With Vintage, Awe-Inspiring Footage, 'Apollo 11' Will Take You Back to the Moon

A poster for "Apollo 11" shows the mission's Saturn V rocket on the launch pad.
A poster for "Apollo 11" shows the mission's Saturn V rocket on the launch pad. (Image credit: Courtesy of NEON/CNN Films)

For one week only, you can feel yourself in the room as the tension on faces across Mission Control fades into elation as Neil Armstrong's voice narrating his first steps on the moon's surface travels down to Earth.

Beginning today (March 1), the documentary film "Apollo 11" will be playing in selected IMAX theaters before airing in regular theaters across the country beginning March 8. The film offers a front-row seat to the mission that put Americans on the moon.

"Apollo 11" shows each step of the historic mission using original audio and video footage. We see the trio of astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, suiting up, preparing for their historic flight, and entering the van that will carry them to the launchpad.

Throughout the film, we see and hear both the astronauts and the control teams, first at the launch site in Florida, then at NASA's crew headquarters in Houston. But the film isn't limited to following the astronauts and their support staff: We also get to see the crowds that line up to watch the launch and the astronauts on their return to Houston and a three-week quarantine.

Once in flight, we see the astronauts installing cameras in their capsule, and we see their views of the planet they have left. We hear each major maneuver of the mission, watching the clock tick down, the altitude plummet, the speedometer frantically spinning.

A still from footage used in the documentary shows the view from Apollo 11. (Image credit: Courtesy of NEON/CNN Films)

We also see the astronauts enter a rocket 363 feet (110 meters) tall, and we see their capsule, just 10.5 feet (3 m) tall, fished out of the Pacific Ocean. In between, we see their wives ushered in to watch their husbands' last broadcast from space before re-entry. And we see the slew of footprints left on the gray dust of the lunar surface.

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at Space.com and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined Space.com in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.