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Countdown (1968 film)

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Language  English
6/10 IMDb

Director  Robert Altman
Country  United States
Countdown (1968 film) movie poster
Release date  February 1968 (1968-02)
Based on  The Pilgrim Project  by Hank Searls
Writer  Loring Mandel (screenplay), Hank Searls (novel)
Tagline  The motion picture that puts a man on the moon and you follow him every terrifying second of the way.

Countdown 1967 official trailer james caan robert altman movie hd

Countdown is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Robert Altman, based on the novel The Pilgrim Project by Hank Searls. It stars James Caan and Robert Duvall as astronauts vying to be the first American to walk on the Moon as part of a crash program to beat the Soviet Union.


Countdown (1968 film) movie scenes

Countdown 1967 trailer


Countdown (1968 film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters354p354pv

In the late 1960s, astronauts training in an Apollo simulator have their session ended early. They grumble about it, but their commander, Chiz (Robert Duvall), knows the reason for the abort: the Pilgrim Program. The Russians will be sending a moon landing mission up in four weeks. The Americans had a secret alternate plan to the Apollo program (Pilgrim) in case this happened. One man would be sent to the moon in a one-way rocket, a modified Project Gemini craft. He would stay on the moon for a few months in a shelter pod launched and landed before him. Later, a manned Apollo mission would come to retrieve him.

Countdown (1968 film) Surrender to the Void Countdown 1968 film

The equipment is ready, but the Russians complicate matters by sending up a civilian. Chiz, although trained and qualified, is an Air Force colonel. NASA and the White House insist that an American civilian be their first man on the moon. Lee (James Caan), one of Chiz's crew, is tapped. Chiz is outraged, but agrees to train Lee in the few days they have. Chiz pushes Lee's training hard, half to get him ready, half hoping he will drop out and Chiz can step in. Lee persists, driven by the same astronaut dream.

Countdown (1968 film) Countdown 1968 Original British Quad Movie Poster James Caan

After a press leak about Pilgrim, the Russians launch a week early. Deflated at not being first, everyone carries on. The shelter pod (a LEM lander) is launched and landed successfully. Lee is launched on schedule. He encounters a power drain malfunction en route which tests his character and hinders radio contact. The Russians have also lost contact with their team. As Lee orbits the moon, he does not see the beacon of the shelter. With only seconds left before he must abort and return to Earth, he lies about seeing it. Mission Control okays his retro burn and he lands. Now all radio contact is lost. Lee gets out of the Gemini lander and walks around with three hours of oxygen in his suit. He finds the crashed Russian lander on its side, the three dead cosmonauts sprawled around it.

Countdown (1968 film) Countdown 1968 Hollywood Movie Watch Online Filmlinks4uis

Everyone on Earth is nervously awaiting news, but none comes. Lee takes the Soviet flag from a dead cosmonaut and lays out the Soviet flag on a nearby rock with his own American flag. With little air left and nowhere to go, Lee spins the toy mouse his son gave him. It points right, so he walks in that direction. People on Earth are losing hope as his time has run out. Lee looks at his watch to see that he has just minutes of air left. A red glow on his arm catches his attention. It is the locator beacon atop the shelter. Lee is last seen walking towards the shelter and survives.


Countdown (1968 film) Say Hello Spaceman Countdown 1968
  • James Caan as Lee Stegler
  • Joanna Cook Moore as Mickey Stegler (as Joanna Moore)
  • Robert Duvall as Chiz
  • Barbara Baxley as Jean
  • Charles Aidman as Gus
  • Steve Ihnat as Ross Duellan
  • Michael Murphy as Rick
  • Ted Knight as Walter Larson
  • Stephen Coit as Ehrman
  • John Rayner as Dunc
  • Charles Irving as Seidel
  • Bobby Riha as Stevie Stegler
  • Production

    Countdown (1968 film) 10 Robert Altman Films You May Not Know IndieWire

    Countdown benefited from the cooperation of NASA, lending facilities to enhance the production. Altman was fired as director of the film for delivering footage that featured actors talking over each other. While this went on to be a signature invention of Altman, it was so new that studio executives considered it incompetence rather than an attempt to make scenes more realistic. In the documentary "Altman," the director explains that he was "just trying to get the illusion of reality" but that he was fired for "overlapping dialogue."


    In a May 1968 review for The New York Times, critic Howard Thompson calls the film a "limp space-flight drama" which "makes the moon seem just as dull as Mother Earth". A February 1985 review in Malaysia's New Straits Times calls Countdown "dated" and complains that the characters have "no depth or direction". In a June 1995 story on the history of spaceflight movies, Thomas Mallon appreciates that the film "highlights the space program's early can-do ethos" but calls it a "little movie" with "few touches of Mr. Altman's later cynical wit" and "somehow not terribly suspenseful".

    Other media

    A comic book adaptation of the film was published by Dell Comics in October 1967.


    Countdown (1968 film) Wikipedia
    Countdown (1968 film) IMDb Countdown (1968 film)