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Apollo 13 Film vs Reality

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The Apollo 13 in Real Time volunteer team have assembled this series of links to specific mission moments for easy comparison between the Hollywood film, and what really transpired in 1970. Below each film clip are links to the real moments on

Feel free to reply to this thread and add more as you find them.


Apollo 13 (1995) - Suiting Up Scene

Apollo 13 (1995) - Go for Launch Scene (head for the hills)

Apollo 13 (1995) - Houston, We Have a Problem Scene (“Stir O2 tanks”) (Explosion) (Swigert, “Ok Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”)

Apollo 13 (1995) - A New Mission Scene
(didn’t happen)

Apollo 13 (1995) - Failure Is Not an Option Scene
(didn’t happen)

Apollo 13 (1995) - Square Peg in a Round Hole Scene (Brand tells the crew about LiOH plan)

Apollo 13 (1995) - Duct Tape and Cardboard Scene (deke holding CO2 adapter) (instructions read up to crew)

Apollo 13 (1995) - Just Breathe Normal Scene (kind of)

Apollo 13 Story Part 6 - Adjusting Angle of Re-entry Scene (please check my arithmetic) (checking arithmetic)

Apollo 13 (1995) - It's Been a Privilege Flying With You Scene
(didn’t happen)

Apollo 13 (1995) - Re-Entry Scene (11/11) | Movieclips (LOS CSM) (we show you on the mains!)

Tim Hamilton:
Oh, that's really helpful, Ben et al.!

I have my students go watch Apollo 13 before we do the simulator, and I always get questions about how close to reality the scenes were.  I'll send these to them.

Didn't know you had a forum, Ben! Glad to find it. Was great to be part of the A11 beta test for the last site. (It's "KS" from the Hipsters on FB.)

Here's one of my favorite bits of cinematic realism. Actors Brett Cullen and Ben Marley. Cullen was a composite of CAPCOMs but was mostly Jack Lousma, who was on station at the time of the accident. Marley was a dead-ringer for the real John Young, which he played.

The left photo is of the actors. Compare to the actual mission photo of the real astronauts.

I found a bunch of articles which state that while Kranz never said "Failure is not an option," he claims to have said "I have never lost an American in space, sure as hell aren’t going to lose one now. This crew is coming home. You got to believe it. Your team must believe it. And we must make it happen." Do you happen to know if this was recorded, or if it is otherwise documented somewhere?


--- Quote from: bfeist on March 12, 2020, 08:52:18 pm ---Apollo 13 (1995) - A New Mission Scene
(didn’t happen)
--- End quote ---

In a way this did happen, just not as it was depicted in the movie.

Obviously a decision was made not to try to use the SPS for a direct abort. I'm certain it was discussed in many places by many different people, but at one point Gene Kranz just decreed on the loop that this option should be ruled out in the abort planning. This was a mere hour after the accident. No one argued with him.

Whatever planning you do, I want to do assuming that we're going around the Moon and we're using the LM for performing maneuvers, because in the present configuration, unless we get a heckuva lot smarter I think we're wasting our time planning and using the SPS... So I think all of our return-to-Earth type planning should be assuming the use of the LM DPS and/or RCS. And I think third priority down the line should be CSM RCS.


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