I Aim at the Stars

I Aim at the Stars is a 1960 biographical film which tells the story of the life of Wernher von Braun. The film covers his life from his early days in Germany, through Peenemünde, until his work with the U.S. Army, NASA, and the American space program.[2][3]

I Aim at the Stars
I Aim at the Stars poster.jpg
US Style B poster
Directed byJ. Lee Thompson
Produced byCharles H. Schneer
Written byJay Dratler (screenplay)
George Froeschel (story)
H. W. John (story)
Udo Wolter (story)
StarringCurt Jürgens
Victoria Shaw
Herbert Lom
Gia Scala
Music byLaurie Johnson
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Edited byFrederick Wilson
Morningside Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
19 August 1960
Running time
107 minutes
CountriesUnited States
West Germany

The film stars Curt Jürgens, Victoria Shaw, Herbert Lom, Gia Scala, and James Daly.[4]

The film was written by Jay Dratler based on a story by George Froeschel, H. W. John, and Udo Wolter.[5] It was directed by J. Lee Thompson.[6]

It was shot at the Bavaria Studios in Munich, with sets designed by the art director Hans Berthel.

The film was premiered in Munich on 19 August 1960; it subsequently opened in New York City and Los Angeles on 19 October and London on 24 November.[7] In Germany the film was titled Ich greife nach den Sternen ("I Reach for the Stars"). In Italy the film was released as Alla Conquista dell' Infinito.

Satirist Mort Sahl and others are often credited with suggesting the subtitle "(But Sometimes I Hit London)",[8] but in fact the line appears in the film itself, spoken by actor James Daly, who plays the cynical American press officer.

Dell published a comic book adaptation of the film with art by Jack Sparling as Four Color #1148 (Oct. 1960).[9]




Filming started in Munich in October 1959. Thompson said shortly before filming that "Many Britains feel Von Braun should have stood trial” as a war criminal and no sooner did I sign to direct the biopic when a sizable section of the press advised; ‘This motion picture should not be. made." He added that “The U-S.. didn’t hesitate a moment when Von Braun surrendered. They put him to work. Can rejection of a great brain be justified? Current examples of this dilemma are not wanting. And though I oppose rejection, in ‘Stars’ we will let the public decide for itself.”[10]

The film's release was delayed in Britain due to controversy over what was considered an overly-sympathetic depiction of Von Braun. Thompson argued the film "doesn't whitewash Van Braun" saying "we set out to present an honest study of a man's mind and life and that's what we have done. He's neither a hero nor a villain, neither all black or all white. He's simply a man of our times. To me the real villains are power politicians." Thompson said von Braun "wasn't entirely pleased" about the movie and did not know why the scientist let them make the movie. Thompson said he and von Braun "disliked each other on sight. And though I came to admire certain qualities in him - his dedication, for example - I can't help wondering what some of these scientists have in place of a heart."[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Because You are Still Being Beastly to the Germans . . . Author: Barry Norman Date: Wednesday, Sept. 14, 1960 Publication: Daily Mail p 8
  2. ^ "Cinema: The New Pictures, Oct. 17, 1960". Time. October 17, 1960. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (October 20, 1960). "Screen: About von Braun; 'I Aim at the Stars' Opens at the Forum". The New York Times. p. 42. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  4. ^ "Horatio Alger of the Iconoclasts--'I Aim at the Stars' Fails to Orbit". The Christian Science Monitor. October 20, 1960. p. 7.
  5. ^ "Film on Von Braun's Life Has Premiere". Los Angeles Times. October 3, 1960. p. C8.
  6. ^ "I Aim at the Stars (1960)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  7. ^ Kinematograph Weekly vol 521 no 2767, 13 October 1960
  8. ^ Morrow, Lance (August 3, 1998). "The Moon and the Clones". Time. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  9. ^ Four Color #1148 (Oct. 1960)
  10. ^ "Thompson Rolling Von Braun Biopic". Variety. 26 August 1959. p. 10.

External linksEdit