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Apollo 13

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 2651 words Published: 26th Sep 2016

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Apollo 13

Apollo 13 is a film of year 1995 based on the ill fated Apollo13 lunar mission. The film is based on the book the lost moon by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. The film was directed by Ron Howard. The film was a huge success as it was different from the common films released in those days and it was based on a true event during the space race.

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On July 20, 1969, astronaut Jim Lovell is at his home celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing party. He tells his wife Marilyn that he wish if he could ever land on the moon after watching Neil Armstrong’s historic first step steps on the moon. Lovell was expecting that he will fly Apollo 14 but after some time he is given a VIP tour of Apollo 13’s massive Saturn v rocket is ready to be launched. Then Lovell is informed that he and his crew has been selected as prime crew of Apollo 13. after hearing the news, Lovell tells his family about his launch. Her wife was little tensed because it was not a journey on earth it was towards moon. Before launch Lovell is informed that Ken Mattingly is not coming on the mission with him, Lovell tries best to get him on the flight but he is unsuccessful in doing so. Ken is replaced by pilot Jack Swigert. Next day they are ready for the launch and finally they move on. After the launch the middle engine of Saturn v cuts off prematurely because of over heat but they enter into orbit without problem, after performing the burn which will send Apollo 13 to the moon, Swigert changes the Apollo command module odyssey to dock with the lunar module Aquarius.

After three days of the mission, Swigert is asked to stir the cryogenic oxygen tanks, leading to explosion in service module. The crew got to know that there is problem with oxygen tank and they think to cancel their landing on the moon and shut down the odyssey and on up the Aquarius for saving their life. John Aaron on earth who is a flight controller specifically trained to deal with the electrical and communication system recruits the crew to restart odyssey but they shut down the odyssey and powers up Aquarius and are near moon, they see the moon near to them and Lovell gets depressed by this. As the crew has powered up the Aquarius, there is a problem again, to conserve power they have to shut down the Aquarius and stay in freezing cold. The environment gets scary in the crew and Swigert blame mission control centre for not letting them to find out the technical problem in the craft, but Haise blames the Swigert and calls him inexperienced. Argument arises between both but it is soon cleared by Lovell. Aquarius is meant for two people only but it has to mange the carbon dioxide thrown by three men. An engineering team assembles at radio station Houston and makes a crude method of removing poisonous gas and air cleaners to be used in

Aquarius. The space craft enters the earth atmosphere and the crew makes risky correction of igniting the decent engine of lunar module to avoid skipping off earth’s atmosphere. Haise is suffering from fever inside the cabin; the crew gets successful in righting their way to earth. There on earth Mattingly’s team struggle to find out the way to power up the spacecraft as very little power is left, and finally he guides swigert to revive odyssey. The crew says good bye to Aquarius, the lunar module which saved their life is jettisoned, odyssey re enters the earth’s, and after four minutes of radio ionization blackout, three minutes normal reentry is there and crew reports that they are safe and well. There is celebration in the mission controls and the homes of crew members. After that spacecraft splashes in water, crew is taken out of water and taken to USS lwo jima for their welcome.


  • Tom hanks as jim lovell
  • Bill Paxton as Fred Haise
  • Kevin Bacon as Jack Swigert
  • Gary Sinise as Ken Mattingly
  • Ed Harris as Gene Kranz
  • Kathleen Quinlan as Marilyn Lovell
  • Jean Speagle Howard as Blanch Lovell

About Ron Howard

Ron Howard was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of Jean Spiegel Howard, an actress, and Rance Howard, a director, writer, and actor. His family moved to Burbank, California in 1958, the year before his parents gave birth to his younger brother, Clint Howard. Howard graduated from John Burroughs High School, and later attended the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts but did not graduate.

At age 23, Ron Howard had one of the most recognizable faces in America. His years on The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days had made him familiar to millions of Americans. He had even directed episodes of Happy Days, but when he looked for feature film directing work, no one believed the young actor had what it took.

