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Destination Moon

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Warner Anderson, John Archer. One of the earliest sci-fi films about the first moon expedition and the terrors of outer space. This Oscar-winning tale follows the meticulous detail of plotting a moon-bound expedition and was co-written by Robert A. Heinlein. 1950/color/91 min/NR/fullscreen.

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When production on Destination Moon began in 1949, everything about the project was state of the art. The great science fiction author Robert Heinlein cowrote the script (based on his novel Rocketship Galileo) and served as technical advisor. The film's astronomical visions were realized by Chesley Bonestell, whose artwork virtually defined the look of space travel at the dawn of the rocket era. Destination Moon is even noted in NASA's official timeline of space-travel history, and almost inevitably won the Academy Award for Best Special Effects. It remains a milestone film, not so much as classic science fiction but--like 2001: A Space Odyssey 18 years later--as an attempt to visualize the reality of space exploration. (To educate the audience on this topic, Woody Woodpecker makes an animated guest appearance, hosting an instructional film on the basics of rocketeering.)

The movie now seems quaintly nostalgic, and its depiction of man's first lunar landing is inaccurate on several details. Taken in context, however, it remains impressively authentic, and conveys the same charm and wonder of the later classic Forbidden Planet. The motivation for the lunar conquest remains military: the country that controls the moon will control the Earth, and cold war paranoia fuels the mission of the rocket ship Luna, which blasts off from the Mojave desert carrying four daring astronauts.

The stalwart crew consists of noted scientists and engineers, but Everyman Joe Sweeney (Dick Wesson) is aboard for broad audience appeal; he's the kind of Bronx-born guy who pronounces "Earth" as "oith" and complains that the moon has "no beer, no babes, no baseball." But when a payload crisis threatens the crew's safe return to Earth, Joe rises to the occasion. It's all a bit goofy now, but Destination Moon is still a wonderful movie, bursting with the awe and enthusiasm that would eventually lead to "one giant leap for mankind." --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • Liner notes by science fiction film historian Tom Weaver

Product Details

  • Actors: John Archer, Warner Anderson, Tom Powers, Dick Wesson, Erin O'Brien-Moore
  • Directors: Irving Pichel
  • Writers: Alford Van Ronkel, James O'Hanlon, Robert A. Heinlein
  • Producers: George Pal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 29, 2000
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305761078
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,333 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Destination Moon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 177 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris on June 9, 2001
Format: DVD
George Pal's "Destination Moon" is a CLASSIC Science Fiction Movie of the 1950's. I recommend it to everyone. HOWEVER be aware that the DVD edition is made from an EXTREMELY POOR QUALITY print. Its scratchy, its noisy in places and scenes are shortened by a few seconds where broken film has been joined etc. etc. etc. (Its painful to watch sometimes). Come on the guys at IMAGE Entertainment; if your going to put out a DVD of a movie like this; (especially for its 50th Anniversary); at least get a GOOD QUALITY print!!!! Perhaps even get a NEW one made from the original negatives IF possible. I pulled my 15 year old BETAMAX video; (yes it still works!); from the archives and it looks 100% BETTER then the DVD version you have supplied!!!!! So be warned fans of this George Pal Movie; its a GREAT film, but Image Entertainment have decided to supply you, the customer, with an inferior quality product. This DVD version is extremely disapointing to people like me who who loved the film and who where looking forward to something BETTER. If you can't find a better QUALITY version on VHS, buy this DVD, otherwise FORGET IT. The film gets 4 stars; for the quality of the print it gets -1. The sleeve notes are good however at the end of the day I feel like I have wasted my money. Jay R. Eneberg.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By C. M. on May 28, 2003
Format: DVD
I enjoyed the movie, and am glad that I bought it.
However, the quality of this as a DVD is pretty poor.
I realize this movie is 53 years old, but no effort was made to clean up the print for the supposed "50th Anniversary Edition", as it says on the box. This was apparently transfered from a VHS copy, or even an old set of reels.
Every time there is a reel change, you get those obnoxious reel change dots in the upper right corner. There is static, a lot of pops, a few jumps in scenes, the funniest being a scene where the captain says "let's get into our bunks", they get half-way there, and BOOM they're in their bunks, finishing off a sentence. Also, after each reel change, the film is scratched for the next few seconds.
The only "special feature" is the theatrical trailer at the very end of the movie.
Since demand for this movie will probably not force a better version, this will probably be your only chance to get this classic movie on DVD.
I do recommend the movie, but be aware of the quality before you buy it.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By R. Christenson / Lunamation on August 22, 2004
Format: DVD
Destination Moon was the first major technicolor motion picture produced in the United States dealing with a trip to the moon, and the first serious, big budget science fiction film. Robert A. Heinlein (author of Starship Troopers, The Puppet Masters, Stranger in A Strange Land, and Space Cadet) co-wrote the screenplay very loosely from his 1947 novel Rocketship Galileo, although about all that remains unchanged in the film is the name Dr. Cargraves. In the book there is a veiled threat from unknown enemies that turn out to be Nazis (this was the first thing Heinlein wrote after the war) - in the film there's just a veiled reference to a communist threat. I suspect the film also draws from Heinlein's more sophisticated treatment from the same period, The Man Who Sold The Moon. The film's suspenseful and scientifically accurate plot depicts man's first voyage to and landing on the Moon, and the dangers of outer space travel. A Woody Woodpecker cartoon is included to demonstrate the principles of rocketry.

George Pal's first science fiction film (earlier he had done Puppetoons and The Great Rupert), Destination Moon earned an Academy Award for Special Effects. Later Mr. Pal would produce more science fiction classics including When World's Collide, War Of The Worlds, and The Time Machine. Photographed in Technicolor with an original musical score by Leith Stevens and stunning artwork by Chesley Bonestell, Destination Moon is a milestone in special effects and a classic in the science fiction genre.

It is said that this film was shown to President Eisenhower to persuade him to support the pre-NASA space programs.
Read more ›
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By "mrfeeby" on June 6, 2000
Format: DVD
Image's DVD release of DESTINATION MOON is one of the company's better ones. The 50th Anniversary Edition features a short essay by Tom Weaver in its fold-out cover, and it also includes the original theatrical trailer. While the print perhaps could be better, I didn't find it particularly distracting in any manner.
As for the movie itself, this one's a classic, if not for any other reason than its historical importance. This is one of the first "serious" science fiction films of the 1950s and was written by the great sf author Robert Heinlein. The story revolves around four astronauts, their trip to the moon, and the difficulties they encounter preparing for the return trip to Earth. While certain details are inaccurate, the movie is still enjoyable, overall, for today's audience. The lunar landscape is still impressive. DESTINATION MOON, by the way, won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Special Effects.
The DVD of DESTINATION MOON runs 91 minutes. I'd certainly recommend it to science fiction fans. As an extra "bonus," a Woody Woodpecker cartoon about basic physics is embedded in the movie.
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