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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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
John Grillo ...
Paul Humpoletz ...
 Man in Audience 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
 Jack Morgan 2 episodes, 2002
Abby Ford ...
 Lord Curzon 2 episodes, 2002
Robert Swann ...
 Freshfield 2 episodes, 2002
 George Marston 2 episodes, 2002
 Janet Stancombe Wills 2 episodes, 2002
Ben Silverstone ...
 Very Young Applicant 2 episodes, 2002
 Hubert Hudson 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
 Oddenino 2 episodes, 2002
Matt Wilkinson ...
 Assistant Director 2 episodes, 2002
Bruce Byron ...
Nicholas Hewetson ...
 Alexander Macklin 2 episodes, 2002
Ingar Helge Gimle ...
Jamie Lee ...
 James Wordie 2 episodes, 2002
Christian Steel ...
 Leonard Hussey 2 episodes, 2002
Craig Cheetham ...
 Walter How 2 episodes, 2002
 Ernest Holness 2 episodes, 2002
Hugh Simon ...
Rupert Frazer ...
 King George V 2 episodes, 2002
Paul Bigley ...
 Charles Green 2 episodes, 2002
 William Bakewell 2 episodes, 2002
Sven Nordin ...
Rolf Arly Lund ...
Angus Barnett ...
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 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.

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


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Release Date:

2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ernest Shackleton  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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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 Shackleton lifts up the binoculars to watch the Endurance being crushed by ice, a cameraman operating a camera is reflected in the lenses of the binoculars. See more »


[after discussing Shackleton's planned route and the ice conditions]
Jacobsen: There is no possibility to reach the bay at the moment. You must wait here for warmer weather.
Sir Ernest Shackleton: Well, in England we're used to waiting for warmer weather, aren't we?
Capt. Thoralf: In Norway also.
See more »


Featured in Shackleton: Breaking the Ice (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

5 April 2002 | by See all my reviews

NOTE: Contains brief plot summary!

If this was a fictional story you watched in the cinema, you would leave thinking how unrealistic it was. You would know, after all, that keeping twenty-eight men alive in the wastelands of Antarctica, stranded and starving, is an impossible task, particularly set at the beginning of the twentieth century with the limited technology available. However, this is fact. This story did happen. And this is one of the most accurate films depicting the story of the "Endurance" expedition that you could hope for.

The story of Shackleton has passed on into legend. His attempt to cross the Antarctic continent on foot ended in disaster; his ship, the Endurance, crushed by the ice fields, leaving its crew on the ice sheet. Determined to survive, and displaying all the valour and courage he had demonstrated in his previous expedition (the "Nimrod", in which he turned back less than 100 miles from the pole in order to save the lives of his men), he began an incredible journey to the uninhabited Elephant Island, before having to contemplate a trip to South Georgia: a trip of 800 miles in a lifeboat...

This wonderful two-part adventure is accurate to almost every detail. A lot of research went into this film, consulting books, articles, experts, and even the diaries of the men themselves. And it doesn't make the mistake of solely confining itself to the story of Shackleton's heroism; indeed, the first two hours concentrates largely on the effort Sir Ernest put into forming the expedition, and the many obstacles that stood in his path - financially and emotionally.

Directed by award-winning Charles Sturridge, the casting is superb, particularly in the case of the protagonist, who - it must be said - looks a little like Shackleton himself. Well done, Celestia Fox! From Kenneth Branagh, a resourceful and irresistible Ernest Shackleton, down to to ex-Coronation Street's Ian Mercer as the simple Holdness, every character is brought into the 21st century with as much life as they had on the frozen shores of Elephant Island, thanks partly to a bombastic score of Adrian Johnston's invention.

There are only a couple of criticisms that one could make; for example, there continue to be references back to England, but there is no reunion at the end of the film between Shackleton and Emily, which could have been a way of saying "I'm back". I feel, however, that this continues to give "Shackleton" more character, as Sir Ernest only felt comfortable when exploring; never when at home with his family.

Another slight flaw is that there is next to no mention of the fate of the Aurora expedition, the crew assigned the task of aiding Shackleton to the other side of the continent (had the expedition gone to plan, of course!) However, this does not really relate to Shackleton himself, and indeed Sir Ernest seemed to forget about them until his men were brought over from Elephant Island.

Really, there is nothing major wrong with this film. It fully deserves 10 out of 10, and despite the DVD having no extras whatsoever, it is still worth the £15 for the pure entertainment you are given for the most enjoyable four hours of the small screen.

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