Before watching the movie:
I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised a movie known for one sequence (slow-motion astronauts) is over three hours long. After all, Lawrence of Arabia is mainly known for the desert montage. I am surprised to learn the scope of the movie. I always understood it to chronicle the Mercury program, and possibly Gemini leading to Apollo. But I’m now seeing it described as starting with breaking the sound barrier. On reflection, supersonic speed would have come from the same test programs that produced the Space Race astronauts, but I never connect aeronautics and astronautics.
I should address that I somehow got the idea the film was made in the 60s, which is ridiculous, since it chronicles the 60s. But on the rare occasions I thought about that, I considered it kind of a propaganda film doing a victory lap after a successful moon landing. Which would still probably make it early 70s, but that’s quibbling.