Sunday, August 23, 2009


In tribute to one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13, I thought I would highlight some of the things that make the 1996 film one of my all-time favorites. Apollo 13 was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and won two in the categories of Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. One of the nominations was for Best Original Score stemming from the brilliant film composer James Horner. Surely many of you heard his masterful work as a musician in the the highest grossing film of all-time, Avatar.

Of course Apollo 13 has the elite acting talents of Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise, and Bill Paxton. On top of that you can add in the talents of Ron Howard as a filmmaker. some quotes that mean a lot to the film. Besides the most famous "Houston, we have a problem," this movie is filled with memorable quotes to inspire goosebumps in viewers.

One of my favorite parts is when Jim Lovell's family is circled around the television watching the updates on their stranded father in outer space. The eldest daughter Susan's face is contorted with the horror of what could happen to her father. Jim's mother Blanche offers some words of comfort.

Blanche: Are you scared?

Susan: (nods)

Blanche: Don't you worry. If they could get a washing machine to fly, my Jimmy could land it.

Ed Harris plays arguably his best role ever as Gene Kranz the Flight Director of Apollo 13. His dialogue is extremely important as he leads the team of NASA scientists as they try to bring the 3 astronauts back to Earth. During a meeting, the scientists give Gene some dire news. The ship is losing power and the scientists have to figure out how to use every ounce of power to get the stranded men home.

Gene: Now, in the meantime we're going to have a frozen Command Module up there. In a couple of days we are going to have to power it up with nothing but the re-entry batteries.

Scientist: Never been tried before. We've never even simulated it before Gene.

Gene: Well, we are going to have to figure it out. I want people in our simulators working re-entry scenarios. I want you guys to find every engineer who designed every switch, every circuit, every transistor, and every light bulb that's up there. Then I want you to talk to the guy on the assembly line who actually built the thing. Find out how to squeeze every amp out both of these god damn machines. I want this mark all the way back to Earth with time to spare. We've never lost an American in space. We're sure as hell not going to lose one on my watch. Failure is not an option!

This next quote is one of my personal favorites from any movie because of how powerful it is. Gene is trying to get his team to work out the re-entry plan for the astronauts as they approach Earth. Without the power up procedures the astronauts will be scorched by the Earth's atmosphere. I would not mess with Gene....

Gene: I want whatever you guys got on these power up procedures.

Deke: Gene, they're already on...

Gene: Now I don't want the whole damn Bible, just give me a couple of chapters, we've got to get something up to these guys.

Deke: They're working on it now.

Scientist: I'll call over to the simulator and get an estimate...

Gene: GOD DAMMIT!! I don't want another estimate, I want the procedures...NOW!

The last quote I want to highlight also comes from Gene. With the spaceship approaching Earth the Director of NASA is discussing the problems with the NASA media consultant. Gene's retort is truly inspiring.

NASA Director: This could be the worst disaster NASA's ever faced.

Gene: With all due respect sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.


Share Your Thoughts Through Your Facebook Account