Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
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
Toward the end of the film, the VLF antenna is raised. VLF is the acronym for the Very Low Frequency radio spectrum, used by submarines because VLF signals can penetrate up to 40 meters of salt water. This allows submarines to receive messages while submerged. In addition, the very long wavelengths (10 to 100 kilometers) make it impossible to precisely determine the location of a VLF signal. See more »
The sonar is not displayed in the "radar" manner that is depicted in the movie. Actual sonar uses what is a called a "waterfall" display, so called because it shows the different sound frequencies on a vertical display that moves from the top down. One of these displays is shown very briefly at the first moment of contact with the Akula. See more »
What'd you think, son? That I was just some crazy old coot, putting everyone in harm's way as I yelled "YEE-HA!"?
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The suspense is relentless in this believable, tense and superbly acted war drama. One of the best modern war movies I have seen, Crimson Tide is a story about strained loyalty, respect, command, discipline, power, and military practice. Hackman and Washington are perfectly cast as an older battle-hardened nuclear submarine captain and his younger, less experienced but highly educated executive officer, caught in a crisis of potentially world-threatening proportions. Pursued by an enemy submarine, the USS Alabama has nuclear warheads aimed and ready to fire as a pre-emptive strike against a Russian rebel commanding his own nuclear arsenal. The Alabama is commanded to launch, and begins preparations, but the enemy sub attacks, knocking out all communications just as a second command is being received. The nature of that second command and what to do about then becomes the key problem that the Captain and XO have to deal with. Suffice to say, they do not agree on how to proceed, and the remainder of the film is a struggle between the two men and those who support each, in a crippled but still lethal sub, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
What's is amazing about Michael Schiffer's story is its plausibility. The basic scenario upon which the script is based could happen. The cast - all of them - are spectacular, and the directing is masterful. Although some of the behavior of the men aboard the Alabama seems improbable at times, given the military realities of chain of command and discipline, the sheer performance power of this film's cast and production team make it all seem very real and extremely compelling. the characters are HUGE, complex, and real. More than just a cautionary tale, this is a very human drama about who people become under extreme conditions, and how they work out problems to reach solutions, or fail to do so. If that final sentence sounds cryptic, then let it entice you to see the film so you can figure out what I mean for yourself.
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