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Ice Station Zebra (2005)

Ernest Borgnine , Patrick Mc Goohan , John Sturges  |  G |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ernest Borgnine, Patrick Mc Goohan, Rock Hudson
  • Directors: John Sturges
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
  • Run Time: 148 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006B2A42
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,773 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ice Station Zebra" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Vintage making-of featurette: The Man Who Makes the Difference
  • Trailer gallery

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Out of step with the public mood when it was released in 1968, Ice Station Zebra has held up decently as a Guy's Movie. Based on an Alistair MacLean novel, the film is half submarine picture and half spy puzzler, short on action but long on military chatter and espionage gamesmanship. Rock Hudson, looking seasoned and just a little miffed, gives one of his better performances as the captain of a nuclear sub, ordered to the Arctic to check out a disturbance at a research station on the floating ice. He doesn't know the mission, but he's stuck with mysterious passengers: haughty British agent Patrick McGoohan, back-slapping Russian operative Ernest Borgnine, and hostile Marine captain Jim Brown. McGoohan gets the film's best lines and finest fur jacket, but Brown is pretty cool in a smaller role.

John Sturges directs, with customary deliberateness; at times the movie seems to be suffering from iron-poor blood. Much of the dialogue is pretty sharp, especially in the submarine half, enough to keep you engrossed if you're in the mood for this kind of thing. When the action shifts to the ice, the studio-bound sets inevitably take their toll. It's not hard to see how this large, old-fashioned project misfired in the era of Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate, but the more tantalizing question is: Why did this movie become an obsessive favorite of Howard Hughes? Maybe he liked how clean it all looks. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Patrick McGoohan. An American sub commander stationed in the North Pole unexpectedly finds himself in the middle of a brutal U.S.-Soviet conflict. John Sturges directed this suspenseful Cold War thriller. 1968/color/150 min/NR/widescreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Acting and Effective Production May 10, 2003
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
At times a taut and effective thriller that seems the pattern for much of Tom Clancy's books, "Ice Station Zebra" has a fairly simple plot: a space capsule with top secret photographs crashes, prompting a race between the Soviets and Americans to recover it from the polar icecap. Yet, the tension is kept reasonably high, even as much of the movie is spent aboard the U.S. submarine carrying the recovery team. Rock Hudson is, well, rock solid as the submarine captain--cool, thoughtful, and easy-going, he plays well against the skulking but ironic British spy (a teriffic Patrick MacGoohan, essentially playing the same part he always does in the way only he seems able to) that may or may not be a saboteur. Viewers will recognize other familiar faces--Jim Brown and Ernest Borgnine among them--that root the film in the 60s, and the whole production--including the cinematography, special effects, and score by Maurice Jarre--are topnotch. The only real weaknesses to the film are the mystery of who is the double agent and an action ending that seems almost anticlimactic when compared to the genuine tension in the rest of the story. Still, it's a better espionage thriller than most of those found in theaters today.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold war drama warms up on DVD April 1, 2005
Format:DVD
One of the better cold war dramas produced during the 60's, "Ice Station Zebra" isn't exactly an action adventure; it's more of an action drama. Most of the "action" is the dramatic conflict between Commander Ferraday (Rock Hudson) and his guests Boris Vaslov (Ernest Borgnine)a former Russian spy who now works for British Intelligence, MI-6 secret agent "David Jones" (the wonderful Patrick McGoohan) and Marine Captain Anders (Jim Brown). A nasty ice storm brews at the North Pole. When Ice Station Zebra calls for help the Tigerfish is sent north to break through the ice to save the men stationed there. That's the cover story. The reality is that a satellite has crashed in the arctic tundra and must be recovered before a Russian expeditition gets to it.

The image quality is stellar on this first time release from Warner Brothers. There's hardly any analog or digital artifacts. While there's no commentary track we do get the original promotional featurette on the movie "The Man Who Makes a Difference" and it's actually pretty good at providing behind-the-scenes footage about the shooting of a real Navy submarine to be integrated with visual effects into the movie. The big attraction here is a wonderful 5.1 remix of the original soundtrack. While it's not as active as, say, a brand new movie, it sounds pretty darn good with better depth and expanded sound than any previous incarnation of the movie on home video.

This was originally shot in SuperPanavision and, atlhough this is a widescreen presentation much like "2001: A Space Odyssey". It's a huge improvement on the previously cropped versions that have floated around. The original Overture from the roadshow edition of the movie has been restored to this version with Michel Legrand's marvelous score.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solid action flick..........but where's the DVD? July 13, 2003
A Kid's Review
Format:VHS Tape
Ice Station Zebra is one of my favorite flims next Where Eagles Dare, The Green Berets, and The Great Escape. I.S.Z. begins when Navy submarine commander James Farraday (Rock Hudson) is asked to take a British agent (Patrick McGoohan) to a remote outpost known as Ice Station Zebra to find a downed Russian satilite that contain top secret photos of Western missile installations. Tagging along with Farraday is a tough no-nonsense Marine captain, brilliantly acted by Jim Brown, fresh from his role as a prisoner turned soldier in Dirty Dozen. Also tagging along is a defecting Russian played by Oscar-winner Ernest Borgnine. And starring in a cameo in this picture is war movie veteran Lloyd Nolan who plays a U.S. admiral. This movie should have been nominated for Best Special Effects, Best Picture, Best Cinematgraphy, and for Best Sound Effects. I hope that this "lost" gem of a movie is released on DVD format. I wish they would release it in DVD. If you love action movies about the cold war, give this movie a try, I recemend it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Cold War. March 12, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Released in 1968, "Ice Station Zebra" remains an engrossing, suspenseful thriller, well directed by John Sturges. With films like "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Great Escape" to his credit, you know that any movie directed by Mr. Sturges is going to hold your attention, even if--in this case--it clocks in at over two and a half hours.

The titular station is a weather outpost located close to the North Pole. Something has gone terribly wrong there, and an American nuclear submarine is sent on an urgent rescue mission. Nasty Arctic weather--and the polar ice cap--will not allow any other means of transport to reach "Zebra". Of course, there is a more sinister agenda here than trying to save the lives of a few stranded scientists. This is why the submarine has two espionage "experts" on board--one British and one Russian--as well as a platoon of marines.

Rock Hudson stars as the sub captain. While this role does not challenge Mr. Hudson's acting abilities, he is appropriately fearless and stalwart in the face of danger. Ernest Borgnine is our Russian secret service agent, working for the "West" as a "good Russian"--or is he ? Mr. Borgnine is a good actor, and after the first few scenes, I found myself accepting him in this role. Jim Brown is the tough-as-nails marine leader. I would never call him a great actor, but Mr. Brown is certainly convincing as someone nobody wants to annoy ! Real acting honours in this movie go to Patrick McGoohan as the British "agent". Fondly remembered for his sixties TV series "Danger Man" ( aka Secret Agent ) and "The Prisoner", it will always be a mystery to me why Mr. McGoohan did not choose to make a greater number of films and become a huge star. Frankly, for me at least, he steals the film.
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