Airborne Cowboys Get Their Due: “The Right Stuff” (1983)

Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuff humanized the space race and the challenges of building a space program in an original way. It was a runaway bestseller and, since its dynamics were clearly cinematic, Hollywood came calling. Universal Studios wanted the rights in order to make an Airplane!-like farce. Thankfully, Philip Kaufmann secured the rights and went on to write and direct the film that won four Academy Awards and was nominated for seven others. The casting was inspired as well, as they found some Hollywood cowboys to play the space cowboys: Ed Harris, Sam Shepherd, Dennis Quaid, etc. Wired does it up right.

An Oral History of the Epic Space Film The Right Stuff, 11.19.14