In the Shadow of the Moon

DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 40min

DIRECTED BY: David Sington

Moonstruck: Apollo 16’s John Young (in April 1972)

Even if you weren’t around when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969, you probably still know his first words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Was it ever. The US coup was real-life sci-fi: thrilling, astonishing and monumental.


Between 1968 and 1972, nine American spacecraft would make the lunar journey. As some of the men who flew those rockets reminisce to camera about the nuts and bolts of celestial navigation, it is clear their experiences are as vivid as ever, and why not? These guys were the ultimate explorers. They’re also chatty, funny and forthright, and the beauty of director David Sington’s treatment of them is the balance it strikes between the magnitude and the humanity of their achievements.

“There’s death right out there, about an inch away,” Apollo 12 ’s Alan Bean says frankly.


And so there is, along with a whole other life — captured with eerie, enthralling immediacy by remastered NASA archival footage — that most earthbound mortals will never be blessed to know.