When it was released 20 years ago, Philip Kaufman's epic "The Right Stuff," was a critical favorite -- though a box-office flop -- that became an award winner (four Oscars and a best picture nomination). The three-hour-plus film helped turn several of its male leads, including Dennis Quaid, Ed Harris, Fred Ward and Sam Shepard -- who received an Oscar nomination -- into hot commodities in Hollywood, and the film itself, a surprisingly complex look at heroism, media hype and the space race, seems only better with time.
"The Right Stuff," based on Tom Wolfe's bestseller, compared the hype and publicity of the Mercury astronauts -- John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Gordon Cooper, Wally Schirra, Deke Slayton, Scott Carpenter -- and the heated space race with the Soviet Union in the 1960s with the moxie and bravery of daredevil test pilots like Chuck Yeager, who toiled in near obscurity, eventually breaking the sound barrier and becoming the fastest man alive. Monday at 7 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, the American Cinematheque is holding a sold-out cast and crew reunion 20th anniversary screening of "The Right Stuff." Kaufman, Harris, Quaid, Reed, Ward, Scott Glenn, Kathy Baker, Scott Wilson, producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, Yeager and astronaut Gordon Cooper are scheduled to appear. And on Tuesday, Warner Home Video is releasing a new two-disc DVD set of the film with documentaries, deleted scenes and commentary.