The Last Man on the Moon
The 1960s was an extraordinary time for the United States. Unburdened by post-war reparations, Americans were preoccupied with other developments like NASA, the game-changing space programme that put Neil Armstrong on the moon. Yet it was astronauts like Eugene Cernan who paved the uneven, perilous path to lunar exploration. A test pilot who lived to court danger, he was recruited along with 14 other men in a secretive process that saw them become the closest of friends and adversaries. In this intensely competitive environment, Cernan was one of only three men who was sent twice to the moon, with his second trip also being NASA’s final lunar mission. As he looks back at what he loved and lost during the eight years in Houston, an incomparably eventful life emerges into view. Director Mark Craig crafts a quietly epic biography that combines the rare insight of the surviving former astronauts with archival footage and otherworldly moonscapes.
See more films
★★★★ review by Ghostsmut on Letterboxd
A really compelling documentary that opened my eyes to a lot of the Apollo programme.
★★★½ review by Matt Thomas on Letterboxd
A great story with a lovely, wise, reflective host. A superb way to look back on the Apollo missions, the scientific and technical achievements, and their legacy.
★★★★ review by Alex Hunt on Letterboxd
An insightful, scary and inspiring documentary on the up and downs of the lunar landings during the 60’s and 70’s. I recommend to anyone who is interested in space or space travel and exploration. A really human story.
★★★★★ review by Karl von Randow on Letterboxd
A beautiful documentary. I particularly enjoyed the seamless cutting between modern and historical footage. The film feels both personal, and epic.
Like all historical documentaries, I find myself wishing for provenance subtitles on every shot. Some clips were too beautiful to be historical; I'd like to know how they were created.
Well worth a watch. We're going to show it to the kids.
★★★½ review by Steven Sheehan on Letterboxd
An interesting look away from the usual glory stories of astronautical films. The format is very straight forward but is helped significantly by the presence of Gene Cernan who as the title indicates, was one of the last two men to step foot on the moon back in the early 70's. He is an engaging interviewee willing to discuss his own personality traits and the positive and negative effects they have had on his life. Just as important are the simple but very effective visual recreations of moments in the Apollo missions that aide Cernan's heartfelt recollections.
That said, there is plenty of genuine footage that offers a real insight into period. It is essentially a biog of Cernan's life from navy through NASA to the moon, told by the man himself, friends, family and colleagues. Of course we hear about the excitement and overwhelming experience of leaving the Earth through his three flights but also the sacrifices this selfish pursuit had on his first wife and daughter. There is a romance to exploration he refuses to relinquish along with an ego that continues to drive him into his 80's. The deaths of colleagues in training, fear of what lay ahead while awaiting lift-off and stepping out into the vastness of space while the Earth spins all around you are dangers rarely spoken about and expressed with real clarity by Cernan.
- See all reviews