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Space Shuttle Lives Forever on Film

As NASA readies last flight, we find 5 movies where the shuttle stars

The Core, Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Greenwood, 2003

Hilary Swank stars with Bruce Greenwood in The Core. — Photo by Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

The Core (2003)

The most patently ridiculous big-budget sci-fi movie of the past decade — the story of a crew venturing to the center of the Earth in order to kick-start the planet's magnetic field — opens with the most over-the-top shuttle adventure ever. For reasons that were clear at the time, but which I've frankly forgotten, shuttle commander Robert Iverson (Bruce Greenwood) is forced to set the craft down in the Los Angeles River (after first buzzing Dodger Stadium). As a reward for endangering the lives of millions instead of ditching the shuttle in the nearby, hard-to-miss Pacific Ocean, Iverson gets the assignment of a lifetime: piloting a giant drill made of a melt-proof metal called unobtanium (a name worthy of Rocky and Bullwinkle, who famously owned a deposit of the top-secret weightless element upsidasium).

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