Stanley Kubrick Faked the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969, Or So the Conspiracy Theory Goes

This week is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon. And while most people will celebrate the event by acknowledging the abilities and courage of Neil Armstrong and company in this landmark of human endeavor, a small, though vocal, group of people will decry the moon landing as a fraud.

In that spirit, French filmmaker William Karel spins an elaborate tale of intrigue in Dark Side of the Moon, which you can see above. The 2002 film posits that the Apollo 11 moon landing was staged by none other than Stanley Kubrick. How else did the director get his hands on a super advanced lens from NASA to shoot those gorgeous candle-lit scenes in Barry Lyndon? The film is slickly produced and features an impressive array of interviewees from Henry Kissinger, to Buzz Aldrin to Christiane Kubrick. Some of the other people interviewed include Jack Torrance and David Bowman. If that’s not a tip off that the whole movie is fake, then the blooper reel at the end drives the point home. Only a lot of people didn’t get the joke. Conspiracy enthusiasts Wayne Green cited the movie as further proof that the moon landing was faked.

Moon hoaxers like to point to The Shining as a confession by Kubrick that he was forced into a Big Lie. In the documentary Room 237, conspiracy theorist and leading Sandy Hook truther Jay Weidner claims as much. And Michael Wysmierski argues the same in The Shining Code 2.0, a feature length video that you can watch below. Or get right to the meat of things here.

And just in case you get swept up in Wysmierski’s loony logic, filmmaker S. G. Collins makes the very compelling argument that the technology simply didn’t exist to fake the moon landing in 1969. Case closed.

Related Content:

Stanley Kubrick’s Very First Films: Three Short Documentaries

Room 237: New Documentary Explores Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Those It Obsesses

Rare 1960s Audio: Stanley Kubrick’s Big Interview with The New Yorker

Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow.


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  • jean duffle says:

    Great article! I would like to add that the facts S.G. Collins states have been criticized and have led to further debate and counter-videos, which are quite interesting for those seeking further information on the audio/video technology of the time (see:

  • mary says:

    Why didnt you discuss the lunar landing?it looks like pieces of tin foil and cardboard with tape on it

  • rod says:

    Parts of the lunar lander WERE made of aluminum foil!

    One of the astronauts said “if you weren’t careful, you could put a boot through it” which of course would be the end of life

  • Chris says:

    “filmmaker S. G. Collins makes the very compelling argument that the technology simply didn’t exist to fake the moon landing in 1969”

    — Yes but he didn’t have any idea of NASA’s available technology, only what he as a film-maker had access to.

  • Ace says:

    Propaganda at its finest.

  • Siegfried Marquardt says:

    Abstract mathematical-physical refutation of Apollo 11 and N

    1. After Sternfeld (1959) only two 14-day constellations and a 60-day scenario should exist to reach the moon with an artificial spacecraft from Earth and land on the earth. Regardless of the theoretical facts and details of Sternfeld, required the research satellite SMART I, which was launched end of September 2003, 49 days until the moon level and five months until the probe einmündete in lunar orbit. And successfully running in the December 2013 lunar expedition of Chinese probe Chang`e-3 proved impressively that it takes at least 14 days to cope with the distance from the Earth to the Moon. This Apollo 11 would already impressively refuted empirically because a putative 8-day regime that is allegedly practiced with Apollo 11 and drilled, astrophysical theoretically and empirically does not exist!

    2. The cosmic radiation, which would have affected the astronauts within eight days would have been absolutely hopeless! After all, you would have incorporated a lethal dose of at least 11 Sv to 26 Sv depending on the chosen model calculation. if you are in this context to the high-energy particle density in the cosmos and to the particle stream the sun with the solar constant of 8.5 * 1015 MeV / m * s thinking. The astronauts had the flight to the moon and back in any case not survive.

    3. It was missing a total of 163 tons of rocket fuel to get from Earth to the moon and from there back to Earth by NASA on the given loop-shaped trajectory. Furthermore, the amount of fuel and the former fuel parameters would have a moon charge and even boot from the moon under the former conditions impossible. Alone for the transition from the elliptical trajectory close to the Moon would be for the braking of the CSM + LM with a total of 45.3 t mass of the 2.3 km / s to 1.7 km / s for the lunar orbit [2,72 high (0 , 6: 2,6) -1] * t = 45.3 (1.26 -1) * 45.3 * 45.3 t = 0.26 ≈ 12 tonnes of fuel have been necessary! The remaining three tons a moon landing would not have been possible and start from as little moon! On the Moon, LM did not have 14 t, but (15-8) t = 7 t!

