Apollo 13 came out in 1995 and it is for me, the best movie Ron Howard ever directed. This film is about the failed 1970 3rd mission by NASA to land on the moon and when you see this movie and the amazing luck and genius it took NASA engineers to bring these 3 men back home, you realized for the first time after so many years that the odds were extremely high that all 3 men should have died in space or while burning up while re-entering the atmosphere.
This movie stars Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise and Ed Harris in what they all probably consider the favorite roles in their career. The special effects in this movie are spectacular, especially when the Saturn 5 Rocket takes off the beginning of the movie and the scenes of weightlessness throughout the film which was accomplished using something called the “Vomit Comet” which is an aircraft that NASA uses to simulate weightlessness, and as a result you can get very nauseous.
For me, the best part of this movie were the series of miracles that the NASA engineers had to pull off to save the lives of these 3 men. After the spaceship exploded mid-way through the trip to the moon, there were problems with the loss of oxygen, filtering the air of carbon dioxide, power supply issues, re-entry issues and using the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) as a lifeboat because all life support and power was lost on the main space capsule. Were it not for some luck and the genius of a group of very smart people at NASA, one of the worst tragedies in NASA history would have occurred and most likely all the astronauts would have been floating in space forever.
After this movie came out, Tom Hanks went on to make the great HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon” and he did the same thing after “Saving Private Ryan” with the HBO series “Band of Brothers”. Both of these mini-series for HBO were two of the best the Network ever produced.
If you have not see Apollo 13, it is a must see film about a very important incident in US History.