10 Things You Didn’t Know about “Apollo 13”

Apollo 13 was the cinematic version of the very real disaster that occurred between April 11th and April 17th in 1970. Three astronauts, Jim Lovell Jr., John Swigert Jr., and Fred Haise Jr. launched from the Kennedy Space Center on what was meant to be the third mission to the moon. Unfortunately during the flight one of the oxygen tanks exploded and crippled the craft, forcing the men to turn around and head on home. The disastrous explosion however and its resulting trickle down effect caused many of the systems on the shuttle to malfunction and created a serious dilemma for the three men and the people on the ground that were trying to keep them alive.

Like any movie based on a true story you can guess correctly that many people wanted to nitpick and point out inaccuracies. It was a movie, of course there are going to be moments that don’t add up.

10. Tom Hanks stayed very true to the mannerisms of the real Jim Lovell.

Lovell’s wife Marilyn took note that Hanks did a particularly good job of keeping to the mannerisms and characteristics of her husband.

9. The iconic line was actually said by two of the astronauts. 

John Swigert said it first apparently but it came out garbled so what history now remembers is Jim Lovell saying “Ahh, Houston we’ve had a problem.”

8. This is Ron Howard’s favorite film of his own.

Out of all the films he’s made this is his favorite, so it tells you that he had some emotional attachment to this one.

7. It became popular because the main characters didn’t realize their dream.

Think about it, most films end with the protagonists doing something amazing and completely out of left field to attain their dream. This time the mere act of surviving clung to the real history and became the more important achievement.

6. Ed Harris was inspired by a documentary he saw of Gene Kranz.

There was such a great amount of emotion shown by Kranz that Harris thought it was simply overwhelming and did his best to emulate it.

5. Brad Pitt turned down an offer to star in this film.

Instead he went on to star in Se7en, which was probably the best move since he played a great part in the movie.

4. The real Gene Kranz used a line that was written for Ed Harris.

When Harris says “Failure is not an option!” this was a line scripted for the movie, Kranz never said it but would add it to his autobiography.

3. One line in the movie was made famous by the Apollo 7 crew.

“I vonder vere Guenter vent?” was popularized by the Apollo 7 crew shortly after Guenter Wendt, the pad leader sealed the crew in and left them before launch.

2. The space suits were $30,000 apiece.

You can just imagine that these were under lock and key so that they didn’t happen to ‘walk off’ the set at any time.

1. A comment card from the test screening of the film stated that this was a typical Hollywood ending. 

The comment went to state that the astronauts wouldn’t have survived the ordeal. I get the feeling that this person doesn’t study history all that much, or understand what a typical Hollywood ending really is.

What could have been a tragedy did turn into something positive at least as the three astronauts were returned home.

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