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Sputnik Mania
Sputnik Mania
Actors: Robert Klein, Daniel Schorr, Liev Schreiber, Kirk Wolfinger, Lisa Wolfinger
Genres: Educational, Documentary
NR     2008     4hr 0min

On October 4, 1957, the USSR announced to an unsuspecting world that it had launched the first man-made object ever to successfully orbit the earth. Americans were stunned, then terrified. What had happened to our vaunted ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Klein, Daniel Schorr, Liev Schreiber, Kirk Wolfinger, Lisa Wolfinger
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, History
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/20/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 4hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Love it
Shawn P. Kelly | 04/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This Documentary is VERY well done and perfectly captures the hysteria that followed after the Sputnik launch. This is a must have for any history buff or cold war enthusiast."
Space-Time Capsule
Patrick Gleeson | Limerick Ireland | 10/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's difficult today to understand how frightening a prospect an ever growing threat from the USSR provided. Everything over the iron curtain was done in the utmost secrecy, whilst to their credit the USA in the guise of NASA was a very public story. This DVD shows how paranoia filled the void left by the absence of hard facts. From the assumption that the USSR was basically a backward society, to the realisation that they has indeed launched a man in orbit - something not even attempted at the time by the US - the shock was palpable, and is illustrated excellently in this film. Liberal usage of TV and film archive from the time, along with an evocative soundtrack (including sections of El Greco by Vangelis - uncredited), and an appropriate understated narration by Liev Schreiber. A second disc of extra archive material round off the package.

Doo wop, circa 1957: 'There's two moons out tonight'
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 04/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Russian word "sputnik" translates roughly as "traveling companion."

The USSR's successful October 1957 launch of Sputnik 1 caused some panic in the US. Potential spying capabilities and more importantly, concern that Soviet missile technology had far outpaced our own led to two hurried launchings of Vanguard rockets. Both of these attempts ended in flaming disaster.

When a month later Sputnik 2 safely carried a dog into orbit, anxieties here increased. President Eisenhower appeared on national TV to assure Americans these two satellites hurtling around the globe every hour and a half were harmless and that much had been learned about space because of them. He didn't however mention the implications of superior rocket technology on the ability to deliver nuclear weapons from Europe to North America. That was being said elsewhere, and loudly.

Released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Soviets' initial satellite missions, SPUTNIK MANIA accurately documents in 90 minutes the events, reaction and response to the first man-made objects placed in Earth orbit. Narrated by Liev Schreiber (portrayer of Orson Welles in RKO 281 - The Battle Over Citizen Kane, from 1999), additional commentary is provided by TV reporters Daniel Schorr and Jay Barbree, plus Nikita Khrushchev's son Sergei and Ike Eisenhower's granddaughter, Susan. Archive footage of many principal players is also included.

Related item:
The one-hour PBS "NOVA" documentary SPUTNIK DECLASSIFIED (2007) also explores this subject in depth.

Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.

(7.8) Sputnik Mania (2007) - Liev Schreiber/Sergei Khrushchev/Susan Eisenhower/Daniel Schorr/Jay Barbree/Paul Dickson (archive footage of: Nikita Khrushchev/Dwight D. Eisenhower/Richard Nixon/Werner Von Braun/Estelle Taylor)"