6.0/10
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28 user 19 critic

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:

The motion picture that puts a man on the moon ... and you will follow him every terrifying second of the way ... 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

The Pilgrim spacecraft is a ludicrous hybrid of the entire Gemini spacecraft grafted onto the descent stage of an Apollo lunar module. Such a thing was beyond impossible. There was a lunar Gemini program, the so-called "Big Gemini" which would have featured crew space for as many as 12 astronauts, but this never got past the concept stage and did not include a lunar lander. The model shown in the film has been assembled from plastic model kits of Gemini and Apollo available off the shelf in suburban stores during the late 1960s. See more »

Goofs

In scene of Lee's walk on the moon just before finding the shelter, desert plants are clearly visible in the background casting shadows. See more »

Quotes

Chiz: Lee's been keeping up a running commentary ever since insertion. They've been trying to get him to nap - he won't.
Mickey Stegler: He never was much of a napper.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Altman (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A solid, if not personal, first feature for Altman
7 August 2010 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

Mostly good, solid, well acted (especially by Robert Duvall and James Caan) story of behind the scenes politics among astronauts as we raced Russia towards the moon in the late 1960s.

Gets a little soapy at times, some of the politics and science seem a little cheated, and key incidents are convenient and co-incidental. Production values, especially the special effects, are pretty weak. And Caan's astronaut is a little too open with his fears to be believed as a man of his position at that moment in history.

On the other hand it's impressive that in 1969 someone made a space movie focusing on complex emotions and human behavior, not technology. The climax is a bit 'Hollywood', although at least a little more bittersweet than usual, if predictable (and a cheat). The small roles are well cast and played. Not really recognizably an Altman film, but certainly shows talent and is worth seeing.


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