Capricorn One
Dir: Peter Hyams
Star: Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson
Cert / Year: PG / 1978
Format: DVD R2

Commander Charles Brubaker (James Brolin) is the leader of the first manned mission to Mars. Along with his crew Lt. Col. Peter Willis (Sam Waterston) and Commander John Walker (O.J. Simpson) they are about to launch when they are taken from the rocket It appears that the life support in the rocket is faulty but rather than lose funding Dr. James Kelloway and the powers that be have decided to fake the landings. The crew are forced to go along with the ruse. That is until rocket disintegrates on descent, and they become a liability. Their only hope may be a reporter Robert Caulfield (Elliot Gould) who suspects the landings aren't all they seem, but will he live long enough to help them.

For years conspiracy theory nuts have claimed that the moon landings were faked, and this theory is the basis of this film. Peter Hyams not only directed but he has come up with a cracking story. The conspiracy theory is believable and yet it opens the door to just how far you would the authorities need to go to cover things up. Of course this is only part of the story as when the astronauts become expendable the action cuts to the chase, and thus culminates in one spectacular aerial battle.

What really makes this film apart from the excellently original story is the central performance of Elliot Gould. He puts in one his best ever as the hard bitten cynical smart ass reporter. This is nicely counter pointed by James Brolin's tough serious astronaut. Added to this we have interesting support from O.J. Simpson (on the run from the authorities, hum maybe this was a dress rehearsal) and Sam Waterston plus a nicely developed role for Brenda Vaccaro and Brubaker's wife. Lastly we have an absolutely mad cameo from Telly Savalas.

This film has two halves. We have the tension of a good thriller and a cracking slice of action adventure. Both of which blend pretty well thanks to the original story and sharp direction. Peter Hyams is one of those directors who is never trendy to like. I can't help it but I like quite a bit of his work. Ok so some of the more recent stuff hasn't been the best, but he handles action really well and his films are always entertaining. How can you argue with pedigree that includes such movies as Outland and The Star Chamber.

Capricorn One is a great conspiracy thriller with a smattering of great action thrown in. Good performances form the main cast especially Elliot Gould really help this film rise above many other thrillers. All of this in the hands of a competent writer and director and the result in a great movie. All that's left to mention is the cracking Jerry Goldsmith score with its outstanding theme, and the top dollar ending. If you haven't seen this movie then its well worth tracking down this gem of yesteryear.


The mission was a sham. The murders were real.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 4:3 Grainy pan and scan. Not good.
Audio Dolby Mono Poor.
Features None
Verdict Poor transfer and no extras. Ok so its cheap, but really these Carlton Silver series discs are awful.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home