- 1 hr 47 min
X-15 is a 1961 film that tells the story of test pilots who dared to push the limits of human endurance and technology by flying the X-15 rocket plane. The film stars David McLean, Charles Bronson, and Ralph Taeger in lead roles. Set in the late 1950s and early 1960s, X-15 follows the lives of North American Aviation test pilots who compete to fly the X-15, a high-altitude rocket plane designed to reach the edge of space. The X-15 was a joint project between the US Air Force and NASA, and as such, it was an important step toward the development of the space program of the United States.
David McLean plays the role of Matt Powell, a young and ambitious pilot who is eager to fly the X-15. Charles Bronson plays the role of Lt. Col. Lee Brandon, a veteran test pilot with extensive experience flying high-performance planes. Ralph Taeger plays the role of Maj. Ernest Wilde, a skilled test pilot who becomes Powell's rival for the chance to fly the X-15.
The film focuses on the challenges faced by the pilots as they grapple with the complexities of flying the X-15. The X-15 had a unique design that required the pilots to navigate a host of technical and physical challenges in order to operate it safely. One of the biggest challenges was achieving a successful takeoff, which required the use of a B-52 bomber as a launch platform.
The film also explores the personal lives of the pilots, providing insight into the sacrifices they made in order to pursue their dreams. Powell, for example, struggles to balance his passion for flying with his responsibility to his wife and children. Brandon, on the other hand, has become somewhat jaded by his experiences as a test pilot, and is hesitant to take the risks necessary to push the X-15 to its limits.
Despite the personal challenges faced by the pilots, they ultimately manage to fly the X-15 with great success. The film culminates in a breathtaking sequence in which Powell attempts to beat the altitude record set by Col. Kittinger, a real-life test pilot who set the record in 1960. The sequence is expertly shot and edited, conveying the sense of excitement and danger that is inherent in flying the X-15.
Throughout the film, the X-15 is portrayed as a marvel of modern technology, and the pilots who fly it are depicted as heroes who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. However, the film also acknowledges the risks of pushing technology too far, and the toll that it can take on those who pursue it relentlessly.
Overall, X-15 is a compelling and entertaining film that manages to balance cutting-edge technology and human drama in a way that still resonates today. The film is a testament to the bravery and determination of the test pilots who paved the way for the space program, and it remains a must-see for anyone interested in the history of flight and space exploration.
X-15 is a 1961 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.6.