The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.
Helena Bonham Carter,
In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable. Can it be prevented? Written by
In the early briefing scene where Arthur Lundahl, director of the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center, shows a map of the missiles' range, the town of Oxford, Miss., is one of the targets. All other targets were major US cities. This was not an error. It's not clear whether the joke started with the Kennedys or the CIA, but in any case President John F. Kennedy was still smarting from the previous month's riots in Oxford, which put him at cross-purposes with a recalcitrant segregationist Gov. Ross Barnett of Mississippi and some US army generals -- notably Gen. Edwin Walker -- whose hesitation to dispatch troops to northern Mississippi bordered on insubordination. Kennedy was said to have quipped "Can they hit Oxford?" when told about the missiles. See more »
President Kennedy wanted an eyewitness account so badly that Commander Ecker was ordered to the Pentagon to brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff immediately after landing his RF-8A Crusader, sweaty flight suit and all. This is often thought to be a glaring error in the movie, but his attire is absolutely accurate. Cdr. Ecker was not even allowed to exit his Crusader when he landed at NAS Cecil Field, Jacksonville FL. His film canisters were unloaded from his aircraft, he was refueled and sent immediately to Washington D.C., landing at Andrews AFB and whisked by limousine directly to the Pentagon where he met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologizing right away for appearing at the briefing in his sweat-soaked flight suit. Cdr. Ecker, parched from the Cuba overflight and then the flight north to Washington, asked in a hoarse voice for a drink of water when he arrived. He refuses it in the movie. See more »
We gave up so much to get here... I don't know; sometimes I think, "What the hell did we do it for?"
Well, I don't know about you, but... I'm in it for the money.
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This is an outstanding re-telling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The weakest part of the movie of course is Kevin Costner who wisely cast himself in the part of presidential assistant Kenny O'Donnell rather than take on the JFK role. In order to give Costner a lot to do they make Kenny O'Donnell out to be a sort of behind-the-scenes king-maker rather than the office gofer that he probably really was. But it was a clever device to get the audience into the inner workings of the Kennedy White House without making JFK or RFK the lead character. The scenes that work best are when O'Donnell is the fly-on-the-wall sitting in at Cabinet meetings and meetings with the Joint Chiefs and letting the real decision-makers and advisers talk.
Much of the real JFK Cabinet discussions were recorded or transcribed for history and so I'm sure that much of the dialog for those scenes is what the principals really said. The movie is a tremendous look at crisis management and decision-making under extreme pressure.
The military leaders are made out to be the semi-villains in this movie, pushing JFK to attack Cuba and launch WWIII and at some points seeming to even disobey or skirt his orders. When watching the movie I kept remembering that JFK was the youngest man ever elected president and that he was only 45 yrs old when this happened. Most of his Cabinet and all of the Joint Chiefs were much older than him and that tension comes across as the older men seem to barely be able to hold back their condescending attitudes towards the young president.
With the exception of Costner, the acting in this movie is first rate and Bruce Greenwood as JFK was certainly deserving of Oscar consideration. It is always hard for an actor to play a historical figure like JFK who is more legend now than man. Greenwood wisely does not try to mimic JFK's accent but he does get inside the character and you can see JFK thinking his way through the crisis with nothing less than future of the entire human race riding on his decisions. Steven Culp was outstanding as well as RFK, perfectly mimicking RFK's mannerisms and way of speaking but again, getting inside the character so we can really see the man rather than just an impersonation. The success of the entire movie depending on Greenwood and Culp nailing their parts and they did so terrifically.
Viewers might be interested in finding a copy of "Missiles of October" which was a TV-movie in the 1970s and done much like a stage play. William Devane played JFK and Martin Sheen RFK. The movie also gave much screen time to the Kruschev character.
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