“Apollo 13” is a 1995 American docudrama film that dramatized the true story of the 1970 Apollo 13, the third lunar landing mission in the Apollo program (the human spaceflight program by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration), and its oxygen tank explosion.
It is based on the non-fiction “Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13” (1994) by astronaut and Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell and journalist Jeffrey Kluger. Directed by Ron Howard. 140 minutes.
In 1969, three American astronauts had trained as the crew of the Apollo 13 for the third lunar landing in history: commander Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), and Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise). Lovell had orbited the moon as Command Module Pilot of the Apollo 8 in 1968.
However, a few days before launch, Mattingly is removed from the mission, and is replaced by the backup CM pilot Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) because one of the backup crew has the rubella, and Mattingly has no immunity to it.
On April 11, 1970, the Apollo 13 was launched with the Saturn V rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. Apollo 13 almost reaches the moon, but the three astronauts face a crisis of life, and the mission of lunar landing is forced to be aborted because a liquid oxygen tank in the service module explodes, and it causes a severe shortage of oxygen, water and electricity.
In Houston’s Mission Control Center, Flight Director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) rallies his team to come up with a plan to bring the three men home safely. The team members, including EECOM (Electrical, Environmental and Consumables Manager) John Aaron (Loren Dean) and Ken Mattingly, combine their wisdom to come up with the rescue plan.
Though the film includes some factually inaccurate episodes, it faithfully reproduced the accident that actually happened in space, focusing on the technical aspects, so it is worth seeing as a realistic and suspenseful survival film.
In the 68th Academy Awards (1996), the film won the awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.