Capricorn One

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Capricorn One is a science fiction film of 1977 directed by Peter Hyams and starring the likes of Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O.J. simpsons.

The plot of the film revolves around a secret operation by the US government to simulate the moon landing on Mars. Three astronauts are chosen to participate in the mission and are taken to a secret base in the desert where they prepare for launch. However, shortly before liftoff, the astronauts are taken out of the shuttle and the moon landing is simulated in a television studio. The reason for this fraud is that the government is not sure if the space shuttle can withstand the rigors of traveling to Mars.

The astronauts, unaware of the scam, are forced to stay alive and hide from the government, which wants to eliminate them to prevent the truth from being discovered. Meanwhile, a journalist (played by Elliott Gould) begins to investigate the mission and realizes that something is not right. Thus begins a race against time to discover the truth and save the astronauts.

Capricorn One was a highly regarded film due to its gripping storyline and Peter Hyams’ direction, who managed to create a constant tension that keeps the viewer glued to the screen until the very end. Furthermore, the film deals with very current issues such as the relationship between the government and the mass media and the question of truth in the era of fake news.

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Plot

capricorn-one

Capricorn One is a 1977 film that follows the plot of a scam organized by the American government to simulate the moon landing on Mars. Three astronauts, Charles Brubaker (played by James Brolin), Peter Willis (played by Sam Waterston) and John Walker (played by O.J. Simpson), are selected to participate in the mission and are taken to a secret base in the desert to prepare for launch .

However, shortly before liftoff, the astronauts are taken out of the shuttle and the moon landing is simulated in a television studio. The reason for this fraud is that the government is not sure if the space shuttle can withstand the rigors of traveling to Mars.

The astronauts, unaware of the scam, are forced to stay alive and into hiding by the government, which wants to eliminate them to prevent the truth from being discovered. Meanwhile, a journalist, Robert Caulfield (played by Elliott Gould), begins to investigate the mission and realizes that something is not right. Thus begins a race against time to discover the truth and save the astronauts.

Caulfield begins to suspect the veracity of the mission after noticing some inconsistencies and after interviewing the brother of one of the astronauts, who reveals that the government has forbidden him from meeting his brother. Caulfield continues his investigation and manages to track down the astronauts, who reveal the truth about the scam.

The situation gets complicated when the government discovers that the astronauts are still alive and organizes a manhunt to eliminate them. Astronauts try to survive and at the same time try to reveal the truth to the whole world. Tensions rise as the astronauts find themselves surrounded by government forces and Caulfield tries to save their lives and expose the truth about the scam.

The plot of Capricorn One is an adventure full of suspense and tension, in which the struggle for the truth and the survival of the astronauts collides with the power of the government and its media machine.

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Movie Characters

capricorn-one

The film Capricorn One features several characters, the main ones below:

Charles Brubaker (portrayed by James Brolin) – One of the three astronauts chosen for the mission to Mars and who becomes involved in the government scam.

Peter Willis (portrayed by Sam Waterston) – Another of the three astronauts selected for the mission to Mars and involved in the government scam.

John Walker (portrayed by O.J. Simpson) – The last of the three astronauts selected for the mission to Mars and involved in the government scam.

Robert Caulfield (played by Elliott Gould) – An investigative reporter who begins to suspect the veracity of the mission to Mars and tries to uncover the truth.

Judy Drinkwater (portrayed by Brenda Vaccaro) – One of the few people who knows the truth about the government scam and helps the astronauts survive.

Kelloway (portrayed by Hal Holbrook) – A government official responsible for scamming Mars and trying to eliminate the astronauts.

Albain (portrayed by David Huddleston) – An entrepreneur who supplies the government with the technology for the Mars scam.

Sharon (portrayed by Karen Black) – Brubaker’s wife who, unaware of the government scam, tries to save her husband.

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Production

capricorn-one

Capricorn One is a 1977 science fiction adventure film directed by Peter Hyams. The film was produced by ITC Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros.

The production of the film was rather troubled: the original budget of 4 million dollars was increased due to the high costs of shooting by plane and helicopter. Additionally, producer Lew Grade requested more creative control over the film, which caused conflicts between him and Hyams.

The film’s cast included several well-known actors, including James Brolin, Elliott Gould, Sam Waterston, Brenda Vaccaro, Karen Black and O.J. simpsons.

Filming for the film took place primarily in California, with some scenes also filmed in Arizona and Texas. The scenes set on the surface of Mars were filmed in the Nevada desert.

The film was moderately commercially successful, earning an estimated $14 million at the United States box office. However, it received mixed reviews for its storyline and execution. Despite this, Capricorn One has become a cult film over the years, thanks to its intriguing storyline and its cast of prominent actors.

Distribution and Reception

Capricorn One was released theatrically in the United States on June 2, 1978 by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film grossed an estimated $14 million at the US box office, making less than the studio had hoped. However, the film was more successful in Europe and other foreign countries.

Critics gave the film a mixed reception. While some critics praised its intriguing storyline and acting performance, others criticized it for its slow pace and lack of action. Despite this, the film has become a cult movie, appreciated by the public who appreciated the tension and political issues.

In particular, the film was praised for its commentary on media manipulation and government lies, issues that were particularly relevant in the era in which it was made. The film also won the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film of 1978.

In general, Capricorn One is considered a cult science fiction film, appreciated by audiences for its intriguing plot, its tension and its reflection on the power of the media and government.

Style

The film Capricorn One was made in a style typical of adventure and science fiction films of the 70s. The film cleverly uses the atmosphere of tension and suspense to keep the viewer glued to the plot.

Directed by Peter Hyams is characterized by the use of effect shots and particularly accurate photography. The exterior shots in the American desert create a dry and arid atmosphere, making the setting on the fake surface of Mars believable.

The score by Jerry Goldsmith, one of the greatest composers of film music, further emphasizes the tense and suspenseful atmosphere of the film, underlining the dramatic events with strong and intense tones.

The film also uses the alternate montage effect to create a dramatic progression and a sense of urgent need. This is particularly evident in the sequence where the astronauts attempt to survive in the desert, trying to escape government forces trying to eliminate them.

In general, the style of Capricorn One film is very engaging and manages to keep the viewer interested and involved in the plot until the end, thanks to its ability to create tension and suspense through the use of very effective visual and sound elements.

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Director

Peter-Hyams

The director of Capricorn One is Peter Hyams, an American filmmaker born in 1943. Hyams has directed a number of successful films throughout his career, including some notable science fiction and action films such as Outland (1981), 2010: The Year of contact (1984), The garrison – Crime scene (1988), End of the world – War of the worlds (2005).

Hyams has always shown great attention to the visual aspect of his films, with particular attention to photography, direction and visual effect. He has also demonstrated a great interest in political and social issues, often present in his works.

In particular, the film Capricorn One represents one of Hyams’ most important works, thanks to his ability to build tension and suspense through a complex and gripping plot. The director was able to effectively exploit the setting in the American desert, creating a dry and arid atmosphere that emphasizes the solitude of the astronauts and their fight for survival.

In addition, Hyams has been able to enhance the performances of the actors, obtaining excellent performances from James Brolin, Elliott Gould, Sam Waterston and O.J. simpsons. Hyams’ direction was able to keep the viewer’s attention, keeping the plot compelling until the end of the film.

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