When some Russian rebels takes control of some ICBM's, the Americans mobilize. Among the vessels sent is the nuclear sub, the Alabama. But before they leave they need a new X.O. and among the choices is Commander Hunter, who hasn't seen much action. But the ship's Captain, Ramsey OK's him. While on the way, there was an incident and Hunter disagreed with how Ramsey handled it, it's evident that Ramsey doesn't think much of Hunter because Hunter was college educated while Ramsey worked his way up. They're given orders to attack but when they were in the process of receiving another order, the ship's communications were damaged, so the entire message was not received. Ramsey decides to continue with their previous order while Hunter wants to reestablish contact first. That's when the two men butt heads that ends with Hunter relieving Ramsey. Later when some men die, some of the officers feel that Hunter is not up to the task so they team up to retake control. But Hunter has taken ... Written by
The dockside scene where Captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman) addresses the crew shows the USS Alabama in the background and, after his speech, the crew runs onboard. The sub was actually USS Barbel (SS-580), a conventionally-powered (i.e. non-nuclear) attack submarine originally commissioned in 1959. The sail ("conning tower") is a plywood mock-up that generally matched the real Alabama's. Barbel's original sail not only looked different but had already been removed (the Barbel was about to be scrapped). See more »
Capt. Ramsey gives the missile launch keys to only one crewman. Proper procedure is to have two crewmen receive and deliver the keys to launch control together. See more »
In my humble opinion, in the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself.
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"Crimson Tide" is one of my favorites and to me is the best submarine movie ever made. And I don't understand why people say the "The Hunt for Red October" is THE submarine film. Because, to me THFRO was very long and moved at a snail's pace, and also the murky underwater action scenes were hard to look at because you could hardly see what was going on.
However, "Crimson Tide" is an improvement in my opinion. It's over 2 hours long, but its pace moves by so fast that you're not gonna realize it. But if you're looking for tons of explosions and gunfire, then this ain't your kind of movie, it happens to be more suspense-oriented. Otherwise, you can just check out "Die Hard", "Terminator" or "Aliens", for the action-packed extravaganza that most people want. But I guess the scene in which the subs face off and each are firing the torpedoes at each other could be considered action. And that scene in probably the best part of the entire movie since there is no way anyone could resist the suspense and especially when the sub is sinking and the water pressure is rising and it could compress at any second.
Without going on and on too much I'll just give the basic premise of the movie so you won't get too confused. It's been a couple years after the Soviet Union collapsed and now a radical leader and his followers are trying to takeover the Russian government and is threatening to launch nuclear missiles into both the United States and Russia itself if they interfere with him. And the USA sends a submarine with nuclear missiles out to the Pacific Ocean in case the event of when the Russian missiles are launched and they could instantly counter-attack. But the two commanding officers clash on whether or not the missiles should be fired since they are debating if Russia is attacking or not. But since they are so far down in sea level, they can't communicate to get their orders. At first, it may seem uninteresting, but you'll realize how much suspense and tension is in here when you see it.
As for the acting, well what can I say? Denzel Washington has gotta be the greatest method actor in Hollywood right now and "Crimson Tide" is a prime example. So far in his career, he already won an Oscar for "Glory" and "Training Day" in which he gave two outstanding performances that will forever be remembered in Hollywood. But his work in "Crimson Tide" is, and I dare say, tops both of his Oscar-winning performances. He plays the lead role as Lt. Commander Ron Hunter, who is objecting his Captain's orders to attack Russia since it would cause a complete nuclear holocaust with billions of deaths involved.
Gene Hackman, who is another Hollywood favorite, is Captain Frank Ramsey, the crazy old guy who will stop at nothing to ensure that World War III between the USA and Russia happens. His character even preferred to have a missile drill happening when the sub had a fire and its safety was endangered, and as a result an officer lost his life.
Hackman's character represents the way the USA was before in a time of war, and they seeked anything to get involved in that war so other countries would fear them. Washington's character symbolizes what the USA is like during the 1990's and they would try to stay as neutral as possible. Also, the scene when Denzel and Gene are arguing and shouting over each other about the nukes and before the mutiny happens has gotta be one of the greatest acted scenes ever. And this basically provides the tension that makes "Crimson Tide" what it is as a film. And the bulk of the movie, the question "Will they launch or not?" goes on. Just watch it and found out.
Also, the dialogue is among the best I've ever heard, and heck, I'll say that it even challenges "Pulp Fiction" as having some of the best lines ever. What's interesting is that Quentin Tarantino provided some of it in here and that's clearly evident. The Silver Surfer reference and the submarine movie trivia are the real punch-ups here. My favorite line from this is "You don't put on a condom unless you're gonna f**k!".
"Crimson Tide" is an excellent thriller movie that stands out because of the suspense, the tension, the acting and the punchy dialogue. Do yourself a favor and forget "The Hunt for Red October"! "Crimson Tide" will blow you away!
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