In the 1960s, US President John F Kennedy proposed landing a man on the moon before the decade was finished. This film has interviews with most of the surviving astronauts of the Apollo program who were making ready to make that great voyage with an army of experts determined to make the endeavor possible. Through training, tragedy and triumph, we follow the greatest moments of one of Humanity's great achievements.

1 Jan 2009 - 12:00 AM  UPDATED 19 Nov 2021 - 5:00 PM
This is a gripping, beautifully made film on a vital through-line in America’s modern history.

There have been countless documentaries covering the birth of space exploration in the 1960s, chronicling the race to the moon and the Cold War paranoia that pervaded the era. Few, however, have had the unprecedented access to such a vast wealth of previously unseen archival footage as In The Shadow Of The Moon. As the only human beings to have ever walked on an alien world, the men of the Apollo moon missions have been given the opportunity to recount their personal experiences as interstellar travellers, and the result is a compelling blow-by-blow of the Apollo missions.

Executive produced by Ron Howard and directed by British filmmaker David Sington, the production was no doubt aided by Howard’s close relationship with the US government, forged during the production of his film Apollo 13, which canonised that fateful mission and reminded the movie-going public (at least those who don’t believe it was all faked in a Nevada desert aircraft hangar) of the necessity of NASA and the inspirational value of looking towards space for our future.

In The Shadow Of The Moon is narrated by the astronauts themselves, and their candid stories are well served by the breathtaking images of the Apollo rocket launches and the ethereal beauty of the stark lunar landscapes. The only disappointment is the lack of participation by the central figure in the moon landing: Neil Armstrong. A staunchly private individual, Armstrong’s hesitancy in stepping into the limelight is the result of his reluctant appointment to the status of legend within western culture, and his inevitable discomfort at being afforded such standing only reinforces the intrinsic humility and courage of that generation of great explorers.

Despite the absence of central figure (and now practical recluse) Neil Armstrong, this is a gripping, beautifully made film on a vital through-line in America’s modern history.

Filmink 4/5


Watch 'In the Shadow of the Moon'

Saturday 27 November, 3:50pm on SBS On Demand / Streaming after at SBS On Demand

USA, 2007
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: David Sington

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