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K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)

Harrison Ford , Sam Spruell , Kathryn Bigelow  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Sam Spruell, Peter Stebbings, Christian Camargo, Roman Podhora
  • Directors: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Writers: Christopher Kyle, Louis Nowra
  • Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Brent O'Connor, Christine Whitaker, Dieter Nobbe, Edward S. Feldman
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 10, 2002
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLGJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,409 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "K-19: The Widowmaker" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "The Making of K-19"
  • 3 featurettes: Exploring the Craft, Breaching the Hull, It's in the Details

Editorial Reviews

Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Joss Ackland. The riveting drama of a Russian submarine crew that tries to avoid a nuclear meltdown during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Based on a true story. Includes director commentary, behind-the-scenes footage and more. 2002/color/138 min/PG-13/widescreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
123 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars emotionally compelling August 20, 2002
This exceptional film is inspired by tragic historical events. The screenplay is a composite, based equally on two separate Soviet naval disasters. The first, obviously, is the 1961 "cursed" maiden mission of K-19, Russia's pioneer nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. The second is a narrowly-averted catastrophe of 1986, involving the decrepit "Yankee-class" boomer, K-219. Ironically, the movie was also nearly scuttled -- before it even began production. The rough draft contained every Slavophobic stereotype and Cold War cliche', and was bitterly protested by K-19's surviving officers. They wtote a series of open letters to the producers and actors, inviting them to Russia to hear their real story. When director Katheryn Bigalow met these aging veterans and the widow of their recently-deceased Captain, she resolved to film a tribute to their courage. Much of the film's reference material comes from two superb books written by Capt. Peter Huchthausen USN-ASW (ret.): "K-19: The Widowmaker"; and "Hostile Waters". The former contains the translated memoir of Captain Nikolai Zateyev (real-life CO of the ill-fated sub) with an addendum about the film. The latter, co-authored with Capt. Igor Kurdin and novelist Robin White, tells the amazing story of K-219. I urge viewers to read both books for an even greater appreciation of the movie! You'll see that Harrison Ford is a dead-ringer for Zateyev, both physically and personality-wise. He commands the role of Vostrikov (Zateyev) to perfection. Liam Neeson's character, Capt. 2nd Rank Polenin, appears strongly based on K-219's Captain Igor Britanov, who was the compassionate father-figure popular with his crew. The Captains' contrasting styles of leadership provide the conflict in the film. Read more ›
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
After scanning some reviews I've decided to add my 2 cents, since I just got the DVD & saw the movie for the first time. To those who say it has very similar elements already visited in films such as "Crimson Tide," "U-571", etc., my reaction to that is, yes, you're right. The first half hour of this movie I was a bit concerned about where it was going. It had the "been here, done that" feel to it in regards to other "sub movies." I didn't buy Ford's accent at first (why? Because I know him from other movies, whereas if some unknown actor played the role, I wouldn't have questioned the authenticity or even the accent delivery at all), but as time passed, I didn't notice it as much and thought it was fine. In regards to the why do Americans put accents on in the first place when speaking English, it's really no big mystery, it simply adds to the setting. I suppose if you went the other extreme and gave them all harsh U.S. Southern accents, it would pull you even further away from believing in who they are portraying, so it's just like an extra prop that enhances the presentation.

To those historic critics who try to rip up every attempt Hollywood makes to tell a story, I have this to say: Sad as it may be, but if I had not seen "Schindler's List," I would not have as much an appreciation for the Holocaust. I don't read much history, so if Hollywood with it's jaded glitz & glamour can emotionally move me to appreciate a moment of history, then so be it! And speaking of important moment's of history, you should check out "Uprising," another great historic drama that deserves attention (about the Jewish ghetto uprising).

At any rate, now for why I give K-19 five stars. I enjoyed the drama, the tension, the cast, and the story. It's that simple.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A singularly impressive debut for National Geographic August 12, 2002
K19: THE WIDOWMAKER is a most impressive debut for National Geographic Feature Films, one of the movie's principal production partners.
The story is based on a Cold War event kept secret for decades. It's 1961, and the Soviet's first atomic powered ballistic missile submarine, the K-19, is scheduled for an operational shakedown cruise in the North Atlantic. The USSR wants to show the United States that the latter is not the only world power with waterproof big guns, so to speak, seeing as how the U.S. Navy has put Polaris subs within missile-lobbing range of Leningrad and Moscow.
Filmed in Canada and Moscow, this "Hollywood" version of the story has Captain Polenin (Liam Neeson) as commander of the K19 while it's still under construction in Murmansk. In a bad career move, he's vociferously unhappy about the quality of the boat's construction, and outspokenly suggests it's not ready for its first sea trial. Enter Captain Vostrikov (Harrison Ford), an in-law of a Politburo big shot, who takes command with Polenin as his executive officer. The submarine is duly launched, though the champagne bottle fails to break - a harbinger of bad luck, and off it goes to prove itself as the newest protector of the Motherland. At first, it looks like the operational sea trial will be a smashing triumph when the K19 successfully launches one of its three ballistic missiles. Take that, you Yankee imperialist dogs! But then, on its way under new orders to take up a patrol station off the eastern U.S. seaboard, the K19 develops a leak in its nuclear reactor's cooling system that gives a new dimension to the phrase "in hot water".
Borrowing and fixing up an actual Russian sub on permanent display in Florida (only in America!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great film, overlooked by many
this film directed by the same lady who did "the Hurt Locker" and Zero Dark Thirty is an excellent film, the amount of research and detail in the film is wonderful for all... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Rough Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent high tension action!
This movie tells the amazing story of the Soviet Union's first atomic missile sub and features the impressive skills of two of our greatest actors.
Published 1 day ago by Particular
5.0 out of 5 stars The Soviets Were People Too
That's an interesting thought coming from an old Cold Warrior.

Having been in a nuclear sub underway I can relate to these crewman. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Happy Camper
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Intense
Awesome movie. Very intense. It's a keeper in my opinion. A must see. Great movie Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
Published 12 days ago by Anna Lee Salinas
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS K-19: The Widowmaker [Blu-ray] IS AN AWESOME COMPELLING REAL...
What started off as Project 658. became the K19 Soviet (Hotel I Cass) Ballistic Missile Sub. K-19: The Widowmaker [Blu-ray] is a first rate DVD movie and blu-ray just makes the... Read more
Published 14 days ago by THE AUTISTIC WEREWOLF
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood drama about a real cold war "near disaster"
Both Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson give remarkable performances in this somewhat altered "true story" about a Soviet nuclear submarine, on patrol in the north Atlantic,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joseph H. Warren
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Film
A not well know Harrison Ford movie about a Cold War event that had tragic implications. Liam Neeson stars as well. Read more
Published 3 months ago by matt
4.0 out of 5 stars Submarine dangers
the man in the house will enjoy this one. But I was drawn in ,Harrison Ford can't be ignored. Strong story, the pride of men trying to do a hard job, without help from their own... Read more
Published 4 months ago by drewletta
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrison Ford in another good movie!
Beside just loving Harrison Ford as an actor, I love the movie. It is so worth watching more than once. It will also travel to 3 of my sister's houses so they can enjoy it too!
Published 4 months ago by Barbara
4.0 out of 5 stars when to respect the enemy? when they deserve it
As realistic as Das Boot set during WWII, with the modern update of nuclear reactors on the fritz, but with the same tedium of life aboard a submarine , claustrophobia and terror. Read more
Published 5 months ago by michael fowler
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