A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes/messages of hope, bravery, teamwork, and unity. Challenges can be overcome through trial, error, and perseverance.
Positive Role Models
All of the original seven U.S. astronauts were considered American heroes. Their bravery and dedication to space exploration weren't deterred by the many risks involved. Their wives should also be commended on how they faced the uncertainty of what the missions meant for their families. Rene Carpenter was brave and went on to write an account of her husband's missions in space and waiting for his return from her perspective.
Violence & Scariness
People discuss how chimpanzees were kidnapped from Africa for use as test subjects. They also discuss the fact that the chimps were shocked with electricity if they made an incorrect selection. One of the first scenes shows a rocket exploding. Addresses the dangers/challenges that NASA and the astronauts faced, such as an escape hatch coming off, running out of fuel, possible heat sensor failure, and the possibility of being lost in space.
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Products & Purchases
The film shows a Holiday Inn Motel, Starlite Motel, NASA, CBS name and logo, Arizona Daily Star.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Real Right Stuff (intended as a companion to Disney+'s dramatic series The Right Stuff) documents the real-life journey of the seven men chosen for NASA's Mercury program, which launched the first U.S. astronauts into space. The film is comprised of interviews, personal movies, and media news footage. One of NASA's failed attempts to successfully launch a rocket is included: News reports show the rocket exploding, which could be upsetting to younger children. NASA used chimpanzees as test subjects, and the film addresses the fact that the animals were kidnapped from Africa to participate in the space program and received electric shocks as part of the experiments. The film also recounts some of the dangers/challenges that NASA and the astronauts faced, such as an escape hatch coming off, running out of fuel, possible heat sensor failure, and the possibility of being lost in space. The astronauts' sudden rise to fame led to them having many followers, most of whom were women and were referred to as "cookies" (another term for groupies). With themes of courage, perseverance, and teamwork, the movie makes it clear that the program's heroes weren't just the men, but also their wives, who were supportive and brave for their children and the people at home. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This documentary is an intriguing, comprehensive account of the seven men chosen to be the United States' first astronauts. Intended as a companion to Disney+'s dramatic series The Right Stuff, The Real Right Stuff examines the human side of the seven. It explores what happened after they were selected, their bravery and charisma, and how they became heroes not just in the United States, but around the world.
Even if you know nothing about the space program, the film offers an understanding of the rivalry between the USA and Soviet Union to be first in space exploration during the Cold War. The Mercury program was clearly a significant step in catapulting NASA's continued research within space exploration. The Real Right Stuff also shows how the astronauts' wives were heroes in their own right -- being strong and brave for their children, as well as the spokespeople for the media, all while waiting to learn the outcome of their husbands' missions. Whether you're a space enthusiast or not, The Real Right Stuff is an entertaining, fascinating look at the early days of NASA and how the U.S. space program came to fruition.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.