Nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, Apollo 13 is one of the best movies of its decade. Despite prior knowledge of the historical outcome, it's guaranteed to keep viewers steeped in suspense. Director Ron Howard creates yet another fantastic picture, solidifying his transformation from Mayberry's favorite son on Andy Griffith to one of the most accomplished director/producers in all of Hollywood.
Standout performances by Gary Sinise and Tom Hanks (on the heels of their Oscar-caliber portrayals from Forrest Gump) make Apollo 13 especially enticing to the movie connoisseur. Based on the true story of the Apollo 13 mission, the film stirs emotions of all types - hope, fear, and patriotism among them. In the end, it's one of those rare movies where the characters are able to intimately connect with the audience. In short, Apollo 13 provides a true glimpse into the lives of those who defined history.
Tom Hanks plays the role of real life astronaut Jim Lovell, member of the three man crew of Apollo 13, the 1970 lunar landing mission. Accompanied by fellow crewmates Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), Lovell rockets into space in pursuit of his dream of walking on the moon. Unable to make the flight, fellow astronaut Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) reluctantly remains on the ground.
Meanwhile, Americans show little interest in this latest lunar mission despite the fact that barely a year has passed since Neil Armstrong's famous words. Apollo 13 is perceived as "routine" and the flight gets little press coverage until Lovell utters some famous words of his own, "Houston, we have a problem."
When things go horribly wrong on Apollo 13, the mission changes from one of moon landing to astronaut survival. Lovell, Haise, and Swigert feverishly work to uncover the problem. Meanwhile, in Houston, flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), bumped crew member Ken Mattingly, and the legions of NASA ground control work around the clock to maintain contact and bring the astronauts home safely. As the minutes pass, the entire world holds its breath in anticipation of the outcome.