The American spaceship Ironmen and its three crew members set out for an orbiting space lab. After living in the lab for five months, the three astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth, but an unexpected technical failure makes it impossible for them to leave. Back at Houston Space Center, young scientist Dougherty suggests that a rescue mission be organized. His boss disagrees – the mission would be too risky. Nevertheless Dougherty takes off on a rocket he pilots himself. In the meantime, the Ironmen is about to run out of oxigen and expedition leader Pruett decides to sacrifice his life to save his men and abandons the ship. Dougherty and a Russian spacecraft will reach the Ironmen just in time to rescue the two surviving crew members.
«The film’s original title Marooned - a jargon word used to define sailors that were left behind on wild islands – is the ony obsolete term in a drama entirely based on the futuristic language of scientists, engineers and computers. This language is the most captivating and substantial feature of a film set in a technocratic world and paced by the «go!» commands from the control room. The finale, with a joint rescue operation mounted by Russians and Americans together, softens the intrinsic pessimism of a fictitious chronicle of the all-devouring anguish of the next few decades.» [Tullio Kezich].
An unquestionably spectacular film for its time, with a positive message of universal brotherhood, Marooned won the Academy Award for best visual effects in 1969.