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Bear Island (1979)

On the remote Norwegian Bear Island, used as a submarine base by the Germans during WW2, U.N. scientist Larsen sends a distress signal using an emergency NATO frequency and is received by scientific vessel Morning Rose.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Lansing
Heddi Lindquist
Otto Gerran
Judith Rubin
Paul Hartman
Inge Van Zipper
Nicholas Cortland ...
Marine Technician
Candace O'Connor ...
Laboratory Assistant
Joseph Golland ...
Meteorological Assistant
Richard Wren ...
Radio Operator


A group of people converge on a barren Arctic island. They have their reasons for being there but when a series of mysterious accidents and murders take place, a whole lot of darker motives become apparent. Could the fortune in buried Nazi gold be the key to the mystery? Donald Sutherland and Vanessa Redgrave investigate. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

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Below freezing and beyond fear... Will anyone survive its terror?


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Release Date:

August 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alistair MacLean's Bear Island  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


CAD 12,100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shooting the film too far north in the Canadian province of British Columbia was not conduced due to the problems with short days where the amount of time per day of natural light was limited. See more »


When everyone is outside after the generator explosion it is blowing a blizzard, but the flames are rising vertically with minimal wind disturbance rather than being virtually horizontal, revealing that wind machines are being used just on the area where the actors are. See more »

Crazy Credits

Coming Soon Alistair Maclean's GOODBYE CALIFORNIA See more »


Referenced in From Stereo to Video (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Icebound thriller gets frosty reception
13 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

The UK-Canada co-production treaty of the late Seventies produced a lot of dross. "Bear Island" is better than some of its companions but still no classic.

Alistair MacLean's novel was a turgid affair, written at the start of his long decline as a writer. The film-makers wisely ditch most of his plot but the story they substitute, about an icy hunt for wartime Nazi gold, is no masterpiece of originality. Vanessa Redgrave's Norwegian accent comes and goes (at times, she sounds like the Swedish chef from "The Muppets") and Donald Sutherland tries for depth by speaking - very - very - slowly. Anybody who has seen a few of these films won't take long to guess the identity of the "mystery" villain.

On the credit side, the locations are spectacular and Robert Farnon's music score is appropriately portentous. Don Sharp knows how to direct action (he had been brought in a few years earlier to ginger up another MacLean adaptation, "Pupper On a Chain") and the fights are well-staged.

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