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The Hunley
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Hunley (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A Joyous Surprise

10/10
Author: westie-4 from Cheltenham, England
11 November 2001

Have you ever channel surfed when theres nothing in particuliar you want to watch,and you stop on a channel where theres a film starting.You dont bother to check the T.V guide,but you look at the synopsis,find it mildly interesting so you give it a try,and then after 15 minutes of viewing you become so engrossed that you forget that you were bored only a short time ago and you are now enjoying a film youve never even heard of before.This is such a film.I came across it one cold Sunday afternoon on cable,it drew me in immediately,quite a surprise for me as i normally avoid made for T.V movies,but sometimes you come across a product that has an interesting and unique story,a few old but well respected actors(Amand Assante and Donald Sutherland)and most surprising of all for a T.V movie,a lavish expensive looking feel and fantastic effects.The story,which is based on a true event,is set during the American civil war and centres on the confederate armies attempt to take the town of Charleston.The rebels fight back with a new invention,the first attempt at making a submarine that if successful would dive below an enemy ship with a torpedo in tow and sink the ship.The scenes involving the crew of seven men cramped inside the tiny banged together prototype sub are genuinely claustrophobic,and you can almost feel the tension and confinement they undoubtedly suffer.The crew themselves are a collection of intrigueing personalities that you will warm too whilst watching the film,and it is that coupled with the fact that this a true story which make the ending that much more harrowing.A true gem of a film.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Terrific historic portrayal

8/10
Author: FlickJunkie-2 from Atlanta
17 January 2000

This is a made for TV dramatization of a true event in history, specifically the story of the Confederate efforts to develop a submersible boat during the civil war. The story opens in Charleston S.C. during the seize and naval blockade of that city by Federal forces. The Confederates were attempting to develop a submarine with a torpedo to be used as a weapon to break the blockade. This is the story of the successes and failures of that effort and follows the efforts of the crew in the development of the submarine (made from a converted boiler) and its ultimate deployment into battle.

The story is a fascinating piece of history; an event that clearly changed the course of naval warfare. Director John Gray did a good job in his portrayal of civil war Charleston during the seize, with citizens attempting to cope and go about the business of day to day living despite the daily bombardment. The scenes inside the boat were particularly well done, giving the viewer a good sense of the claustrophobic quarters in which they had to operate.

Unfortunately, the selection of Armand Assante for the lead character, Lt. Dixon was a mistake. Assante, the consummate tough guy, can be a powerful actor when placed in a suitable role for his skills like ‘Gotti'. But he does not have much range outside that type. In this film he was brittle in his portrayal, playing this role in typical tough guy fashion when the character required more subtlety and complexity. Also, his attempt at a southern accent was abysmal. No matter how he tried, he always sounded like a New York gangster.

Donald Sutherland was good as General Beauregard, but it was a minor role. The bright spot among the cast was Sebastian Roche who played Collins, the tempestuous Irishman. His cockiness and false bravado belied a vulnerable and frightened soul and he played it perfectly. His portrayal of panic during an oxygen deprivation drill was riveting.

I gave this film an 8, despite the miscasting of Assante. It was an entertaining drama with plenty of meat to keep most viewers interested and engaged.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Pretty fair film

7/10
Author: grahamsj3 from United States
5 September 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I believe that the film itself was well executed. The cinematography, setting, costuming and scripting were all well done. The casting of Armande Assante as Capt. Dixon was an error. He tried, but was never able to pull the role off. The scenes inside the submarine were the most powerful, giving a real feeling of how claustrophobic it must have really been. The performances by the remainder of the cast were adequate, but none stands out except possibly Sebastian Roche as Collins, the Irishman. The film supposedly stuck to all historical information pretty closely, so I would assume that this was more or less factual. Overall, an entertaining film, one that I enjoyed but am glad I didn't have to pay much to see. I give it a 7.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Should be shown in History Classes

10/10
Author: Richard Hatch (bmscrh@ucrac1.ucr.edu) from Sna Bernardino, Ca USA
13 July 1999

I have been a student of the Civil War for a great while and this movie moved me deeply. Although artistic license was no doubt taken with the personalities of the individual characters this movie is historically accurate. It was a very powerful production which should be shown in history classes in which the Civil War will be studied. Although the story of the C.S.S. Hunley is a small chapter in the Civil War it is a story which clearly shows the bravery and determination of the confederate soldier. Though I do take exception to the confederate cause I admire the men who died in the Hunley greatly.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Superb historical drama - 10 out of 10. See it!

