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For All Mankind (The Criterion Collection)

4.5 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Avant-garde music and the words of astronauts highlight striking NASA footage of Earth and the moon.


A Special Message from Jonathon Turell, Criterion CEO

I was nine when the Apollo 11 Eagle landed on the moon. I remember vividly watching it on a small black-and-white TV at sleepaway camp that summer of 1969. I’ve been hooked on the space program ever since. Just about twenty years ago, a friend told me he had seen a rough cut of a new space movie and I should see it. I got a tape and watched For All Mankind for the first time. It was unlike anything I had seen before, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I met Al Reinert and we became friends. Janus Films helped to finish the film, and I became an associate producer as we completed the movie. For All Mankind was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary—losing out to Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt. It played festivals around the world. There was a special screening for NASA and the astronauts in Galveston, Texas, and the film showed at the Air and Space Museum at the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the moon landing.

We started working on the laserdisc release of For All Mankind before the film was complete, and I traveled to Houston to meet Al and interview Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean for inclusion on the disc. Bean’s comments were so good that Al recut the film to include a wonderful story about piloting the lunar module in orbit around moon. Meeting one of the astronauts who walked on the moon is still one of the greatest thrills of my life. Last year, when we began working on our Blu-ray release of For All Mankind, we got in touch with Bean again and asked him to participate. He happily agreed to update the feature on his paintings and also to sit down and talk with us about a subject I had become very interested in—science versus art. I wanted to explore the question of whether the astronauts (or the people at NASA) realized they were shooting some of the most artistic images ever recorded (and now some of the most famous) or if it was really all about moon rocks and beating the Russians. This second meeting with Bean didn’t disappoint; he says some wonderful things that are included on the disc. When we finished taping our interview session, he gave me a ride to lunch. The famous Apollo 12 Corvette is gone, replaced by a truck to carry his paintings, but that ten-minute ride will stay with me forever. He talked about walking on the moon; I talked about what movies I like. It didn’t seem quite parallel—for him it was an interesting conversation, for me, it was an audience with a hero.

Over the years, I think I’ve seen every film and TV miniseries about the Apollo program (at least twice), but for me For All Mankind still stands apart. It is unique in its poetic approach and ability to capture the pure emotion of the greatest journey of our time.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Lovell, Kenneth Mattingly, Russell Schweickart, Eugene Cernan, Michael Collins
  • Directors: Al Reinert
  • Producers: Al Reinert, Ben Young Mason, Betsy Broyles Breier, David W. Leitner, Fred Miller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026VBOJC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,218 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "For All Mankind (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you're looking for history, skip this dvd. However, if you're looking for a film that will let you experience what it's really like to fly into space and be on the moon, then what are you waiting for? This dvd is for you. I watched FOR ALL MANKIND late at night, the only light in the room coming from the images on my TV screen. I was spellbound. The footage of the Earth from space in this film is so clear and pristine that you feel as if you're actually there. It's really awesome. I didn't mind, as some people did, that the editor mixed footage from different missions and made it seem like it was all from a single mission. I also didn't care that the astronaut speaking on the soundtrack wasn't always the one you saw on the screen. All the voices you hear, just like all the images you see, are the real deal here; it's just that sometimes you hear one astronaut talking while watching footage of other astronauts from a completely different mission. Viewers who expect and demand a chronological history of the missions will be disappointed. This film does not offer that. Watch this film for the immediacy of the experience, which is sublime. Regardless of the editing, all the footage here is authentic. If there's one complaint I have about this edition, it's the extras, which are pretty skimpy. Seeing as how there's miles and miles of footage available, I would've liked to have seen more, especially extra footage of the earth from space and of the lunar surface. What there is of it in the film is so beautiful that you just want to see more of it. I want to stress that this is not your typical PBS/NOVA or HISTORY/DISCOVERY channel documentary. You WILL learn a lot by watching FOR ALL MANKIND, it just won't be about facts and figures.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
As a serious student of the Apollo program, this is my favorite documentary of the program, despite its contextual fabrications and errors. The conceit is to represent a voyage to the lunar surface and back as a composite drawn from footage taken from all Apollo (and even some Gemini!) missions. As such it is in some sense a fictionalized account to begin with, thus one must look beyond this film as a simple and literal documentary, if you are willing to accept its premise. To me it succeeds at a psychological and emotional level as the film that best captures the spirit of the Apollo program, and even better, what it must have been like to have actually gone to the moon.
The footage is fantastic and rarely seen, even in real documentaries about Apollo. The pace at many points slows, and you are invited to dwell on the scenes, and perhaps even picture yourself there with the astronauts. A particular treat is that the movie is heavy on footage from the final mission involving the lunar rover, where the real exploration took place. These missions are often woefully represented, but here you get a sense of what it must have been like to have diven miles from the LM, exploring the lunar surface in complete solitude; or in other parts of the movie to have orbited alone in the CSM. Other treats are candid footage of the controllers in Houston, as well as dramatic usage of JFK's speach on Apollo given at Rice university in 1962. I will admit that the film doesn't state the true context of any of its footage, and a good portion of my enjoyment is being able to sort this out for myself; however, more than anything this program reminds me of what it was like to grow up and go to the moon with Apollo.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Science fiction movies and computer digital effects are great, but they don't compare to seeing actual footage shot in space, such as the case for this documentary. The scenes are spell-binding as ships manuever in the cold blackness of space, eventually landing on the surface of the Moon. The feature follows the sequence of an Apollo mission from the astronauts' dressing rooms, through the launch of the mighty Saturn V rocket and traveling through space, climaxing with views on the Moon's surface. Scenes are inter-mixed with footage from different Apollo missions, but it's not that displeasing and shows particular highlights such as Man's first step on the Moon, to later missions when astronauts had a lunar vehicle for traveling on the barren landscape. Brian Eno's music is perfect for this feature; if you could hear music out there - this would be it. Listening to the astronauts as they narrate this feature is nice and makes you feel even closer to them as you watch them progress through their missions. What's great is that it is all real footage, there are no actors and no FX, you get to see how it really happened.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Without a doubt, this is one of the finest Blu Ray discs I own, not just for the fascinating and well done documentary, but for the total immersion in the Apollo Experience that new transfer (both video and audio) provides. It is STUNNING; there is no other way to describe 80 minutes of pure perfection.

The film that was brought back from the moon, original film elements, were used in the creation of this documentary to begin with when it was first compiled into an intriguing film some 20 years ago. With the advent of the new digital remaster, the film looks COMPLETELY different; so much so that my 12 year old daughter thought that the scenes shot on the Rover were special effects! Imagine her surprise when I told her that was actual moon mission footage, and it was as real and as untouched as if she herself were to take it using a camera. I don't think she ever grasped that fully. In any case, the video is INCREDIBLE.

The audio of this wonderful film is provided by the voices of the astronauts and their machinery as well as an ambient soundtrack by Brian Eno. The music fully immerses you in its wondrous and enveloping score. The new transfer of the Eno audio soundtrack really cannot be adequately described...it is truly a masterpiece, because it becomes part of the film; it IS the film...it literally feels like part of the missions represented in this documentary. You are surrounded by these voices and machines and this incredible, incredible score by Eno...and it is truly an experience.

I've had the film on DVD for a number of years and it has always been one of my favorites (these guys were all my heroes growing up in the 60s and 70s and I'm a NASA buff). With the new Blu Ray presentation, Criterion has pulled out all the stops.
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