7.3/10
48,043
321 user 168 critic

Thirteen Days (2000)

A dramatization and a fictionalized account of the Kennedy administration's struggle to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

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Writers:

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3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
U-2 Pilot
...
Drake Cook ...
Mark O'Donnell
...
...
Kathy O'Donnell
...
Kenny O'Donnell, Jr.
Matthew Dunn ...
Kevin O'Donnell
Kevin O'Donnell ...
Janet Coleman ...
Evelyn Lincoln
...
Floyd
...
...
...
...
Arthur Lundahl
Liz Sinclair ...
Kenny's Assistant #1
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Storyline

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 <jgp3553@excite.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll Never Believe How Close We Came


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

12 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

13 Days  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,668, 25 December 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$34,592,089

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$66,579,890
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Boston, Kevin Costner's attempt at a Boston accent is so notorious that a "Kevin Costner accent" is an accepted slang term for a non-Bostonian's unsuccessful attempt at a Boston accent. See more »

Goofs

Numerous Kennedy administration officials, including Ted Sorenson and Robert McNamara, have said since the movie's release that Ken O'Donnell - far from being the central staff figure during the Cuban Missile Crisis - played almost no role at all. Moreover, numerous scenes - including O'Donnell's phone calls to Cmdr. Ecker and to Adlai Stevenson - never occurred. See more »

Quotes

Kenny O'Donnell: They look warlike? Jesus Christ, we're lighting off nuclear weapons like its our own private Fourth of July!
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Connections

Edited from Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Hail to the Chief
Written by James Sanderson (uncredited)
Arranged by Peter Tomashek
Courtesy of Megatrax Production Music, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Godfather of political thrillers. Magnificent!

This is The Godfather of political thrillers. Magnificent! Until the final frames - when JFK addresses the White House staff - I expected another critical problem to emerge. These `wrinkles' kept me perched on the edge of my seat. I was naïve and 11 at the time. This is a movie not to be missed.

The President's Special Assistant (Kenny O'Donnell aka Kevin Costner) tells the story. He connects you intimately to the Kennedy White House, the early 60s military machinery … balanced against faith and family. Every emotion kicks into gear over the course of the film. At the end of the day, you're thankful the man in the oval office was a smart fellow. We need smart people in that office.

There's a thing called `heart' sprinkled liberally throughout. Performances are thoroughly believable, as though this is unfolding here and now. Greenwood and Culp are plausible Kennedy brothers after all their predecessors, a tough job given the liberal supply of Kennedy film. Your heart pours out for the insiders who knew how close the world came to the brink. Then please, join me in becoming a little cynical about the government's `world safety' report veracity going forward. Thirteen Days shows you why the government, the press, and the people need to be in constant check and balance to be effective.

A football metaphor weaves effectively through the film, though the teams are cliquish at best. Ex-Harvard quarterback Kenny O'Donnell now serves as a linebacker for the Kennedy team. He's an insider; close … a (near-family) friend. In a crisis, loyalty and teamwork to America's quarterback (JFK) is the prescription for sanity. War zealots surround and abound. Someone needs the cooler head – to be the wiser man – in a world where warfare is being redefined with weapons of annihilation.

Minutia: There's always something for a fanatic like me. I spotted a bowl of Post's fruity Pebbles cereal at the O'Donnell breakfast table in the closing minutes. I don't think these had been invented yet. The thing is: If I have to dig `that deep' to find flaws with the film's presentation quality, it's a pretty darned good. I am sure there are historical flaws, but this is close enough for government work.

I'm still naïve, but no longer 11 years old. Movies have to be well made / well told to satisfy. An entertainment adventure you will enjoy no matter your age, gender, race, religion or political persuasions. It rates 9 out of 10 possible points. But unlike its Godfather intensity, I hope there's never a sequel to this one.


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