The true story of Shackleton's 1914 Endurance expedition to the the South Pole and his epic struggle to lead his 28 man crew to safety after his ship was crushed in the pack ice.
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Series cast summary:
 Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (2 episodes, 2002)
John Grillo ...
 Franks (2 episodes, 2002)
Paul Humpoletz ...
 Man in Audience (2 episodes, 2002)
 Emily Shackleton (2 episodes, 2002)
 Eleanor Shackleton (2 episodes, 2002)
 Frank Shackleton (2 episodes, 2002)
Cicely Delaney ...
 Cecily Shackleton (2 episodes, 2002)
Christian Young ...
 Raymond Shackleton (2 episodes, 2002)
 Rosalind Chetwynd (2 episodes, 2002)
Gino Melvazzi ...
 Head Waiter (2 episodes, 2002)
 Perris (2 episodes, 2002)
 Frank Wild (2 episodes, 2002)
 Jack Morgan (2 episodes, 2002)
Mark McGann ...
 Tom Crean (2 episodes, 2002)
Abby Ford ...
 Marcie (2 episodes, 2002)
 Keltie (2 episodes, 2002)
 Lord Curzon (2 episodes, 2002)
Robert Swann ...
 Freshfield (2 episodes, 2002)
 George Marston (2 episodes, 2002)
 Janet Stancombe Wills (2 episodes, 2002)
 Judge (2 episodes, 2002)
Ben Silverstone ...
 Very Young Applicant (2 episodes, 2002)
 Hubert Hudson (2 episodes, 2002)
 Thomas Orde-Lees (2 episodes, 2002)
Richard Cant ...
 First Lieutenant (2 episodes, 2002)
Mathew Ashwood ...
 Second Lieutenant (2 episodes, 2002)
 Dudley Docker (2 episodes, 2002)
Roger May ...
 Cavalry Officer (2 episodes, 2002)
Hal Cruttenden ...
 Bearded Applicant (2 episodes, 2002)
 Frank Worsley (2 episodes, 2002)
 Oddenino (2 episodes, 2002)
Matt Wilkinson ...
 Assistant Director (2 episodes, 2002)
 Sir James Caird (2 episodes, 2002)
Bruce Byron ...
 Harbour (2 episodes, 2002)
 James McIlroy (2 episodes, 2002)
Nicholas Hewetson ...
 Alexander Macklin (2 episodes, 2002)
 Whaleman (2 episodes, 2002)
Jamie Lee ...
 James Wordie (2 episodes, 2002)
Christian Steel ...
 Leonard Hussey (2 episodes, 2002)
 Henry McNeish (2 episodes, 2002)
Craig Cheetham ...
 Walter How (2 episodes, 2002)
 Ernest Holness (2 episodes, 2002)
Hugh Simon ...
 Equerry (2 episodes, 2002)
Rupert Frazer ...
 King George V (2 episodes, 2002)
 Frank Hurley (2 episodes, 2002)
Paul Bigley ...
 Charles Green (2 episodes, 2002)
 William Bakewell (2 episodes, 2002)
 Perce Blackborow (2 episodes, 2002)
Sven Nordin ...
 Jacobsen (2 episodes, 2002)
Rolf Arly Lund ...
 Capt. Thoralf (2 episodes, 2002)
Angus Barnett ...
 Wounded Soldier (2 episodes, 2002)
 Marsh (2 episodes, 2002)
Claudia Coulter ...
 Italian Maid (2 episodes, 2002)


The true story of Shackleton's 1914 Endurance expedition to the the South Pole and his epic struggle to lead his 28 man crew to safety after his ship was crushed in the pack ice.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


On the brink of death - courage was his only weapon.


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Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Shackleton  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene in which Shakleton threatens to throw his gloves overboard if the crewman doesn't take them is based on a true incident. In actuality it was Frank Hurley who wouldn't take them. See more »


When the men start hauling their boats over the ice, we see the name "J. Caird" clearly painted on one of them. A few minutes later Shackleton announces he has decided to name the boats and unveils the painted names for the first time. See more »


Emily Shackleton: What do you call her? What do you call her?
Sir Ernest Shackleton: What?
Emily Shackleton: Her nickname.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Mouse.
Emily Shackleton: Everybody has a bloody nickname with you. Everybody, except me. Do you know, one of your men asked me what mine was, and I had to say I didn't have one? And he asked, what would I choose? I said, 'Honey.' Isn't that pathetic?
See more »


Version of The Endurance (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Ripping yarn from a cold and lovely land
23 June 2002 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

I've not visited Antarctica, but I'm told by those who have that its austere beauty grows on you; far from being a frozen hell, it is a land where one can get closer to oneself and the meaning of things. This film uses Greenland for location shooting and is a dramatised version of Shackleton's 1914-16 expedition which started out as an attempt to cross the continent from the Weddel Sea to the Ross Sea, but, after the expedition vessel `Endurance' was first trapped and then crushed in the Weddel Sea ice pack, Shackleton and his party of 28 men, their dogs and one cat, were caught in a grim struggle for survival.

The first 100 minutes is concerned with the origins of the expedition, and Shackleton's efforts to raise support and prepare for it. The son of an Irish country doctor, he served in the Merchant Navy, but by 1914 he was a very experienced polar explorer, having been on two major earlier expeditions; he was in fact the Englishman who had been closest to the South Pole and survived. Although the first half drags at times, Kenneth Branagh's full-on performance as Shackleton gives us a clear picture of the sort of man he is, ambitious, hard-driving, single-minded, yet one who genuinely cares for the men under his command. He is even aware of the effect his exploration obsession is having on his family life (not to mention his relationship with his mistress), but he plows on regardless.

In the second half we are stuck on the polar pack ice, and the story turns into a conventional ripping yarn, but it is told with economy and a certain amount of humour. It is clear that, apart from luck, Shackleton and his men (the animals, alas, did not make it) owed their survival to Shackleton's good judgment and the fact that he was able to get all of them to rise to the occasion. He might have been slightly mad to get into such a fix to begin with, but he had no wish to suffer the fate of his colleague Captain Scott.

Branagh dominates the film of course, but his crew, mostly made up of little-known actors, come through as characters in their own right. Several stand out; Ken Drury as McNiesh, the feisty ship's carpenter, Kevin McNally as Worsley the lugubrious skipper, Celyn Jones as the Welsh stowaway Blackborow, and Nicholas Rowe as Colonel, the expedition odd-man-out. It is melancholy to recall, that several of the crew survived the Antarctic only to die in the trenches in France. Matt Day as the Australian photographer Frank Hurley, who produced some unforgettable images of the trip, also puts in a strong performance. The characters at home seem bloodless by comparison, with the exception of Phoebe Nicholl's determined Lady Shackleton. One wonders how Lord Curzon, that very superior person, who presided over the very tight-fisted Royal Geographical Society (nicely played by Corin Redgrave) would have got by on the expedition.

In 1922 Shackleton went back once more to the Antarctic but died of a heart attack at the whaling station on South Georgia before he was able to set off for the ice. He was only 48. Clearly, the attraction was more than fame and fortune – he was in love with the place. Since then the whalers have gone and Antarctic is now the preserve of scientists and a small but growing number of tourists. Latter-day Shackletons have no great geographical questions to solve but still persist on doing things like trying to ski across the continent. I think I'll settle for the tourist ship myself, but it's vaguely comforting to know there are still such people around.

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