Search - Apollo 8: Leaving the Cradle on DVD

Apollo 8: Leaving the Cradle
Apollo 8 Leaving the Cradle
Actor: Spacecraft Films
Genres: Documentary
NR     2003     4hr 0min

Own a piece of history! The most complete record ever available of this historic mission. This 3-disc set - over 4 hours in all - chronicles America's first manned lunar orbit from launch to splashdown with comprehens...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Spacecraft Films
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Space Exploration
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 08/19/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 4hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Moment In History
Robert Bowen | Asheville, NC United States | 07/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is not intended to editorialize or state the significance of this event. It is raw footage that has never before been presented in DVD format. In short, it is recorded history that lets the viewer relive an event that was as bold as any in the history of mankind. For those of us who lived this event, it evokes a nostalgia that seems to be forever gone. For those born since, it may seem trivial and primitive by today's standards. Hopefully it will inspire research into the moment that will rekindle and capture that daring of this flight.
It is a must for any historian of space flight and it recaptures a vision for the future that so many have seemed to have lost today. Maybe our leaders should see this."
Pure Brilliance
Dwight Steven-boniecki | Koeln (Cologne), NRW Germany | 08/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Many of you, like myself, probably only vaguely knew of the Apollo 8 mission from the "And God said, 'Let There Be Light'" phrase made more famous by Mike Oldfield in his music.However, looking at this set, you quickly realise how significant the orbiting of the moon by Apollo 8 was. This was the first time humans had ever seen the far side of the moon in person, the earthrise, and realtime video (black and white) of the lunar surface.As usual the Spacecraftfilms people got it right with all the additions from Roll-out, suit-up, multi view launch angles, onboard 16m film, all the transmissions and the spacecraft recovery. Particularly interesting was to hear the reactions of Houston as the pictures were beamed back to earth. In many ways this mission was more significant than Apollo 11, as it really gave the green light to the eventual landing. I also like that President Johnson was the one greeting them upon return. Something about a president (we'll refer to him as RN) who was not supportive of the lunar program sprouting glorious speeches in the name of the spacetravellers irks me badly.I am really looking forward to the remaining Apollo 10, 12 and 13 missions to be compiled by Spacecraftfilms, for then my set will be virtually complete. Considering less than a year ago I was not aware of these sets at all, I am happy to have stumbled upon them."
A Brilliant Presentation Of A Crucial Mission
Robert I. Hedges | 12/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Apollo 8 was probably the most challenging of all the Apollo missions from a planning and execution point of view (short amount of planning and training time for the lunar mission, second manned Apollo flight, second Saturn V flight [and the first to be manned], no LM available for "lifeboat" contingencies, etc.), yet was utterly successful in meeting all its primary goals. By flying Apollo 8 over Christmas 1968 NASA put itself back on track to achieve Kennedy's mandate on the moon timeline.

This is another brilliant DVD from Spacecraft films. This DVD isn't a conventional documentary; rather it is a collection of all film shot on Apollo 8, as well as multiple camera angles of launch, training, and recovery events. All television broadcasts are also included, although the black and white picture quality is horrible by modern standards. (The fact that they had no monitor for the video camera onboard requiring the CAPCOM to continuously give the crew directions about where to point the camera becomes a bit distracting after a while, but that's the way it was.)

My favorite disc was disc one, and I was especially enthralled by the recovery video, particularly the audio track of the reentry as recorded by the onboard tape recorder. I had read the transcripts of the air to ground transmissions, but hearing the inter-capsule conversation in real time made the events of reentry more comprehensible for me. As an aside, I was very startled at how noisy the RCS jettison was.

This is not for the casual space buff, but serious space enthusiasts will absolutely revel in this set. I highly recommend this set, and thank Spacecraft films for producing this series.
Detailed descriptions from the Boxes
R. Davis | Raleigh, NC | 02/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"(From the boxes):


The Apollo 8 mission was the first time human beings had ventured outside of Earth orbit. Mission objectives included a successful journey and return from the Earth to lunar orbit, testing of the Apollo spacecraft and communications at lunar distances, and photography of the lunar surface.

* Preparation

Centrifuge - October 1968 centrifuge runs with the prime crew to familiarize them with accelerations expected during flight. Audio is from the post-flight crew debriefing.

Altitude Chamber -.The prime crew in an altitude chamber run with their spacecraft. No audio.

To The White Room - A unique astronaut-view walkthrough from the base of the launcher to the white room, the rout:* the crew took to board the spacecraft an launch day . Audio commentary from the post-flight debriefing.

Countdown Demonstration Test - Suitup and transfer to pad during the prelaunch Countdown demonstration test. Audio is from post-flight debriefing.

