  18. Dec 21, 2010
    9
    Based on a very dramatic event that got the globe coming together at the time praying that the astronauts would be okay, Apollo 13's realistic story and strong performances made it not-better-but-as-good-as the real event. Apollo 13 was supposed to be the third shuttle to land on the moon but an oxygen tank exploded and the astronauts found themselves in a real situation. Going throughBased on a very dramatic event that got the globe coming together at the time praying that the astronauts would be okay, Apollo 13's realistic story and strong performances made it not-better-but-as-good-as the real event. Apollo 13 was supposed to be the third shuttle to land on the moon but an oxygen tank exploded and the astronauts found themselves in a real situation. Going through hell to get back to Earth, the guys finally made it and the world was happy. An interesting story but very simple. Thanks to writers William Broyles Jr. and Al Reinert, the story became a complex challenge of life or death situation. Also helped by strong performances particularly from Ed Harris and Kathleen Quinlan, Apollo 13 became an instant classic when it came out in 1994. Expand
  19. Dec 11, 2010
    10
    I did not like the movie one bit. First of all, most of the time it is just too obvious that this is a movie, the set looks way too artificial. Fake. Then, all the acting is too forced. Forced cool, forced dramatic, forced heavy, it is just too easy to see that these are actors acting. It is just never convincing. If every look, every word, and every movement wants to forcefully conveyI did not like the movie one bit. First of all, most of the time it is just too obvious that this is a movie, the set looks way too artificial. Fake. Then, all the acting is too forced. Forced cool, forced dramatic, forced heavy, it is just too easy to see that these are actors acting. It is just never convincing. If every look, every word, and every movement wants to forcefully convey significance, everything becomes just too much. That is what happened with this movie. Together with the ever dramatic soundtrack, it becomes unbearable to watch. In addition, how close is this to the truth, that two of the crew members so obviously do not trust the third crew member ?
    In all, there is no drama because every second is dramatic. No change in pace, no change in intensity. One you want to walk out of after 10 minutes.Quite a shame with that incredible cast.
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  20. PamL.
    May 20, 2006
    9
    This is one of my all-time favorite movies. Saw it in the theater with my then elementary school aged children; bought it when it first came out on VHS, and now own the DVD version. It's a wonderful, fact-based story that inspires by its focus on courage, perseverance, and teamwork. Have really enjoyed the DVD special features that include commentary by Jim and Marilyn Lovell.
  21. MatthewA.
    May 12, 2005
    9
    Great movie a classic cast. Makes six degrees of kevin bacon much easier.
  22. RyanS.
    Apr 13, 2005
    7
    A good film - worth watching. I wouldn
  23. JamesH.
    Apr 9, 2005
    10
    Outstanding re-creation of a real event. Ironically one of NASA's finest hours was a failed mission. This film captures those moments with incredible realism.
  24. PaulW.
    Apr 1, 2005
    10
    One of the best movies ever, everyone knows the ending but theres a tendency to forget because ur so emotionally drawn into the movie, its great!
  25. PatC.
    Dec 5, 2003
    8
    Fairly true-to-life account of the incident. No major flaws, but dwells a little too long on the waiting families - missed a great opportunity to exercise the power of understatement. Ed Harris's best work - a shame he didn't get supporting actor Oscar.
  26. Jeremy
    Sep 29, 2003
    8
    Although not quite on the level of All the President's Men, both pull off the near impossible feat of creating suspense in an event where we all know the outcome.
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. The direction may not be flashy, but it is controlled and confident; the frames unfold with a no-nonsense, nuts-and-bolts realism that, in this era of laser-blazing Batplanes, seems downright welcome.
  2. 100
    "The Right Stuff" will endure as the more ambitious movie, but this book-faithful, 2-hour team effort shrewdly keeps its eye on the ball.
  3. 78
    It's a riveting, nail-biting, two-buckets-of-popcorn return to form for Howard.