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The Right Stuff
Album Cover Art
1986 Varèse
2009 Varèse
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Bill Conti

Orchestrated by:
Dick Hazard
Angela Morley
Loree Myers
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Varèse Sarabande

Varèse Sarabande
(Film Recording)
(July 13th, 2009)
Availability Icon
The 1986 re-recording was a regular U.S. release and still available 25 years later for about $10. The 2009 Varèse album with the original recording was part of its CD Club series and limited in quantity to 3,000 copies. After selling out, it fetched prices in excess of $100 on the secondary market.
Winner of an Academy Award.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... on the early Varèse Sarabande CD containing a London re-recording of 18 minutes from this score if you can satisfy yourself with the most heroic symphonic highlights of this otherwise highly varied score.

Avoid it... on the fuller 2009 presentation of the original recording if you expect to hear Bill Conti extend the glory of his primary themes with much conviction beyond these highlights.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 2/1/12
The Right Stuff: (Bill Conti) Not long after Tom Wolfe's book "The Right Stuff" was published in 1979, a bidding war commenced for the cinematic rights to its story about the early days of America's space program. Unfortunately, the production turned into an absolute nightmare over the following three years, burning through writers, directors, and composers during its extremely uneven path to success. From the test flights of famed pilot Chuck Yeager to the initial rocket launches of the "Mercury Seven" astronauts, The Right Stuff was a documentation of perseverance against adversity, both for those who risk their lives and the families left on the ground. The script of the film moves aimlessly through these individual character studies and touches upon the political environment and the somewhat juvenile comedy of the NASA space program in its early days. Regardless of its efforts to promote the glory and sacrifice of these men with genuine regard, the film's humorous scenes involving rocket explosions and bodily functions (including one of the funniest urination scenes ever filmed) questioned its focus. But despite these many narrative flaws, The Right Stuff triumphs as a whole due to its stellar production characteristics, its convincing performances, and the nobility of the topic, and the film became one of the most highly respected of 1983. Its plethora of Academy Award wins and nominations ran counter to popular perceptions about the very long film, with the movie failing to recoup its budget in domestic earnings. One of its Oscar wins came for Bill Conti's score, however. The road to that unexpected win, however, was among the most troubled for the composer, who has at the top of his game at the time. Issues with the soundtrack for The Right Stuff began with a disagreement between the director, Philip Kaufman, and producers of the movie about the basic function of music for the concept. The former sought a very limited and intimate score that did not contain any of the bravado that might have been expected, while the latter two desired a heroic symphonic attitude to boost the grandeur of the pilots and astronauts' exploits. Caught in the middle of this fray was composer John Barry, who was initially hired to provide the score. Barry was likewise at the height of his career in the early 1980's, and his romantic style of melodic writing seemed like it would fit well in The Right Stuff.

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Average: 3.06 Stars
***** 27 5 Stars
**** 26 4 Stars
*** 26 3 Stars
** 22 2 Stars
* 25 1 Stars
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Clair de lune version
David Lyttle - February 6, 2018, at 12:21 p.m.
1 comment  (291 views)
Re: Glazunov
Scott Denbina - May 9, 2016, at 11:12 a.m.
1 comment  (282 views)
Synthesis of Chopin and Tchaikovsky
Scott Denbina - May 9, 2016, at 10:51 a.m.
1 comment  (298 views)
Donald Scott - November 7, 2012, at 8:42 p.m.
1 comment  (701 views)
A possible insight into Conti's inspiration   Expand >>
Dave Norlin - April 24, 2012, at 7:36 p.m.
2 comments  (1338 views)
Newest: April 26, 2012, at 2:23 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1986 Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 37:15
The Right Stuff: (18:01)
• 1. Breaking the Sound Barrier (4:46)
• 2. Almost Ready (1:26)
• 3. The Training (1:17)
• 4. Glenn's Flight (5:19)
• 5. Yeager's Triumph (5:15)

North and South: (19:14)
• 6. Main Title (3:47)
• 7. Southern Life (1:39)
• 8. Love in the Chapel (4:06)
• 9. A Close Call (2:02)
• 10. Returning Home (2:15)
• 11. Last Embrace (2:59)
• 12. Final Meeting (2:32)
2009 Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 37:26

Notes Icon
The insert of the 1986 album includes no extra information about the recording or the scores or films represented. It was, however, of the generation to come with a foam circle to hold the CD in place. The 2009 limited album contains extensive information about Conti's initial involvement with the film and his resulting score.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Right Stuff are Copyright © 1986, 2009, Varèse Sarabande (Re-Recording), Varèse Sarabande (Film Recording) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/1/12 (and not updated significantly since).
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