Deluge Test - Pad 39a featured a water deluge system to protect hardware from the Heat and flame of a Saturn V launch. This is a test of the system prior to Apollo 8. Audio is from post-flight debriefing.

* Moonport

Rollout - Transport of the Apollo 8 vehicle from the VAB to Pad 39a. Audio is from natural sound of the crawler/transporter, recorded digitally by Peter Armstrong and used by permission.

Par Operations - Preparation for the first manned flight of a Saturn V. Audio is from post flight debriefing.

* To The Moon

Static Launch Views - 5 angles of the Apollo 8 launch. Audio is air to ground and public affairs officer. Surround.

Tracking Launch Views - 3 angles of the Apollo 8 launch. Audio is from the flight director's loop and continues through SECO. Surround

Pad Camera Views - 4 angles of the Apollo 8 launch. Audio is natural vehicle sound. Surround.

Coming Home - Recovery of Apollo 8. Splashdown occurred in predawn darkness. Audio is from onboard recorder during entry, air to ground transmissions during entry, and President Johnson's call to the crew after splashdown .


This disk contains the complete television transmissions from the Apollo 8 spacecraft - 6 in all.Apollo 8's television camera was a 4.5 pound RCA black-and-white camera. There was no monitor or viewfinder on the camera - so framing the picture was done by dead reckoning.

Two lenses were carried, 160 degree field-of-view and 9 degree field-of-view. The Apollo 8 television transmissions were conducted with a power of just 20 watts, and were received in Goldstone, California and Madrid, Spain.

TV Transmission #1 took place on Sunday. December 22nd 1968, at 31:08 ground elapsed time. At this point the spacecraft was approximately halfway between the Earth and the Moon. This transmission shows the interior of the spacecraft with an attempt to show views of the Earth. Trouble with the telephoto lens prevented good pictures of Earth. Audio is air to ground with the flight director's loop. (13:50)

TV Transmission #2, on Monday, December 23rd, showed the Earth from a distance of 180,000 miles Audio is air to ground with flight director's loop. 55.07 GET. (21:52)

TV Transmission #3, the first of two transmissions on Christmas Eve, gave television audiences their first close up news of the lunar surface. During this transmission. the spacecraft was in a 168.8 x 59.9 nautical mile orbit of the moon. Audio from air to ground and the fight director's loop. 71:40 GET. (12:40)

TV transmission #4, the second Christmas Eve broadcast, and the most famous, again showed views of the lunar surface. During this transmission, Apollo 8 was orbiting the moon at 60.7 x 59.7 nautical miles. The broadcast ends with a reading from the book of Genesis and a historic sign-off from the first travelers to another world. Audio from air to ground and the fight director's loop. 85:41 GET (25:20)

TV transmission # 5, on Christmas Day. This transmission occurred after the successful trans-Earth injection burn which put the spacecraft on course for home. The broadcast shows the interior of the spacecraft. Audio is air to ground and flight director's loop. 104:24 GET. (10:00)

TV transmission # 6, on Thursday, December 26th, 1968, 128:01 GET. From the day before the return to Earth. Shots of Earth. Air to ground and flight director's loop. (4:20)


This disc contains the complete I6 mm motion picture film exposed onboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft. In addition to footage of life aboard the spacecraft, incredible views of the moon from lunar orbit were captured. This was the first time human beings had orbited the moon, and our views up to this pint consisted of grainy black-and-white photos transmitted from unmanned probes.

Outside of the safe and successful completion of a lunar orbit mission, photography was on of the key goals of Apollo 8. A total of 11 130-foot motion picture magazines were carried on the flight. As it turned out, 6 were exposed.

The onboard film on this disc is accompanied by rare audio commentary, providing unique glimpses into the flight; taken from the air-to-ground transmissions, post-flight debriefings, and the onboard voice recorder.

Magazine H - Taken just after trans-lunar injection, a few hours after liftoff. Shows the Earth and the third stage of the Saturn after separation, along with some views of the lunar surface. Audio is air-to-ground transmission from the TLI and separation.

Magazine I - Lunar surface views. Audio commentary is from the post-flight photo debriefing with Bill Anders.

Magazine J - Lunar surface views. Audio is air-to-ground transmission form lunar orbit insertion and trans-Earth injection.

Magazine K- Lunar surface views and interior spacecraft. Audio is form the onboard recorder during the burn which placed the spacecraft into lunar orbit. Since the burn took place while on the far side, no communication with Earth was possible at the time.

Magazine Q- Lunar surface views. Audio is from the onboard recorder during the taking of the famous "earthrise" photographs.

Magazine R - Interior spacecraft - Audio commentary is from the post-flight debriefing on navigation with Jim Lovell.