The Right Stuff

Synopsis: Tom Wolfe's book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once.
Director(s): Philip Kaufman
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  Won 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 15 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
193 min

There was a demon that lived in the air.

They said whoever challenged him

would die.

Their controls would freeze up.

Their planes would buffet wildly...

and they would disintegrate.

The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter...

750 miles an hour...

where the air could no longer

move out of the way.

He lived behind a barrier through which

they said no man could ever pass.

They called it the sound barrier.

Then they built a small plane...

the X-1, to try and break the sound barrier.

And men came to the high desert

of California to ride it.

They were called test pilots...

and no one knew their names.

Okay, Whiskey Kilo 28, prepare to drop.

Roger, Ground Control.

This is Whiskey Kilo 28...

lowering and launching... now.




Hit a mild buffet there.






WK 28, do you want to declare

an emergency?

Negative. WK 28 is not...

Go away.

I was looking at the pictures on your wall.

How come a fancy pilot...

like Slick there,

doesn't have his picture up there?

What do you have to do

to get your picture up there?

You have to die, sweetie.

Well, Yeager, you old bastard.

Don't just stand in the doorway

like some lonesome sheepherder.

Get your ass over here and have a drink.

I got you something.

Come here.

You could be the first.

The man who breaks the sound barrier

will be on top.

You'd be the one they remembered.

You're the best civilian pilot around.

Good afternoon.

You get that helmet?

It might work.

I'll look like the Galloping Ghost in it.

Some people say the sound barrier

can't be broke.

An engineer will tell you it's an absolute...

like the firmness of the earth.

The sound barrier is a farm

you can buy in the sky.

The controls will freeze up.

You can't budge the stick.

Anybody tries to break it will auger in.

Well now, maybe it can't be broke.

Then again...

maybe it can.

Maybe it can only be broke

for a specified sum.

How much?


Come on, Slick, give us a break.

Non-negotiable, as usual.

What do we do now?

That guy in the corner...

Yeager is his name.

He's some kind of a war hero.

Shot down five Germans in one day.

He's a natural-born stick-and-rudder man.

He's press-liaison man for the Air Force,

I think.

Any problems with him?

- Only one.

- What's that?

Holding him back.


- Hey there, Yeager.

- Sir.

We were just talking to Slick

about the sound barrier.

Is that right?

We feel that the X-1

is ready to have a go at it.

We think the X-1's got the answer

to go beyond Mach 1.

If there is any beyond.

So, what do you think?

I'll tell you. Half these engineers

have never been off the ground.

They might tell you that

the sound barrier's a brick wall.

It'll rip your ears off

if you try to go through it.

If you ask me,

I don't believe the damn thing even exists.

Waitress, a drink for Mr. Yeager.

No, thanks, I got one.

So, do you think

you want to have a go at it?

I might.

But since, as you say,

this sound barrier doesn't really exist...

how much...

How much you got?

Just joking.

The Air Force is already paying me. Right?

- Why sure, Yeager...

- So when do we go?

How about tomorrow morning?

I'll be there.

See you there.

How much are you paying him?

I think it's $283.

A week?

A month.

Well, that's not bad.

First fellow to break the sound barrier...

gets a free steak with all the trimmings.

I'll have mine medium rare, please.

Honey, you ever been caught

on the desert alone?

I never have.

I don't think I ever will.

Never met the man

who could catch me out there.

I'm half jackrabbit.

Forget it, flyboy.

You'd never catch me.

I believe I will.

Can't be done.

Could I ask you something?

Forget it, sweetie.

She's his wife.

Come on, baby.

Yeah! Come on. Go, go.

Glennis! I'm gonna get you!

Come back here!

Can't hide from me!

- 'Morning, tiger.

- What have you two been up to?

Where's Ridley?

Over there waiting on you.

Can I talk to you?

I got a little problem.

A horse threw me last night

and I dinged up my goddamn ribs.

How bad?

I feel like I broke a couple

of the sons of b*tches.

I won't be able to lean over

to shut the door. Got any ideas?

Your left side okay?

I don't want these guys to know

because they'll find somebody else to fly.

- I'll try to fix you a handle.

- Thanks, man.

Can you help me out?

I got a small emergency.

I need to borrow your broom handle.

Just hold this right here.

I think that'll work.

Thank you, sir.

Punch a hole in the sky.

I'll be right back.

- 'Morning!

- Good morning, sir.

How are you feeling?

Oh, just about right.

There she is, partner.

All bridled, saddled and ready to go.

You got any Beemans?

Yeah, I got a stick.

Loan me some. I'll pay you back later.

Fair enough.

Hey, look.

Stick this in the handle.

Take your good arm and just whang it.

Okay, thanks, buddy.

Pre-drop checklist complete.

Ten, nine...


There you go, buddy.

Put your spurs to her, Chuck.




Hit a mild buffet there.

Just the usual instability.

Ridley, make a note here,

would you, if you got...

nothing better to do.

Elevator effectiveness regained.



More buffeting.

More commotion.

Getting wobbly here.


She's getting real active.


What's that sound?

He bought the farm.

That's it. We're back to square one.

Wait a minute.

Ridley, make another note, would you?

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Philip Kaufman

Philip Kaufman (born October 23, 1936) is an American film director and screenwriter who has directed fifteen films over a career spanning more than five decades. He has been described as a "maverick" and an "iconoclast," notable for his versatility and independence. He is considered an "auteur", whose films have always expressed his personal vision.His choice of topics has been eclectic and sometimes controversial, having adapted novels with diverse themes and stories. Kaufman's works have included genres such as realism, horror, fantasy, erotica, Westerns, underworld crime, and inner city gangs. Examples are Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Michael Crichton's Rising Sun (1993), a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), and the erotic writings of Anaïs Nin's Henry & June. His film The Wanderers (1979) has achieved cult status. But his greatest success was Tom Wolfe's true-life The Right Stuff, which received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. According to film historian Annette Insdorf, "no other living American director has so consistently and successfully made movies for adults, tackling sensuality, artistic creation, and manipulation by authorities." Other critics note that Kaufman's films are "strong on mood and atmosphere," with powerful cinematography and a "lyrical, poetic style" to portray different historic periods. His later films have a somewhat European style, but the stories always "stress individualism and integrity, and are clearly American." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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