    4. Reconstruction of the command module at a predetermined height by NASA of 3.23 m and a diameter of 3.9 m, resulting in the end can only result a total volume of about 12.9 m³, showed that after deduction of the declared internal volume of 6.23 m³ volume of the outer cell of the command module only about 6.7 m³ could include. With a mass of 5.9 t the density of the command module would thus have to be only about 0.9. This would “afford” not even paper or cardboard! Another mathematical optimization was then that the outer cell only from a 2.5 cm thick aluminum layer could exist – without the heat shield. If one half of the total mass of 5.9 tonnes for a heat shield as a basis, the heat shield could consist of only 2 mm thick steel. A commentary is superfluous almost: The command module would be in the earth’s atmosphere with a theoretically calculated braking temperature of at least 45,000 K like a shooting star burns!

    5. Even in a preliminary phase in the reconstruction of the Lunar Module according to NASA parameters after deduction of the alleged approx MTr = 10.8 t invoiced fuel mass of the starting compound with Mo = 15 t the Lunar Module merely remain only 4.2 t to empty weight, already with the material reconstruction of the cabin (about 1.1 tons), parts of the outer cell (1.3 t), and the declared weight (1.7 t), without taking into account the weight the astronauts with their space suits (400 kg), the mass of the tank and the two main engines of the Lunar Module (…) of 600 kg exceeded. Total lacked exceeding 3 tonnes construction mass, could be as originally stated by NASA and how 11 is impressive and convincing with the total reconstruction of the Luna module of Apollo.

    6. The declared by NASA thrust of 44.4 kN and 15.6 kN of the descending and ascending level does not match with the theoretically calculated thrust. There are significant differences here! (descending level: S = m * ve = 16.8 kg / s * 2560m / s ≈ 43 kN and rising level: S = 5.9 kg / s * 2560m / s = 15.1 kN).

    7. addition would be the Lunar Module at a speed of 215 m / s bounced and crashed on the moon, because the former fuel parameters such as the effective exhaust velocity of 2560 m / s and the mass ratio of the descending level of 15 t to 6.8 t only permitted a maximum speed burnout of 2025 m / s [vB = ve * ln (Mo: ML) = 2560m / s * ln (15: 6,8) = 2560m / s * 0.79 = 2025 m / s]. Taking away the 570 m / s, which are caused by the moon’s gravity from, so you get only a resultant velocity of 1455 m / s. It could have been so ago by the technical and physical parameters, can be held no moon landing!
    It is on the other hand almost pointless to be mentioned that the rising level only a resulting burnout velocity of around 1500 m / s could have and therefore does not enter the orbit would be as it had a speed difference to the orbital velocity of 170 m / s in this case would.

    8. Furthermore, the pendulum behavior of the flag on the moon is extremely treacherous! For the pendulum period T, which is physically connected to the pendulum length l (l = 0.7 m) and the gravitational acceleration g (g = 9.81) to

    T = 2 * π * √ l: g (1)

    calculated, would have on the Moon

    T = 6.28 * √ 0.7 m 1.6 m /s ≈ 4.2 a (2)

    respectively. In the TV film documentaries period lasts but close to 2 s, as indicated on the earth. The exact calculation of the period for the earth yields accurate

    T = 6.28 * √ 0.7 m / 9.81 ≈ 1.7 s. (3)

    This time difference of 2.5 s is serious! In addition, a slightly damped periodic oscillation would arise on the moon, because there is no atmosphere is present on the moon. The increasing vibration is true but almost aperiodic. Summary: The shooting took place so unique on earth!

    9. A mechanical instability of the lunar module would have made an intact moon landing impossible! Every person on the planet has probably already seen a failed rocket launch when the rocket has already picked up a few meters from the launch pad and then fail the engines and do not produce more power. As a result, the rocket moves the physical laws of gravity accordingly again towards the launch platform and then tilts due to the mechanical instability simply because the center of gravity has changed dramatically. This would also be the fate of the lunar module of Apollo 11 was because shortly before landing an absolute instability of the ferry would have been! Because: Full expected gross, the rising level would have had to ground just before landing on the moon for about 5 t and the descending stage would have received under the fuel consumption of only 8 t only about 2 tons of empty weight had. As the focus of the Lunar Module must have lain on the moon exactly at 2.1 m before landing the ferry across the nozzle, the torques would like 2.5: 1 to 3:1 behaved. For an absolutely unstable mechanical system would be active! Even the smallest vibration, such as vibrations through the engine orpressure fluctuations in the effluent gases in the nozzle of the engine have the lunar position ferry can easily tip over!Amoon landing would indeed be “successful”, but a return from the moon would have been so impossible. However, sincê 11 have fortunately survived the imaginary adventures all actors of Apollo, it can be concluded razor sharp, no moon landing took place.
    The solution of the physical problem is that the focus of a lander simply must be at the level of the nozzle of the engine, such as the Chinese realize this in December 2013, and practiced.

