First Man true story: How much of First Man is true?

October 13, 2018
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First Man is launching into cinemas on Friday, October 12.

Ahead of the theatrical debut, there is a lot to unpack about the story.

And despite all the evidence, some people still think the moon landing was a hoax.

Regardless of your stance on the veracity of the moon landing itself, turning truth into popular entertainment always involves a bit of embellishment.

But how much embellishment did First Man do?

First Man is based on the only official biography of Neil Armstrong.

The book, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong was published in 2005.

Armstrong gave the author James R. Hansen his full support in writing the biography.

First Man

First Man: The movie is based on a biography, but movies still take liberties… (Image: UP)

Did Neil and Janet really dance to the song Lunar Rhapsody?

Yes, according to the biography.

First Man’s director Damien Chazelle (La La Land) told People.com: “It was a track that Neil and Janet shared with each other and that Neil wound up bringing with him on the Apollo 11 mission.”

“It’s quite appropriate, but it’s this sort of weird Theremin orchestral track from the early days of the Theremin.”

A Theremin is an electric instrument with metal antennas.

Did Neil Armstrong really lose a daughter?

Sadly, yes, the couple lost their daughter when she was only two-years-old.

Karen Armstrong died on January 28, 1962, of brain cancer.

During an interview about the biography, Armstrong said: “I thought the best thing for me to do in that situation was to continue with my work.

“To keep things as normal as I could, and try as hard as I could not to have it affect my ability to do useful things.”

First Man

First Man: The scene in which Armstrong’s house burns down is based in reality (Image: UP)

Did Neil Armstrong’s home catch fire?

Yes, during spring 1964 the family home caught fire.

No one was seriously injured in the fire.

Did Neil Armstrong almost die while training for the lunar landing?

On May 6, 1968, Neil Armstrong was piloting one of the LLRV vehicles about roughly 100 feet above the ground and almost died in its crash.

Helium, which is used to pressurize the fuel tanks, began to deplete which led to a failure of his flight controls and the vehicle went into a roll.

Armstrong ejected and parachuted safely to the ground.

Future analysis of the crash showed if he had ejected a half a second later, his parachute would not have deployed in time.

First Man

First Man: Though Armstrong did narrowly escape death, he did not sustain these injuries (Image: UP)

However, the movie takes liberties with Armstrong’s injuries.

In the movie, Armstrong is shown to have suffered facial injuries – scrapes and bruises.

In real life, Armstrong was uninjured, save for having bit his tongue as he landed.

Did Neil Armstrong leave the famous footprint on the moon?

No, the footprint belongs to Buzz Aldrin.

First Man

First Man: Claire Foy plays Armstrong’s wife Janet, whom he was later divorced from (Image: UP)

Did Neil Armstrong and Janet stay together?

The movie focuses on a brief window in Armstrong’s life, and the final scene gives no clues as to the eventual dissolution of their marriage.

Despite what looks like reconciliation in the film, in reality, the pair separated after 38 years of marriage.

Janet divorced Armstrong on April 12, 1994.

Armstrong remarried Carol Held Knight two months later.

First Man did not take too many liberties with its source material.

Instead, the movie stuck close to the true story of Armstrong’s incredible life and achievements.

First Man is in cinemas now.



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