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Secrets of the Dead: The Man Who Saved the World

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This film explores the dramatic and little-known events that unfolded inside a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. While politicians sought a solution to the stand-off, Vasili Arkhipov, an officer aboard the submarine, refused to fire a nuclear torpedo, thus averting disaster. The program combines tense drama with eyewitness accounts and expert testimony about a critical event during the Cold War.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009B0L3L0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,446 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Dr. Strangelove...is the story plausible? I was alive during the Cuban missile crisis - and yes Americans thought that world wide nuclear destruction was possible if the commanders in chief of the two nuclear powers were reckless in their decision making. Alas, I never understood that the Soviets made the colossal mistake of giving power to destroy the earth to much lower level submarine officers - men who could act without clear orders from the Kremlin. When one Russian submarine was being harassed by American destroyers during the crisis, the vessel captain thought the superpowers had already started World War III. So...the commander of the vessel gave the unthinkable order to launch his "secret weapon" immediately. Thankfully, military protocol required two other persons on the submarine to agree with his decision. One did...one did not. Our savior? Basil Archipov.

As it turned out, naval officer Basil Archipov had earlier been on board a Russian nuclear submarine K-19 which had serious reactor problems. It unleashed deadly radiation and killed quite a few crew members trying to deal with the problem. Officer Archipov knew first hand the horrors of atomic radiation and he must have used that experience to veto the decision to launch nuclear bombs at the United States. (Later he died from that radiation)

When too many are using guns or car bombs to attack civilians, innocents, even children, it is reassuring to know that there are still clear thinking individuals who have the sense to put an end to "grand violence."

From my heart, I thank you Mr. Archipov; I do hope your wisdom and restraint prevails in the future.

I gave the movie 4 stars rather than 5 because it only hints at the Soviet dissatisfaction with Basil Archipov and the submarine crew when the vessel limped back to Russia after being forced to surface and return home. That part of the story needs to be told also.
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The Man Who Saved The World PBS 2012 NR DVD
PBS occasionally produces these historical documentaries suitable for a 1-hour TV show, and later releases them on DVD. They make for some pretty interesting histories, and the profit is used by PBS to help fund new projects.
This one is about the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, and in particular the mission of 4 Soviet submarines.
As the US became aware of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba and demanded their removal, Russia sent 4 submarines each armed with one nuclear missile, to dock at a harbor in Cuba (to be used as counter pressure to US demands). Later as the US announced a naval “quarantine”, Moscow communicated to them not to enter the harbor but to make to the Sargasso sea (near Cuba) and there standby undetected until they received further instructions.
Several facts then complicated the situation. The sub commanders were authorized to fire on attacking vessels without approval from higher up. However launching their nuclear missile would require the approval of the head of the Navy, who was on board one of the submarines.
Russia would have sent nuclear-fueled subs on this mission but for a meltdown on board one of their nuclear powered subs not long before, which led them to ground the rest of that fleet until they could prevent a recurrence. As a result the subs they sent on this mission were of the older diesel-electric variety. They had to resurface every 12 hours or so to charge their electrical systems (the film didn’t explain the science of that) which put them at a much greater risk of being spotted. Plus, they did not have air conditioning.
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I think that this episode is one of the best done by Secrets of the Dead. It was very interesting and chilling to know that one man prevented WWIII and possibly the destruction of the world. It's good to know a little something about the nuclear submarine K-19 (nicknamed the Widowmaker) before you watch this episode.
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Terrific video. Saw it on TV and had to have it. If today's generation think Isis is a big threat, they should have been around when we were kids back then. This is all "class C" ball compared to the U.S. - Soviet nuclear showdowns we faced.
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This is truly an amazing documentary. I never knew how close we were to a Nuclear War during the Cuba Missile Crisis. It even had our government scared! You will never know how close we were to War we were until you see it for yourself!
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A very well made film which should regularly be shown on TV so that the politicians and people in general become aware of the danger we are all living in as long as nuclear weapons exist and start to act now to get rid of these inhumane weapons
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I was there an didn't know this was going on at the time. I've always felt this is the closest we have ever been to WWIII
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By daemon0 on November 29, 2014
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video and sound ok, but subtitle isn't.

there are no extras, too bad because there's more to the story.

it would have been nice to provide more of nuclear sub that had radiation leak which caused the use of diesel subs.
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