    P. S. By the way, the author had the skeptical thoughts on the instability of the lunar module landing on the moon more than 45 years ago spontaneously for about 1 s had entertained!

    Siegfried Marquardt, Kingswells, February 2015

  • Fessell says:

    Amazing Mr Marquardt,
    You explained it so well!

  • Yaz says:

    Nice list of made-up nonsense Mr Marquardt.

    For example, take point number one, which is really unformed because you clearly don’t understand the reasons for the different times it takes spacecraft to reach the moon (and back to earth for some). In case you didn’t know, the USSR landed many craft on the moon, including returning samples back to earth during Luna 16, 20 and 24. The total mission times on average (from earth launch to capsule return to earth) for Luna 16, 20 and 24 was 12 days! Upon leaving the lunar surface, the capsules for those Luna missions ALL took THREE days to return to earth.

    So, you were saying?

    Now take point number 2 regarding cosmic rays. In low earth orbit, the body of the earth shields astronauts from about 1/3 of the cosmic rays and the magnetosphere deflects about another 1/3 of the cosmic rays. So it doesn’t take a mathematician to realise that the cosmic ray levels outside of earth’s magnetosphere is about 3 times higher than in low earth orbit.

    Now expand upon that….it means that in terms of radiation dosage due to cosmic rays, a 2 weeks Apollo mission would expose the astronauts to the about the same level of cosmic ray radiation as a 6 week mission in the International Space Station.

    The record stay for low earth orbit is 437 days, which is about the equivalent of a mission outside of earth’s magnetosphere lasting about 145 DAYS, about 12 of the longest Apollo missions!

    As for point number 8, you cannot compare the edge of a 5ft by 3ft swinging sheet of nylon cloth attached to a cross and flagpole in a vacuum to a pendulum attach to a fixed point on earth. Just the fact that you believe the two are comparible shows how little you know.

  • Carlos Garcia says:

    In 1969, technology didn’t exist to land a man on the moon (still doesn’t, why do you think they murdered Gus Grissom?). Case closed!

  • Perla says:

    Sure, sure (irony). Go study science, please.

  • oitucrem daed says:

    Apollo era. It’s hard to fake RS170 timing, though, isn’t it? Need those 6 pre-equalization + 6 serration pulses + 6 post-equalization pulses during part of the vertical blank interval and you need them skewed by one-half line in each of the interlaced fields. You need the 10.9 microsecond horizontal blanking intervals for the 240 display lines in the odd field and 240 display lines in the even field. That leaves 22 + 23 lines of vertical blanking to yield a total of 525 lines per frame. You can argue one could make a camera with alternative video timing (different oscillators and modulo dividers), but when it comes to displaying the results on TV monitors all over the world for Apollo era broadcasts, you would have still had to conform to the RS170 standard. That subsequent scan conversion process would negate any “slow motion” effects sought (and apparently championed by uneducated conspiracy theorists).

  • downthetube within says:

    Stanley Kubrick approached all projects from an artist’s perspective. It is very doubtful he contracted with NASA or wanted to have anything to do them, but you (at Open Culture) can always try asking his daughter, Vivian about it. Didn’t she play, Squirt, Dr. Floyd’s daughter in 2001, a Space Odyssey?

  • Sir Kevin Parr Bt says:

    i doubt not that Nixon allowed the fake just to stop Russia leading the space race. What concerns me is what will happen when the whole truth comes out of this enquiry. What then?

  • Defango says:

    He came out on Video 3 days before he died saying that he Faked 11, 13.

  • Shug says:

    The technology was so poor that they couldn’t even fake it!!!

    but did exist to go to the moon.

  • Nate says:

    Interview was a hoax dummy.

  • Ted Lemoine says:

    The statement that the more you understand about the world the more you realize you don’t know applies incredibly well here. To understand how calculations are made in rocket science or theoretical physics would help. The Van Allen belt for 1 which many deem too dangerous to fly through. The exact amount of radiation emitted while traveling through those belts is calculated into several other equations needed for a successful trip to the moon and back. To pretend you know a fraction of the knowledge it takes to be on the mission control team or be a part in any way of this voyage is laughable. Those who do possess that type of genius no longer argue the validity of the moon landings. They definitely don’t do so on social media or blogs. The mathematical formulas calculated are probably understood by less than 100 people on Earth. Think about the incredible amount of variables changing in real time and the demand to complete the mission as cost effective as possible. If you think you have the capacity to intellectually wrap your head around that then you’re either kidding yourself or you can’t understand how complicated a mission like this is. I only hope one day you can grasp it and realize how foolish you were at 1 point

  • mitchell carter says:

    If the technology didn’t exist to fake the moon landings, then the same argument can certainly be used to say that the technology of the day just wasn’t capable of sending a manned mission to the moon and returning it to earth.

