Fifty-three years ago, mankind had reached space for the first time when Yuri Gagarin had made his flight and since about a decade, this event has been celebrated as Yuri’s Night all over the world. This post is the same as last year and I have already written another article on my other blog about the event, but for this occasion I’d also like to bring a little something together from my archives, because there are now quite a few English-language reviews. There is nothing specifically about Yuri Gagarin, but the movies and television series are covering the early years of spaceflight very well.
Documentaries and Dramatisations:
The Right Stuff » – The Mercury program, as told by Tom Wolfe (1959-1963)
From the Earth to the Moon » – Gemini & Apollo – the way to the Moon (1963-1972)
For All Mankind » – The Apollo Program in original footage & sound (1969-1972)
The Dish » – The moon landing from an Australia perspective (1969)
Apollo 13 » – Dramatisation of the near-catastrophy (1970)
Although I have never written about it before, I can also recommend the BBC four-part miniseries Space Race, an excellent docudrama about the beginnings of spaceflight from the perspectives of the rocket designers Sergei Korolev and Wernher von Braun. The series is available on DVD, but can also be found on Youtube.
More Fiction than Science:
Space Cowboys » – Clint Eastwood, the Space Shuttle and a broken Soviet satellite. A fond spaceflight comedy from the shuttle era.
And in closing another tip: First Orbit was made for the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagrin’s flight in 2011 with footage from the ISS, recreating his flight in space with amazing visuals and original sounds. The 99-minute movie can still be viewed on Youtube for free, but it is now also available on DVD and Blu-Ray.