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The Bedford Incident (1965)

Richard Widmark , Sidney Poitier , James B. Harris  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, James MacArthur, Martin Balsam, Wally Cox
  • Directors: James B. Harris
  • Writers: James Poe, Mark Rascovich
  • Producers: Richard Widmark, James B. Harris, Denis O'Dell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 23, 2003
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AMRUP
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,725 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bedford Incident" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Nerve-racking suspense surrounds THE BEDFORD INCIDENT, the tale of a U.S. Naval vessel on a routineNATO patrol that ends up in a freakish showdown with a Russian submarine. Richard Widmark is Capt. Eric Finlander, the maniacal commander who drives his tense crew to the brink of nervous exhaustion.Sidney Poitier is Ben Munceford, a photojournalist aboard The Bedford, assigned to record a "typical" mission. His moral indignation is put to the test by the captain's obsession with forcing the subto the surface. Several crew members are at their breaking points as Finlander continues his prowl.Especially affected is a former German U-boat commander, now aboard the Bedford as a NATO observer,portrayed by Eric Portman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great performance, good film August 7, 2004
Similar to some other films of the cold war genre ("Seven Days in May", "Fail-Safe"), this has a decidedly anti-war/anti-military slant, where in this case the two people who are most "in control" are a journalist, played by Sidney Poitier, and an ex-Nazi naval commander (well played by Eric Portman).

This is Richard Widmark's show though, who with his craggy looks and fierce eyes makes the most of his part as Eric Finlander, captain of the U.S.S. Bedford, patrolling the icy waters of the North Atlantic, looking for Soviet submarines. Finlander is a loose cannon, bypassed for promotion, and irrationally hard on his crew.

Others in the cast of note are James MacArthur, very good as a young ensign, Martin Balsam as the ship's doctor, Wally Cox, Michael Kane, and in a small part, Donald Sutherland, recognizable more by his unique voice than his face.

The sound is fantastic; from the first few minutes, with its combination of excellent modernistic score by Gerard Schurmann, howling wind, and circling helicopter, it captures one's attention, and keeps the tension going in this fine sea thriller. It also has some stylish b&w cinematography by Gilbert Taylor, with terrific contrast of light and shadow.

Entertaining and well paced, with every minute of Widmark's screen time riveting, this taut drama is well worth spending 102 minutes of your time on.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "If he fires one, I'll fire one"... July 23, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Prophetic words from this mid 60's cold war drama.
Richard Widmark stars as Captain Eric Finlander, the commander of the USS Bedford, a sub-chasing destroyer on patrol in the Denmark Strait. The Captain runs the tightest of ships, stands no nonsense, and keeps his men on a sharp edge. Recent arrivals on board his ship, are Ben Munceford, a reporter on assignment (Sidney Poitier) and the ship's new medical officer, Lt. Commander Chester Potter (Martin Balsam). The Bedford's current assignment, is to track the movements of a Russian submarine, code named "Big Red". After reporting that "Big Red" has violated international law, Finlander is ordered to just track the sub, and maintain surveillance, and not initiate a confrontation. A restrained Finlander grows restless, as the Russian sub runs under the ice. Another guest aboard the Bedford is Commodore Schrepke (Eric Portman), current West German Navy Officer, and a former German U-boat man. An expert on the subject of submarines, Findlander turns to him for analysis and advice. "Big Red" must surface sometime to take on air, and the Bedford trails, waiting. While negotiating through treacherous ice filled waters, the sub apparently hits something underwater, and disappears from the Bedford's sonar. This is the sets the stage for the film's memorable conclusion.
Widmark commands attention as Finlander, a man who believes that he knows the proper way to deal with the enemy. Given this chance, he refuses to back off from teaching the Russians a lesson. Poitier, is solid as a reporter, who must constantly monitor his actions, so as to remain in the Captain's favor. Balsam, is amusing as an ex-civilian doctor, just returned to active duty. Attempting to implement his ideas into the ship's routine, and hitting a brick wall.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense, exciting Cold War drama August 7, 2004
The Bedford Incident is an excellent Cold War drama that I had never heard of before seeing it recently on television. The USS Bedford is on patrol duty in the North Atlantic off of Greenland when two guests are brought aboard, a journalist hoping to document the life on a destroyer and the new doctor for the ship. Once aboard, the two men find a crew pushed to their absolute limit by their captain, Eric Finlander. When a Russian nuclear sub is found in territorial waters, the Bedford receives orders to track the sub. What follows is a tense, exciting drama that all builds up to a powerful and surprising climax. Don't be confused though, this is not an action movie, but a character driven study about the effects of war on your average seaman. Very exciting from beginning to end and highly recommended for an excellent Cold War drama.

