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Countdown (1967)

Unrated | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | February 1968 (USA)
Desperate to reach the moon first, N.A.S.A. sends a man and shelter separately, one-way. He must find it to survive. He can't return until Apollo is ready.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Loring Mandel (screenplay), Hank Searls (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Caan ... Lee Stegler
Joanna Moore ... Mickey Stegler
Robert Duvall ... Chiz
Barbara Baxley ... Jean
Charles Aidman ... Gus
Steve Ihnat ... Ross Duellan
Michael Murphy ... Rick
Ted Knight ... Walter Larson
Stephen Coit ... Ehrman
John Rayner John Rayner ... Dunc
Charles Irving Charles Irving ... Seidel
Bobby Riha ... Stevie Stegler (as Bobby Riha Jr.)
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Storyline

When the U.S. learns the Soviets are about to launch a manned mission to the moon, they feel it imperative that they get there first. The moon program isn't ready to launch yet so they decide to send one man in a modified Gemini capsule that will be able to land on the moon. The astronaut will have to stay there for up to a year - in a special built shelter that will be sent ahead of time - until an Apollo mission can rescue him. The obvious choice for the mission is Chiz, who knows the Gemini inside out but the Soviets are sending civilians, not military men, so geologist Lee Stegler is asked to go. He has only three weeks however to learn about the intricacies of the spacecraft and no one is sure if he will make it. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the director of "The Player" and "Nashville" comes a screen space adventure that's the real stuff. See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Moonshot See more »

Filming Locations:

Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Executive Producer William Conrad supplied the television announcer's voice. See more »

Goofs

Stegler's helmet has no sun visor, which is critical in space. See more »

Quotes

Houston Captain Commander: [Opening lines] Apollo 3, Houston, do you read? Apollo 3, Houston, do you read?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Early Altman
7 July 2014 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

Desperate to reach the moon first, NASA sends a man (James Caan) and shelter separately, one-way. He must find it to survive; he cannot return until Apollo is ready.

This film has been heavily scrutinized for being boring, dated and any number of other things. Critic Howard Thompson calls the film a "limp space-flight drama" which "makes the moon seem just as dull as Mother Earth". Some of this might be fair, some might not. Director Robert Altman, who later went on to big things, got the job through Warner Brothers' B-movie producer William Conrad (1920-1994). So maybe we are wrong to expect too much. (Although it is great to see such early performances from Caan and Robert Duvall.)

Where the movie is and is not Altman's is unclear. The bulk is obviously his, but the story goes that Jack Warner (1892-1978) did not like Altman's use of overlapping dialogue, had him removed from the set, and Conrad shot some new footage. So how much did Altman get to edit into the final film?


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