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Thirteen Days (2000)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, History, Thriller  |  12 January 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 43,432 users   Metascore: 67/100
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A dramatization of President Kennedy's administration's struggle to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962.



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll Never Believe How Close We Came

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

12 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

13 Days  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$46,668 (USA) (29 December 2000)


ESP 172,811,365 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the F-8 aircraft used in the movie are real aircraft once used by the Philippine Air Force, they were, in fact, nonfunctional at that time. During the filming of the movie, the planes were actually being towed. See more »


In one scene when a declaration from the OAS is being discussed, President Kennedy says to State Secretary Dean Rusk "Unanimous, Dean". In real life, President Kennedy did not call Dean Rusk by his first name, and there is no single recollection of just one occasion in which the President did otherwise. See more »


President Kennedy: [addressing the NPIC photograph analyst] Okay - let's have it.
NPIC Photo Interpreter: Gentlemen, as most of you now know, a U-2 over Cuba Sunday morning took a series of disturbing photographs. Our analysis at NPIC indicates that the Soviet Union has followed up its conventional weapons build-up in Cuba with the introduction of surface-to-surface, medium-range ballistic missiles, or MRBMs. Our official estimate at this time is that the missile system is the SS-4 'Sandal'. We do not believe that the missiles are as yet...
See more »


Referenced in The Sopranos: Pine Barrens (2001) See more »


The Thunderer
Written by John Philip Sousa
Courtesy of Associated Production Music, LLC
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

" I can wait till hell freezes over for your answer"
19 July 2007 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

In the 1960's few realized how close the world came to Nuclear Winter. Even today, with all the resources at hand, fewer care who prevented the Third World War. One thing is certain, America was enormously fortunate to have had as President of the United States, John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) during those nearly fatal "13 Days." As the thinking man's president, Mr. Kennedy was lucky to have in his cabinet men of intellect and reason. His main confident was his younger brother, Robert Kennedy (Steven Culp) who proved invaluable as Attorney General. When the world learned of the Nuclear threat ninety miles away, Kennedy came to rely heavily on his political adviser Kenny O'Donald (Kevin Costner) who displayed cautious insight and prudent judgment in critical moments which could have proved disastrous had the Joint Chiefs of Staff gotten their way. Further, Kennedy was definitely fortunate to have selected as his ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson (Michael Fairman) who stood toe to toe with Russian's Valerian Zorin (Oleg Vidov) and did not back down. The film is dramatic and terrifyingly accurate with dated Black and White footage and actual verbal scripts from hidden recordings from the oval office. What we know today is; had the Administration followed the prodding of the military, they would have initiated the Third World War as the Russian military in Cuba, actually had short range Atomic warheads at their disposal. This is a frightening film for rational people. ****

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