Finally he made a deal with low-budget film legend Roger Corman: Howard would act in a film for Corman in exchange for the opportunity to direct. The result, Grand Theft Auto, succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations, and started Howard on his career as a feature film director.[

Ron’s films

Ron’s films are nominated for Oscars several times but Cocoon, Apollo 13, how the grinch stole Christmas and a beautiful mind successfully won Oscar. As a director, Ron won Oscar for the best director in year 2002 for his intense film a beautiful mind. Ron has been always known for some different work in his own style. Recently he directed Frost/Nixon which was nominated for five Oscar awards in year 2008. And his Angels and Demons proved to be a great success on the box office in year 2009.

Working style of Ron

Ron generally works with renowned Hollywood actors Tom hanks and Russell Crowe. He made his recent two thriller films The Da Vinci code and Angels and Demons on the famous books written by Dan Brown. Ron is not only a director but he is a good actor also which he proved when he appeared in film at the age of just 18 months. His high visibility films make him different from other film directors of Hollywood. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Howard]

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is an American war film which was released in year 1998 and has a plot of invasion of Normandy in World War ll. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg. The film reveals the truth about the Omaha beach assault of June 6, 1944. The film got a lot of appreciation and became one of the biggest hit in America as well as other countries also.


The film begins with an elderly World war ll veteran and his family who visits the Normandy American Cemetery and memorial at colleville-sur-mer; Normandy, France. The veteran sits on his knees in front of grave and gets emotional, then suddenly scene changes to a Normandy invasion, with American soldiers landing on Omaha beach and having war with the Germans. One officer survived in initial landing John h miller, the commanding officer of C Company. He assembles a group of soldiers and slowly starts attacking the Germans, leading to the breakout from the beach. Meanwhile general of America comes to know that three out of four brothers of Ryan family has died but fourth son private first class James Francis Ryan of baker company, 506th parachute infantry regiment is missing in war somewhere in Normandy, and he orders to the Ryan should be sent home immediately. Miller receives the order from the general to find Ryan. He makes a team of six members and one man who speaks German and French. Miller do not have any information about the Ryan, where he is? But he and his team moves on to Neuville. Near border of Neuville they meet platoon 101st. after entering the city one member of miller’s team Adrian Caparzo get wound by sniper and dies there only. But the team locates Ryan from Minnesota but soon realize their mistake. Then they find member of Charlie Company, 506th, who informs that his drop zone was at Vierville. Then miller locates friend of Ryan’s, who tells him that Ryan is defending himself from strategically important bridge over the Merderet River in Ramelle. Miller starts moving towards Ramelle. On the way he decides to take position close to an abandoned radar station. The technician of the team Irwin wade of miller is wounded. The fifth grade Timothy E. Upham protest miller about letting the squad kill the German soldier. Miller decides to surrender himself in next allied patrol. The team loses their confidence in miller’s leadership. Then miller reveals his identity that he is an English teacher and high school base ball coach in Adley, Pennsylvania, then the team reunites. The squad finally arrives on the outskirts of Ramelle where they fight with German army and they find Ryan. Then American paratroopers join them in Ramelle. Miller informs Ryan about his brother’s death and his mission to take him home. Ryan refuses to come back and demand that he want to defend the bridge against germens counterattack miller also helps him orders his unit to help in defending the bridge. The American soldiers are very low in number and Germans arrive in more quantity. Miller leads the defense but while attempt of blowing bridge he is shot by steamboat Willie. In the duration the American P-51 Mustang comes and destroys the German tanks and steamboats. Ryan survives with two more other team members. Miller is wounded very badly and in his last words he say to Ryan,” James…….earn this. Earn it.”

Back to the present day in graveyard the veteran is at miller’s grave and Ryan tells his wife that he was a good man and led a good life, Ryan salutes Miller and film ends.


  • Tom Hanks as Captain John H. Miller
  • Tom Sizemore as Technical Sergeant Michael “Mike” Horvath
  • Edward Burns as Private First Class Richard Reiben, a BAR gunner
  • Jeremy Davies as Technician Fifth Grade Timothy E. Upham, a cartographer and interpreter
  • Barry Pepper as Private Daniel Jackson, a marksman
  • Adam Goldberg as Private Stanley Mellish, a rifleman
  • Van Diesel as Private Adrian Caparzo, a rifleman
  • Giovanni Ribisi as Technician Fourth Grade Irwin Wade, a medic
  • Matt Damon as Private First Class James Francis Ryan, a paratrooper

Steven Spielberg

Steven Allan Spielberg was born on 18th December 1946 in Cincinnati. He is famous producer, director, and screenwriter. He is listed in the most powerful and influential personality in the world by motion picture industry and times listed him as one of the most important person in the world. One of the most acclaimed directors of the late 20th century; Steven Spielberg is an American icon. From Close Encounters to Schindler’s List, Spielberg has never failed to amaze and delight his audience.

