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For All Mankind

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Director  Al Reinert
Music director  Brian Eno
Country  United States
8.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Documentary, History
Language  English
For All Mankind movie poster

Release date  November 1, 1989 (1989-11-01) (U.S.)
Awards  Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize - U.S. Documentary
Cast  Jim Lovell (Jim Lovell), Russell Schweickart (Russell Schweickart), Eugene Cernan (Eugene Cernan), Michael Collins (Michael Collins), Charles Conrad (Charles Conrad), Richard Gordon (Richard Gordon)
Similar movies  Interstellar, The Martian, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Independence Day
Tagline  A Film by Al Reinert

For All Mankind is a 1989 documentary film documenting the Apollo missions of NASA. It was directed by Al Reinert with music by Brian Eno.


For All Mankind movie scenes

The film provides 80 minutes of real NASA footage, mostly taken on the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s. The focus of the documentary is on the human views of the space flights, and the original mission footage is provided along with the voices of the astronauts, from interviews and from the actual mission recordings. Among those providing narration are Jim Lovell, Michael Collins, Charles Conrad, Jack Swigert, and Ken Mattingly. The film concentrates on the beauty of the Earth as seen from space.

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For All Mankind was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1990.

The title comes from President John F. Kennedy's Address to Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort, September 12, 1962, but is slightly altered from "for all people" to "for all mankind":

"The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join it or not, and it is one of the greatest adventures of all time... We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for all people... We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard...".

The phrase was altered in the film's audio of Kennedy's speech as well. The director dubbed in "mankind" from a different Kennedy clip.

For all mankind by al reinert 1989 music brian eno

Specific Views

Several unusual or memorable views are included:-

  • The fires of the Bedouin tribes in the Sahara desert, seen as dots of light in the extreme darkness.
  • Sunrise over the edge of the earth.
  • A space-walk floating in silence over the earth, despite travelling at 25,000 miles per hour.
  • A floating tape recorder providing music to the astronauts during periods of weightlessness... in particular when playing the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The first picture of the earth seen as a whole circle from a live television transmission... a blue planet "floating in a blackness beyond perception".
  • Trying to prevent food from floating off during meals.
  • The first close-up pictures of the moon.
  • Travelling around the far side of the moon, including the "earth-rise" as our planet came back into view.
  • The lunar module calmly drifting down at a low angle to the surface of the moon, then burning its engines for a more vertical landing.
  • Touchdown in the Sea of Tranquility: "The Eagle has landed."
  • The first footstep onto the moon by Neil Armstrong.
  • Dropping a feather and a hammer together to prove Galileo correct, that both hit the ground together if there is no atmosphere.
  • Erecting the Stars and Stripes on the surface of the moon.
  • Gathering rocks and soil samples from the surface of the moon.
  • An astronaut tripping and speculating on his vulnerability should the suit be ruptured.
  • Source material

    In the DVD commentary, Reinert explains that he made the film after learning that huge amounts of footage shot by astronauts had been archived by NASA without ever being seen by the public. Al Reinert and editor Susan Korda sifted through six million feet of film footage, and 80 hours of NASA interviews to create the documentary.

    Reinert also explains that although the documentary purports to show a single moon mission, it is in fact a collage of footage from all six successful Apollo lunar landing missions. Furthermore, some images are presented out of context: the images of rocket stage separation are test footage shot during earlier missions; a shot used to represent Trans Lunar Injection is in fact footage of a Gemini mission re-entry; and some images of a spacewalk are from an earlier Gemini mission, not Apollo.


    For All Mankind has been released by The Criterion Collection on a Region 1 DVD-video disc and on a Blu-ray Disc. The title features a commentary track by director Al Reinert and Eugene A. Cernan, commander of Apollo 17. The Blu-ray Disc version also has "behind the scenes" footage, explaining the artistic concept and how original NASA footage was being selected for the film.

    The title has two subtitle tracks. The first shows the name of a mission and the name of a person shown on the screen. The second subtitle track contains traditional subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, specifying the name of the person doing the narration.

    The film's score, originally composed in 1983 by Brian Eno, was released as an album entitled Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. By the time of the film's release in 1989, some of the album tracks had been replaced by other pieces by Eno and other artists. These additional tracks can be found on the album Music for Films III.


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