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Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (1991)

TV Movie  -   -  Action | Drama | History  -  29 September 1991 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 536 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 2 critic

True story of the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, its crew's struggle to survive the sharks and exposure, and the captain's scape-goat court-martial.

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Title: Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (TV Movie 1991)

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Action | War

The harrowing true story of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were stranded in the Philippine Sea for five days after delivering the atomic weapons that would eventually end WWII. As ... See full summary »

Director: Mario Van Peebles
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Capt. Charles Butler McVay
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Lieutenant Steven Scott
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Lipscombe
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Kinderman
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D'Angelo
...
...
Chaplain
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Hashimoto
...
Tasker
...
Dobson
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Goldstein
...
Elias
...
Spilner (as Joe Carberry)
...
Major Green
Eddie Frias ...
Cortes
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Storyline

True story of the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, its crew's struggle to survive the sharks and exposure, and the captain's scape-goat court-martial.

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Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

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Release Date:

29 September 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mission of the Shark  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the scene where a seaplane lands at sea to rescue the crew, the plane used is a Grumman Albatross. However, this aircraft was not put into service until 1949. The real life aircraft that rescued the crew, was a Catalina PBY. See more »

Connections

Edited from Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
So So movie
25 October 2010 | by (charlotte nc) – See all my reviews

I'm glad a movie was made about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis but as usual, Hollywood has to screw it all up and use fictional characters, with the exception of Captain McVay, and fictional incidents. For instance, Richard Thomas's character was called Lieutenant Steven Scott but was based on Dr. Lewis Haynes. Why can't Hollywood just tell the story as it really happened and use real names like they did with Capt. McVay is beyond me.

I saw this movie first before reading the book "In Harms Way" which really gave you insight as to what happened and the negligence on the Navy's part. The Navy failed to give Cpt. McVay the intelligence it had that Japanese subs were in fact lurking along the Peddie route he was taking. A US destroyer had been sunk in the vicinity a week earlier. This is information Navy Commodore James Carter knew about but did not give Capt. McVay, even as the two met prior to the Indy setting sail.

Secondly, Capt. McVay had requested a destroyer escort for his route to Leyte since the Indy did not have any sonar gear and destroyers did, but he did not get one.

When the Indy was struck by 2 torpedoes, several messages of being struck by torpedoes and her sinking and coordinates were in fact picked up by 3 different radio stations on Leyte. Several tugs were dispatched but 7 hours into a 21 hour trip, the tugs were recalled when Commodore Gillette, acting commander of the Phillipine Sea Frontier, learned they had been dispatched without his permission. No explanation was ever given to his reasoning. It also appears that at the time. it was the Navy's protocol to dismiss any messages that couldn't be confirmed as pranks. Commodore never followed up to see if the Indy had arrived as scheduled.

The whole thing was a travesty and a pattern of a Navy that always wants to fix the blame on everyone but itself, just like they did with the USS Iowa explosion. Of all the ships the Navy lost, why was Cpt. McVay the only Captain who was court-martial ed? Of course, Admiral Nimitz and Admiral Spruance were against a court martial and suggested a letter of reprimand however Admiral King, Chief of Naval Operations wanted a court martial and pressed Naval Secretary James Forrestal for one and he agreed. How ironic that Admiral King was the man pressing for a court martial when it was Admiral Kings incompetence that cost the lives of many merchant seamen along the east coast of this country in 1942 by refusing to deal with the growing U-Boat menace and only did so when the shipping companies were going to refuse to sail unless they received Naval escorts.

But Adm. King got his wish and Cpt. McVay was court martial ed and convicted on a charge of failure to zig zag despite a U.S. sub captain and expert on submarine warfare testifying that zig zagging made no difference in his ability to sink a target. Even the Japanese commander of the sub which sank the Indy was brought into testify and also stated he still would've sunk the Indy whether it was zig zagging or not.

This was not the Navy's finest hour though had it not been for a stroke of luck by Lt. Chuck Gwinn, piloting a PV-1. The plane had a loran navigation system but the antenna had broken off. A crewman had tried to make repairs in flight and Lt. Gwinn had gone back to help him. As he was making his way back, he happened to look out the window at the right time and saw the men in the water below otherwise it's most likely that every man in the water would've perished to the elements. Of course this was downplayed in the movie which shows Gwinn's character slipping just kicking back and looking at the side window though it did show what in reality, was a very tricky and one way landing.


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