NASA's Cinematic Moonshot: Why 'Moonwalk One' Crashed at the Box Office

Jul 16, 2019

50 years ago today, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy. A few days later, on July 20, 1969, the first two humans landed on the moon — Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin.

Also at the launch was a film crew, documenting everything, from its preparation to mission control to the faces of the crowds witnessing the historic moment. These were mixed in with astounding footage taken by Armstrong and Aldrin, which all came together in a documentary film called Moonwalk One.


Commissioned by NASA, Moonwalk One premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971, where it won an award, but it crashed commercially. It is now considered a cult film that captures what it took to put humans on the moon and serves as a time capsule of life on Earth at a ground-breaking moment.

David Resha is assistant professor of film studies at Emory University's Oxford College, with a focus on documentary film history and aesthetics. He joined On Second Thought to discuss the cinematic elements of Moonwalk One, and why it didn't blast off at the box office.

Tune in to GPB TV on Friday, July 19 at 9:00 p.m. to watch the full film.

Watch American Public Television's preview:

And the original trailer for Moonwalk One

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