Parallel stories: 18th century Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea; 20th century Gould is obsessed with restoring it.

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Cast

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Liam Jennings ...
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Geoffrey Hutchings ...
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Storyline

In the 18th century, the only way to navigate accurately at sea was to follow a coastline all the way, which would not get you from Europe to the West Indies or the Americas. Observing the sun or stars would give you the latitude, but not the longitude unless done in conjunction with a clock that would keep time accurately at sea, and no such clock existed. After one too many maritime disasters due to navigational errors, the British Parliament set up a substantial prize for a way to find the longitude at sea. The film's main story is that of craftsman John Harrison: he built a clock that would do the job, what we would now call a marine chronometer. But the Board of Longitude was biased against this approach and claiming the prize was no simple matter. Told in parallel is the 20th century story of Rupert Gould, for whom the restoration of Harrison's clocks to working order became first a hobby, then an obsession that threatened to wreck his life. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | History

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Release Date:

2 January 2000 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A hosszúsági fok  »

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(2 parts)

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The word "scientist" was not invented until 1840. In the 18th century they were still called "natural philosophers". See more »

Quotes

William Harrison: Would it be possible to set out more explicitly what the Board requires, so that we might be prepared for it?
Lord Morton: *No, sir -- it would not*! It is not your business, sir, to limit the inquiry of this board, but to satisfy it!
John Harrison: It is not my business, *sir*, to explain the workings of a lifetime to a group of *dog-collared university book-swallowers* who wouldn't know the difference between a *balance spring* and a *bedside pan*! The thirty years I've stood before this board, I've never once had the ...
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Connections

Referenced in (500) Days of Summer (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely first rate!
10 July 2000 | by (Montgomery Village, Maryland) – See all my reviews

Despite its feared four-hour length (including commercials as shown on A&E), "Longitude" gets my top rating. Totally engrossing, with absolutely no false or phony notes. Acting, photography superlative.

(Available on home video without commercials and with additional footage.)


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