    I have an open mind,on the one hand I do wonder how nasa could have pulled this off with the limited computing power available to them.

    The van allen radiaton issue is well known.
    But the thing that makes me wonder the most is how did the lunar lander provide enough thrust to break free of the moon’s gravity, the footage of the lander blasting off from the moon’s surface looks very odd to me.

    It doesn’t look natural,almost like it’s being lifted by a crane.

    On the other hand the Russians had infiltrated well into the american establishment,this was at the height of the cold war and if the Russians hadn’t been able to track Apollo 11 to the moon and back, or if Russian agents had found any suggestion that the landing was faked, they would have been crowing about it all over the place.
    It would have been one hell of a propaganda victory for them.

    I don’t know what to make of it all.

  • anon says:

    The biggest proof of Apollo fraud is the fact they went there 6 times in a row without a single hick-up (save for Apollo 13) in 1969-70s technology, while the success rate of today’s Mars missions is less than 54%.

    Secondly, you went to the moon six times and you never thought of leaving a visible mark (to large telescopes)?

    In fact the implausibility of Apollo with the technology available back then makes faking it a must.

  • anon says:

    The “Russians will blow the whistle” mantra is an utterly re-chewed garbage; it’s always used by Apollo lunatics as an evidence of the missions.

    In fact the Russians -even if they have evidence of fakery- they won’t use it, for many different reasons they are just too long to explain them here.

    It just doesn’t work like that in world politics and international relations, on a side note however, the Russians do indeed deny the authenticity of Apollo but not on official level nor capacity.

    However, of the major reasons is that the USSR itself had its own skeletons (Yuri Gagarin was not the first man in space) and not to mention they’re being paid by cheap wheat from the US. So, why would they shout foul? They aren’t stupid.

  • Yaz says:

    Anon, you said “In fact the Russians -even if they have evidence of fakery- they won’t use it, for many different reasons they are just too long to explain them here.”

    With all due respect, that’s a cheap cop out. If you believe what you’ve said, then provide the evidence to support your claim.

    An example of the weakness of your argument is the classic worn out claim about the USSR not revealing the hoax due to receiving cheap wheat from the US. The problem with that is, USSR didn’t receive wheat from the US until 1972 following fails crops, which was the year of the LAST Apollo moon landing.

    Search online for “The Great Grain Robbery” and explain how USSR’s failed crops and need to purchase grain in 1972 prevented the USSR from revealing a hoax with the Apollo moon landings that began 3 YEARS earlier in 1969!

  • Doesn't matter says:

    Indeed. We have no idea what kind of technology Nasa or related military firms have at their disposal. The technology they have retrieved after UFO crashed surpasses many times of what we think is possible. They are 50-100 years ahead of what public knows, and this since the early 1950’s.

  • Malcolm Shykles says:

    “NASA is now slowly and carefully working on a number of problems
    which should have been fully resolved decades ago if the Moon landings did really happen. Some progress was achieved over the last decade, but the impact is miniscule compared to the vast program of works allegedly completed over 40 years ago.”

  • Neil Armalate says:

    the sky and lake formed the letter A? omg i couldnt go any further.

  • Me says:

    Danny Torrence asks Halloran. “What is in MOON 237?” Watch the movie again. It is clear as day. He says MOON. Also, his bigwheel hits 10 pieces of carpet before his final liftoff when he has the Apollo 11 sweater on. And on the 10th time he hits carpet he approaches 237 but doesn’t go in. Just like Apollo 10 did with the moon. This theory has many many coincidences associated with it. The road they are traveling at the beginning of the movie is the road to the sun. The sun God is Apollo.

  • Doc Smith MD says:

    Very compelling arguments. But haven’t subsequent launches or improved optics made it possible to detect the materials allegedly left behind by nasa? One way or the other I’d like to know the truth. If we did it, great. If the whole thing was faked, I want to know.

    Something this important shouldn’t be left to debatable interpretations of old movies or grainy photos.

    Logically, I’d bet that over the last ~50 years somebody would have made a death bed declaration, to clear his conscience. If faked, a lot of very talented, dedicated men, were forced to live a lie.

    Great stuff! My thanks to those who contributed. Especially the mathematics.

  • Doc Smith MD says:

    I entered the U.S. Army Oct 24th, 1966. I was discharged, July 24th, 1969…..a few days after “the day”, or one of the days in question.

    The truth will set you free.

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