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The Challenger Disaster (2013)

The Challenger (original title)
Factual drama exploring the truth behind the space shuttle Challenger's 1986 disintegration.


James Hawes


Kate Gartside
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Joanne Whalley ... Gweneth Feynman
William Hurt ... Richard Feynman
Bruce Greenwood ... General Kutyna
Brian Dennehy ... Rogers
Kevin McNally ... Mulloy
Langley Kirkwood ... Avionics Engineer
Eve Best ... Sally Ride
Nicholas Pauling ... Bill Graham
Henry Goodman ... Dr. Weiss
Meganne Young ... Michelle Feynman (as Megan Young)
Liesl Ahlers ... Hotel Receptionist
Sean Cameron Michael ... Judson Lovingood (as Sean C. Michael)
Nick Boraine ... SRB Engineer
Robert Hobbs ... Allan J Macdonald
Stevel Marc ... Taxi Driver


When Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds into its flight on the morning of 28 January 1986, it represented one of the most shocking events in the history of American spaceflight. A Presidential Commission was immediately convened to explore what had gone wrong, but with the vast complexity of the space shuttle and so many vested interests involved in the investigation, discovering the truth presented an almost impossible challenge. A truly independent member of the investigation was Richard Feynman. One of the most accomplished scientists of his generation, he worked on the Manhattan Project building the first atom bomb and won the Nobel Prize for his breakthroughs in quantum physics. Feynman deployed exceptional integrity, charm and relentless scientific logic to investigate the secrets of the Shuttle disaster and in doing so, helped make the US Space Programme safer. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | History


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

16 November 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

73 Seconds: The Challenger Investigation See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


William Hurt and Brian Dennehy share the screen again 30 years later after their partnership in Gorky Park (1983). See more »


After Feynman visits the Marshall factory, he records notes on an electronic typewriter. One note reads (electronically) "Cost versus reliability" which we then see printed as "Cost VS reliability". The typewriter would not abbreviate "versus", but would print verbatim off the screen. See more »


Richard Feynman: What is science? Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, in as much as anything can be known because nothing is known absolutely.
See more »


Follows Challenger (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Good Thriller with a Great Lead Performance
7 December 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Challenger Disaster (2013)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Made-for-TV drama based on the investigation by Dr. Richard Feynman (William Hurt) in regards to the Challenger disaster that took place on January 28, 1986. THE CHALLENGER DISASTER is about as good as a movie produced for television can get. It features an amazing performance by Hurt, a story that is quite gripping and it all plays out like a well structured thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat even if the findings of the report are all well-known by this point. What really shocked me about this film is simply how terrific Hurt is. Hurt, at one time, was considered to be one of the greatest actors working but things in his personal life pretty much took all the spotlight and the attention on his skill went away. Watching him perform here was simply amazing because he really does give one of the best performances of the year and if this thing had been made for the theater then an Oscar-nomination would be guaranteed. I thought the performance was downright flawless as this character was so well-rounded and detailed that the actor simply took everything and nailed it. Feynman was battling cancer while also having to deal with the pressure of this case and watching Hurt play both things was simply divine. The supporting players are also extremely good with Bruce Greenwood, Brian Dennehy and Joanne Whalley all delivering strong work. Director James Hawes does a very good job at keeping the viewer on the edge of their seats as he really turns this into a strong thriller. I liked the way that he managed to make you understand the need for certain people to cover up what really happened and I think the film is fair in showing why many feared that the truth might lead to no more space missions. The entire film treats everyone with the highest amount of respect, which makes for a much better movie. THE CHALLENGER DISASTER is without question a highly entertaining film and it contains one of the best performances that you're going to see.

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