The Bedford Incident (1965)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  12 November 1965 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,390 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 14 critic

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



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »



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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 Schreiber ...
Seaman 2nd Class - Bridge (as Stephen Von Schreiber)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

reporter | ship's crew | nato | navy | nuke | See All (38) »


As earth-shattering, and unexpected, as catching lightning in a bottle! See more »


Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 November 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Zwischenfall im Atlantik  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As the actions of the Captain become more obsessive, Munceford tells him "You're not chasing whales now!" This is a reference to Captain Ahab, the single-minded whaling captain in "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, whose obsession leads to the destruction of his crew, and on whom the character of Captain Finlander was ultimately based. See more »


Ensign Ralston (MacArthur) could not fire the ASROC by himself. Any nuclear weapon requires two people to coordinate the launch, including ASROCs, confirmed by a 1960s naval officer. See more »


Commodore Schrepke: That permission specifically said "if the sub is still in territorial waters", is that not so?
Captain Finlander: A matter of interpretation, Commodore.
Commodore Schrepke: But the Russian is in international waters. The ocean is free, my captain.
Captain Finlander: Yeah, so it is.
Commodore Schrepke: So you have lost your opportunity. It was magnificent -
Captain Finlander: Look, if I catch a man robbing my house and he makes a break for the street, do I let him go just because he made it to the sidewalk?
See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Brilliant Cold War thriller
5 August 2002 | by (Wootton Bassett, England) – See all my reviews

For me, this is one of the best movies of the cold war era, up there with the likes of "Fail Safe" and "On the Beach". Extremely well directed and acted, it should be on any collector's shelf as DVD when so released. The tension is maintained throughout and the climax is one of the best in a film that I have ever seen. Also significant is the fact that Sidney Poitier's colour is never an issue either verbally or by implication, something quite remarkable for a movie made over 35 years ago.

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