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For All Mankind [Blu-ray]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Lovell, Kenneth Mattingly, Russell Schweickart, Eugene Cernan, Michael Collins
  • Directors: Al Reinert
  • Producers: Al Reinert, Ben Young Mason, Betsy Broyles Breier, David W. Leitner, Fred Miller
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: July 14 2009
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026VBOIS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,040 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

In July 1969, the space race ended when Apollo 11 fulfilled President Kennedy’s challenge of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” No one who witnessed the lunar landing will ever forget it. Al Reinert’s documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the Moon, told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences. Forty years later, it remains the most radical, visually dazzling work of cinema yet made about this earth-shaking event

A Special Message from Jonathon Turell, Criterion CEO

I was nine when the Apollo 11 Eagle landed on the moon. I remember vividly watching it on a small black-and-white TV at sleepaway camp that summer of 1969. I’ve been hooked on the space program ever since. Just about twenty years ago, a friend told me he had seen a rough cut of a new space movie and I should see it. I got a tape and watched For All Mankind for the first time. It was unlike anything I had seen before, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I met Al Reinert and we became friends. Janus Films helped to finish the film, and I became an associate producer as we completed the movie. For All Mankind was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary—losing out to Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt. It played festivals around the world. There was a special screening for NASA and the astronauts in Galveston, Texas, and the film showed at the Air and Space Museum at the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the moon landing.

We started working on the laserdisc release of For All Mankind before the film was complete, and I traveled to Houston to meet Al and interview Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean for inclusion on the disc. Bean’s comments were so good that Al recut the film to include a wonderful story about piloting the lunar module in orbit around moon. Meeting one of the astronauts who walked on the moon is still one of the greatest thrills of my life. Last year, when we began working on our Blu-ray release of For All Mankind, we got in touch with Bean again and asked him to participate. He happily agreed to update the feature on his paintings and also to sit down and talk with us about a subject I had become very interested in—science versus art. I wanted to explore the question of whether the astronauts (or the people at NASA) realized they were shooting some of the most artistic images ever recorded (and now some of the most famous) or if it was really all about moon rocks and beating the Russians. This second meeting with Bean didn’t disappoint; he says some wonderful things that are included on the disc. When we finished taping our interview session, he gave me a ride to lunch. The famous Apollo 12 Corvette is gone, replaced by a truck to carry his paintings, but that ten-minute ride will stay with me forever. He talked about walking on the moon; I talked about what movies I like. It didn’t seem quite parallel—for him it was an interesting conversation, for me, it was an audience with a hero.

Over the years, I think I’ve seen every film and TV miniseries about the Apollo program (at least twice), but for me For All Mankind still stands apart. It is unique in its poetic approach and ability to capture the pure emotion of the greatest journey of our time.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ted on May 1 2004
Format: DVD
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film is a documentary and is well compiled. Consisting almost entirely of stock footage of the missions, it has audio interviews with the astronauts and mission control technicians.
The film has a superb score by Brian Eno. One particular piece of music in the film, also heard on the main menu of the DVD has been resued for two other films: Traffic (2000) and 28 Days Later(2002).
Much of the footage taken in space is high resolution and very well preserved as it was stored at the NASA film archives in liquid nitrogen.
The special features on the DVD are audio commentary by the Director Al Reinart and Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan. There is subtitle identification of the astronauts and NASA employees when they appear on screen. There are Audio and Video highlights from several NASA missions. My favorite is the soundbyte of the apollo 8 astronauts when they gave a radio address by reading parts of the Bible on Christmas day.
There are also paintings by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean and interviews with him describing some of his paintings.
For anybody interested in the space program, this DVD is a musy buy!
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Format: DVD
What makes this a unique addition to the collection of the "space junkie" is that it is a nostalgic look at the Apollo space program. If you are looking for a documentary full of facts, then buy Nova's "To the Moon" or the Discovery Channel's "Blast Off." Deke Slayton's "Moonshot" is also another good documentary on the early space program.
What makes this unique is that it allows the knowledgable/obsessed Apollo fan the opportunity to look at these early images of Apollo (and Gemini) footage from the perspective of an artist. Though the film of Ed White's EVA has come under scrutiny due to the fact that it was before Apollo, yet the footage has been enhanced so that it looks sharper and clearer than the original. The footage that has been pieced together contains images that are obscure and commentary that is rare and personal, reflecting the personalities of the men who made these remarkable voyages. It is truly a delight to hear of Pete Conrad's explanation of why he made his "historic" first words when he became the third man on the moon, or to hear Charlie Duke sharing his dream that he had while on the lunar surface.
Al Reinhardt is a dramatic director, not a documentary director and this is evident in this work. Apollo buffs are probably aware that he directed two episodes for the HBO miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon," depicting the Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 missions. I believe that this is a must see series for the space enthusiast as well, for this miniseries depicts the Apollo program at its worst and best, the men and women who made it happen and does so in the best movie traditions.
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Format: DVD
This DVD is nearly twice as expensive as the outstanding "Nova-To The Moon" DVD, yet it falls far short of what a true documentary should be. My main complaint is the liberty Producer/Director Al Reinert takes editing video and especially audio into single sequences when they clearly come from multiple sources. The effect is jarring and unpleasant, in direct contrast to the new age musical noodling of Brian Eno.
Yes, the cinematography is great, but it is certainly no better than other commonly available documentaries, as it is after all almost 100 percent 30 year old NASA footage, which is largely common to all the available documentaries.
I do grasp the concept of artistic license, but my issue here is that Reinert takes license when there is nothing to be gained. The most obnoxious single moment for me is the Apollo 13 'Houston, We've had a problem..." audio, which has added sound effects not found in the original (common through the film) and edits bits of the Apollo 13 dialogue together with the Apollo 12 lightning strike problems during launch, which in his mind, I suppose added drama, but in my mind distorts the truth and fails to tell the story of either of the two emergencies well. When unnecessary compilation and editing like this continues through the film it makes for a very muddled, less factual, film that the materiel deserves.
Some reviewers have praised the film for conveying the 'feeling' of going to the moon well. I don't really dispute that, I just think that a documentary can be factually accurate and have information accurately presented (like in the Nova special) and still be captivating. In fact I think it would be more captivating.
The DVD does have some strong points, that are unique though.
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Format: DVD
I usually don't read other reviews when giving my own but decided to thumb through to make certain that I had not reviewed this before. But I noticed that people are dropping stars because they demand that the DVD be placed in chronological order. Or they insist that it not be a mixture of astronauts. Or they criticize the use of astronauts' voices or that they don't know who said what and babble on and on. The critics miss the point, which director Al Reinert addresses in the director's comments. Reinert's decision to mix and merge all the first generation astronaut came by his desire to use only the best footage of all of NASA's film archives. The only way to present them effectively is the way Reinert did, which made better sense than trying to place the footage in chronological order.
Reinert also wanted to use a generic approach instead of muddling everything up with astronaut identifications (which is actually an option in the subtitles) that might have turned 79 minutes of enjoyment into a technical approach that takes away from the FEELING of the race to the Moon. And all the astronauts, Reinert said, had no problem with that decision. There are enough documentaries and docudramas out there. In my opinion, the intent of this film was simply to place the majority of the world into the cockpit or LEM, buckle that seatbelt and enjoy the ride, since 99.99% or more of us don't have the opportunity to even ride supersonic, let alone even fly into space or even experience zero gravity.
The joy in watching FAM was in how Reinert simply found a way to let us feel the anticipation and drama of preparing for these trips "and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard," as President John F. Kennedy says in his Rice University speech.
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