Richard Widmark is great as hard-nosed, patriotic, Captain Eric Finlander, the captain of the Bedford who is constantly pushing his crew to their limits during the sub chase. Equally as good is Sidney Poitier as Ben Munceford, the journalist on board looking for a good story. James MacArthur gives an excellent supporting role as Ensign Ralston, the young officer trying to constantly prove himself onboard the Bedford. Martin Balsam plays Lt. Cmdr. Chester Potter MD, the new doctor trying to find his niche on board. The movie also stars Wally Cox as Seaman Merlin Queffle, Eric Portman as Wolfgang Schrepke, an observing German officer and former U-boat captain, and Michael Kane as Cmdr. Allison, Finlander's executive officer. The DVD offers widescreen presentation, but I would love to see a special edition DVD released with commentaries or at least trailers. For a tense, exciting Cold War drama with a great cast, check out The Bedford Incident!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting study of cold war psychology April 23, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
One of my all time favourites this. The Bedford incident is, of course, a little reminisant of Dr. Strangelove (Hardly surprising considering Harris co-produced the earlier film) but does without the wonderfully black humour that laced Kubrick's masterpiece, which all cold-war films are invariably, and inevitably judged by.
Instead, it relies upon good old traditional suspence -and it works brilliantly, especially as Harris was clearly going all-out for authenticity. The frighteningly realistic tracking of a Soviet submarine, and the ghastly consequences of pushing too hard hit far too close for comfort. I suspect we'll never know just how close. The cast is first rate -Widmark as the Bedford's obsessive, slightly maverick captain turns in one of his all time greatest performances in this sadly forgotten work, as does Poitier as a journalist unfortunate enough to be along for the ride. Tense, claustraphobic and utterly bleak, it will forever be judged by, and remain in, the shadow of its better known cousin -an unfortunate circumstace, for while Kubrick's is ultimately the more effective film, The Bedford Incident at least earned the right to stand alongside it with honour. It's a genuine classic, and well worth watching.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Just as I remembered it. Excellent!
Published 2 days ago by Whiteknight87
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting suspense well directed with fantastic performances by the...
An overlooked gem. Riveting suspense well directed with fantastic performances by the cast, especially Richard Widmark. Definitely a worthy cautionary tale, even today.
Published 5 days ago by Dock
5.0 out of 5 stars A good movie and lesion for America's patriotic Neocons
We thought the cold war was over, wrong. A good movie and lesion for America's patriotic Neocons. This and the "Guns of August" as a reading book should be required for all... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Walter Steigerwald
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 8 days ago by Dr. Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent account of intrigue on the high seas.
Published 15 days ago by Richard Bello
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film - totally rocks your world
I remember seeing this film as a teenager at the movie theater. There was total silence at the end; no one moved. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Kathleen Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie.
Thrilling story of a naval officer in command who is obsessed with harassing a soviet submarine. This officer is a knock off of Capt who chased Mobybadick. A great movie.
Published 1 month ago by John Hickey
4.0 out of 5 stars Great cast, great plot.
Overbearing captain, fearful crew, and a journalist watching the interaction between them makes for an interesting film. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pam D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my 3 favorite movies!
Published 1 month ago by Jerry H. Crabtree
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is an awesome movie & one of my husband's favorites.
Published 1 month ago by Gail Vold
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