At the age of 13 he won a contest with his 40 minute film, Escape to Nowhere. In 1963, at the age of 16, Spielberg produced the movie Firelight (which would later inspire Close Encounters). The movie made a $100 profit at the local movie theater. Although Spielberg attended California State University in Long Beach studying English, he couldn’t get into a traditional film school. As with anything, Spielberg wasn’t going to let that stop him.

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Spielberg’s Films

Steven has been nominated for six times for Academy awards for best director and he won for two films which are Schindler’s list in 1993 and Saving Private Ryan in 1998. He directed and produced many successful films but his jaws (1975 ), raiders of the Lost ark ( 1981), Extra terrestrial ( 1982 ), The color purple ( 1985 ), Schindler’s List ( 1993 ) [ win ], saving private Ryan ( 1998 ), munich ( 2005) and letters from lwo Jima ( 2006 ) were on the stage of Academy awards.

Working style of Steven

He often shows shooting stars in his films. He uses suns images in his films as a background in many scenes (Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Color Purple (1985), Empire of the Sun (1987), Saving Private Ryan (1998)). He uses piano as a main instrument in his films and he frequently shows children in some kind of danger in his film and introduces important characters through rear view mirror of the car. Generally cast Tom hanks, Richard Deryfuss, Harrison Ford, Frank Welker and Tom Cruise.

Similarities between Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan

Both of these films are based on real events of American history, saving Private Ryan shows the history of Omaha beach and Apollo 13 shows the truth about spacecraft of NASA which was sent in year 1969. Both the films are decorated by the acting of superstar Tom Hanks. He played lead character in both the films and has his own style of acting, but as we know that the two films are of two great directors in the world so half credit of Hank’s performance will go to Steven and Ron. Both of these films are Oscar wining films for their different departments. Both the film has mission involved in them which is in concern with national departments.

Differences Between Saving Private Ryan and Apollo 13

Apollo 13 is directed by Ron Howard and Saving Private Ryan is directed by Steven Spielberg, both films shows the different department of America, Apollo 13 shows the technical and science related department and saving Private Ryan is about the security department of America. Tom hanks character in both the films is totally different, in Apollo 13 he played the character of an astronaut and in saving private Ryan he is playing a soldier. Apollo 13 has a plot of 1969 while saving Private Ryan has plotting of year 1944 which reveals the conditions at the time of Second World War.

Probable influence of Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is a American war film which tells the story of Omaha beach and how the brave and wise soldier John H. Miller gave his life in saving the Ryan and his faith towards his nation and his work is seen, so by the character of miller one might get patriotic and get influenced by the his wise ness and bravery. The visual effects of the film were excellent as the film is directed by Steven Spielberg and he is known for high budget and glamorized film making. As the film is in the plot of 1944 so, giving the visual effects for the weapons and war pattern of that age is not easy at all and all upcoming students of visual effects should see the film and try to understand the technical part of film and it will surely help students in understanding that if they are working in any period film what kind of visual effects are used.

Probable influence of Apollo 13

Apollo 13 is a film based on real event in the history of NASA. by hearing news we can just imagine that what might have been the situation in the spaceship when the engine Odyssey got heated up but Ron Howard has shown in the film the emotions inside the war craft and he not only made story strong but the technical stuff shown in the film is really fantastic and the visual effects of the film is amazing as they showed the characters in zero gravity and in space ship , these kind of effects were shown in the film which was released in 1995 and we can just imagine what creativity was required for the work of this film and the challenge was excepted by Ron Howard and is beautifully presented in front of audience. The team of the astronauts shows the patience and intelligence in such critical situation which gives a message that whatever happens in life one should stay cool and calm. Film might inspire some kids’ those who want to become the astronauts and may generate their interest more in this branch of science.


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