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K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)

Harrison Ford , Sam Spruell , Kathryn Bigelow  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 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: Multiple Formats, 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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLGJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,172 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
132 of 139 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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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
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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35 of 40 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 Five Stars
great movie
Published 3 days ago by Robert N. Aly
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story
Published 4 days ago by Clyde Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie based upon factual events
Excellent movie based upon factual events. I found all segments of the movie terrific. There are a couple of very graphic scenes which I had to turn my head away from the TV but... Read more
Published 5 days ago by NOF
5.0 out of 5 stars wow, what a story and it's based on true ...
wow, what a story and it's based on true events......
Published 13 days ago by Patrick DuBos
4.0 out of 5 stars ... with Harrison Ford in it is going to be good - I onlyu rated it 4...
Anythink with Harrison Ford in it is going to be good - I only rated it 4 stars because there wasn't enough of him in this movie.
Published 21 days ago by David G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved the movie
Published 23 days ago by Alice Thacker
5.0 out of 5 stars An unflinching, brilliant film of heroism in its grisliest form
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who went on to make "Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty", this is a brilliant film, the true story of a gallant Soviet submarine crew... Read more
Published 26 days ago by JT
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
bought for a gift
Published 1 month ago by Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars Surface the movie
Sub movies are either really, really good or really, really bad...this one's good. Playing the part of a sub captain is rather rare among actors, and Ford commands!
Published 1 month ago by Felix Ferox
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by ronald bruckner
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