10/10
Author: icebreaker41 from United Kingdom
7 August 2006

If you're an American Civil War buff (or not) you should see this film. The sets, uniforms etc are superb for a TV movie - better than some huge budget films - how did they do it! The submarine appears to an actual working metal sub - it probably isn't but that's the power of good set design. The drama is also enthralling, some very disturbing scenes you won't forget for a while - this was a brutal war and nothing is papered over to protect the viewer. The acting is what stands out though, Armand Assante is a revelation as the haunted Confederate Officer going through the motions of the war, hardly focusing on what he's fighting for anymore. Donald Sutherland adds weight of course, but the lesser known actors are the real surprise. At times you actually think you're there in 1864, it grips you and keeps you there until the end. My only criticism - where Oh where is the DVD!!?

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Moving Story of Brave Men Performing Extraordinary Tasks

8/10
Author: Shannon Box (sbox@gvtc.com) from Canyon Lake, Texas
11 July 1999

Armand Assante delivers big time, as the Confederates' Lt. Dixon of the C.S.S. Hunley. In reality, Lt. Dixon was much younger than the actor playing him. However, the weathered look and demeanor of Assante makes him a believable leader, much like Laurence Harvey's portrayal of Col. William B. Travis in John Wayne's epic, "The Alamo."

Donald Sutherland's performance should also be commended. General Beauregard, as portrayed by Sutherland was well done. More importantly, it occurs to this author that Sutherland has the penchant for going out on a limb and playing complex figures in history and myth.

While the film details many historical accuracies, it is safe to say that the depictions of the crew are fiction. The good news is that they are nicely done. Character development, which seems to be in scarce supply these days is fulfilled in, "The Hunley." To the man, I couldn't think of a single character, that I either disliked, or felt wasn't properly placed in the film. In fact, they were so different, with their own peculiarities, that I felt a kinship to each of them. I guess my favorite was the happily married man who was, according to Dixon, "dumb as a post," but "loyal." Honest men indeed.

The special effects are somewhat disappointing. First, it is clear that some of the action shots are less than cutting edge. This was obviously due to budgetary constraints. The good news is that the overly done Hollywood type explosions are happily missing. It is tiring to see 1990's style pyrotechnics in the middle of the 19th century. If you doubt me, go see, "Zorro '98." Big budgets do not equal great effects.

Finally, I thought it was original of the film makers in the awakening sequence which occurs at the end of the movie. This could have really gone south, if not done right. It is a moving experience for the viewer.

All in all, a fine movie. I will have it in my library.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

"The Hunley" is the 2nd. greatest Civil War film, behind only "Gettysburg"

8/10
Author: merklekranz from United States
7 March 2008

Like "Gettysburg", "The Hunley" , is largely factual, shows incredible bravery, and has it's touching moments. The engineering feat alone is totally amazing for 1864. Even when the North gets word of the Hunley, their defense of nets and chains is overcome by a brilliant adjustment to the method of delivering the Hunley's torpedo. Much like Jeff Daniels wonderful performance in "Gettysburg", Armand Assante is terrific as the submarine project leader. Donald Sutherland is good, but more in the shadows, as General Beauregard. This movie is not easy to watch without generating emotions driven by the crew's bravery. Highly, highly recommended. - MERK

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

AWESOME!

Author: magellan333 from Chattanooga, TN
15 January 2001

This is a great movie. I rented it on video and was amazed how well this made for television movie was executed. Donald Sutherland played his part very well, but the directors/writers did not have to rely on him to carry it. This movie is a must see for any history buffs or lovers of submarine flicks. A very good movie.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

amazing!

Author: John Smith (bogus000@hotmail.com) from New York
22 July 1999

Really, one of the best movies EVER made for television. It's on my top ten favorites. Possibly my all time favorite. There were just so many drawing points. Performances are powerful. Sets are intriguing. The story is unique, and the direction sucks you into the movie.

It's a tragedy and a triumph. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Moving Experience

10/10
Author: anonymous from Los Angeles, California
28 June 1999

The subject matter was a fascinating surprise, but a bigger surprise was how emotionally involved and moved I was watching this picture. It is an exciting, thrill a minute, rousing and deeply moving experience. The performances are exceptional and the story is a remarkable tale of courage and sacrifice. The action scenes (which are many) kept me on the edge of my seat, I don't think I've ever seen a production this spectacular on television before. This is a big screen epic for the small screen. Congratulations to TNT for bringing this less known but very important part of history to television

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