In the Shadow of the Moon (2007 film)

In the Shadow of the Moon is a 2007 British documentary film about the United States' crewed missions to the Moon.[1] It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Audience Award. In March 2008, it was the first film to win the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Best Film Presentation. It was given a limited release in the United States on 7 September 2007, and in Canada on 19 October 2007.[2][3] It was released on DVD in the United States on 22 February 2008, and 31 March 2008, in the United Kingdom.[4][5][6] A Blu-ray edition was released on 16 June 2009.

In the Shadow of the Moon
In the shadow of the moon poster.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed byDavid Sington
Christopher Riley
Produced byDuncan Copp
Christopher Riley
Sarah Kinsella
John Battsek
Julie Goldman
Music byPhilip Sheppard
CinematographyClive North
Edited byDavid Fairhead
Distributed byVertigo Films (UK)
Release date
  • 19 January 2007 (2007-01-19) (Sundance)
  • 7 September 2007 (2007-09-07) (United States)
  • 2 November 2007 (2007-11-02) (United Kingdom)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The film follows the crewed missions to the Moon made by the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The documentary reviews both the footage and media available to the public at the time of the missions, as well as NASA films and materials which had not been opened in over 30 years. All of this has been sourced and remastered in HD by the stock footage company Footagevault.[citation needed] Augmenting the archival audio and video are contemporary interviews with some surviving Apollo era astronauts, including Alan Bean, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, John Young, David Scott, Charlie Duke, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt. The former astronauts have the only speaking roles in the film, although occasional supplementary information is presented on screen with text and archival television footage presents the words of journalists such as Jules Bergman and Walter Cronkite. The only surviving Moon walker at the time not to participate was Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the Moon.

The documentary shares its name with a book by space historians Colin Burgess and Francis French, and both include many original interviews with Apollo lunar astronauts. The documentary offers a view of the Apollo program that is complementary to the book and is neither a source nor a tie-in.


Ten former astronauts appear in In the Shadow of the Moon. During the Apollo Program, twenty-four men reached the vicinity of the Moon. Of the twelve who actually set foot on the lunar surface, eight appear on camera (Neil Armstrong did not participate, while Pete Conrad, James Irwin and Alan Shepard had died). Two other astronauts who are featured in In the Shadow of the Moon orbited around the Moon without landing (Jim Lovell and Michael Collins). All crewed Apollo flights with the exception of Apollo 7, which was an Earth-orbit mission, were represented in the film. The film is presented by Ron Howard, but there is no narration in the film.


Critics gave the film very positive reviews. Metacritic reports that In the Shadow of the Moon has a score of 84 out of 100, based on 34 critics, classifying the film's reception as "Universal acclaim".[7] Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 95% approval rating, based on 113 reviews.[8]

Roger Ebert called it "spellbinding".[9] Entertainment Weekly rated the movie an A.[10] The Los Angeles Times called the film a "fresh and compelling film, made with intelligence and emotion". Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter concluded that "The value of this film, not just to moviegoers today but to future generations, is simply enormous."[11]

On 23 June 2008, the Independent Investigations Group (IIG) honoured In the Shadow of the Moon for promoting scientific skepticism in media; the award was received by producer Duncan Copp.[12]


  1. ^ "In the Shadow of the Moon". World Documentary Competition. Sundance Film Festival. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 8 April 2007.
  2. ^ "In the Shadow of the Moon (2006) - Release dates". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 8 April 2007.
  3. ^ Calgary Sun, 19 October 2007
  4. ^ "In The Shadow Of The Moon". 31 March 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Shadow of the Moon". Shadow of the Moon. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ In the Shadow of the Moon at Metacritic
  8. ^ In the Shadow of the Moon at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ "In the Shadow of the Moon". 13 September 2007.
  10. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (29 August 2007). "Movie Review: In the Shadow of the Moon". Entertainment Weekly.
  11. ^ Kirk Honeycutt (7 September 2007). "In the Shadown of the Moon [review]". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007.
  12. ^ "The 2008 IIG Awards". 23 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2011.

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