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The Bedford Incident (1965)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,102 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 14 critic

An American destroyer captain is determined to confront a Soviet submarine caught violating territorial waters. Perhaps too determined.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.
...
Ben Munceford
...
Ensign Ralston (as James Macarthur)
...
Lieut Cmdr. Chester Potter, M.D., U.S.N.
...
Seaman Merlin Queffle
Eric Portman ...
Commodore Wolfgang Schrepke Deutsche Marine
Michael Kane ...
Commander Allison Executive Officer - Bridge
Colin Maitland ...
Seaman Jones - Bridge
Paul Tamarin ...
Seaman 2nd Class - Bridge
Frank Lieberman ...
Seaman 1st Class - Bridge
James Caffrey ...
Seaman 1st Class - Bridge
Burnell Tucker ...
Seaman 1st Class - Bridge
Michael Graham ...
Lieutenant Krindlemeyer U.S.N. - Bridge
Bill Edwards ...
Lieutenant Hazelwood U.S.N. - Bridge
Stephen von Schreiber ...
Seaman 2nd Class - Bridge (as Stephen Von Schreiber)
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Storyline

Richard Widmark plays a hardened cold-warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. Sidney Poitier is a reporter given permission to interview the captain during a routine patrol. Poitier gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub in the depths and the captain begins a relentless pursuit, pushing his crew to the breaking point. This one's grim tension to the end. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

High adventure on the high seas, from the company that gave you "The Caine Mutiny"! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

3 December 1965 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Zwischenfall im Atlantik  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the Bedford's captain, "Eric Finlander" (played by Richard Widmark) is an obvious reference to the nation of Finland, which has a long and troubled history with its much larger neighbor to its east, the USSR/Russia. Finland was actually part of Russia for more than a century and as an independent nation fought Russia in the Winter War and the Continuation War, which together cost Finland 10 percent of its population and in which Russia's war dead totaled more than 300,000. See more »

Goofs

The German officer is using British Barr and Stroud naval binoculars. See more »

Quotes

Captain Finlander: Trouble with that kid, he can't forget what a big hero he was. Star quarterback... voted Most All-Around, Most Likely, Most Popular... that one he's still bucking for. The only way to cut him down to size is to keep on him.
Commander Allison: Yeah, if he survives.
Captain Finlander: Well, I hammer too hard, you let me know.
Commander Allison: I'll try.
Captain Finlander: Yeah, it's a lot of work being a mean bastard.
Commander Allison: Hmm. Sometimes I can't help admiring how effortlessly you do it, captain. Almost as if it came naturally.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Excellent cold-war film
3 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Richard Widmark is a determined naval ship captain in "The Bedford Incident," which also stars Sidney Poitier, Eric Portman, Martin Balsam, James Macarthur, and Wally Cox. This is quite a different meeting from the one Widmark and Poitier had in "No Way Out," where Widmark is a bigot who lashes out at Poitier. Poitier in this film plays a journalist, and there is never any mention of his color. This is not only remarkable but marvelous. Martin Balsam is the ship's new doctor. Poitier and Balsam board ship together and pick up almost immediately that there is a tension on board and that the men are intimidated by their cold, tough captain.

The Bedford's assignment is to patrol for Russian subs and ships.

When a submarine is detected in the area, the captain seems to want to take the matter too far. Portman, as a German adviser, disagrees with him.

The role of the captain, Finlander, is the type of role normally associated with Widmark, and he is excellent as an uncompromising man reminiscent of Captain Queeg. Poitier turns in a stellar performance, which really builds as he becomes more and more concerned about the captain and the potential international situation. Martin Balsam is very good, actually providing, along with Wally Cox, a little comic relief.

The scenes showing the gray sea and huge icebergs might be dated now, given what film technology is capable of, but they are no less evocative of the atmosphere. After the buildup of drama and tension, the last moments of the film are incredibly exciting - staggering even. And you'll do what I did - just sit and stare at the words "The End." A very good film.


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