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K-19: Doomsday Submarine (2002)

The disastrous first combat patrol of the K-19, the Soviet Union's first atomic-powered nuclear missile submarine.




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Credited cast:
Herrie ten Cate ...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robin Collins ...
Vladimir Yenin
David Karave ...
Lieutenant Yuriy Povstyev
Himself (archive footage)
Nikita Khrushchev ...
Himself (archive footage)
Sergei Kovalev ...
Himself (K-19 Designer)
Radiy Shmakov ...
Himself (Submarine Designer)
Theodore Sorensen ...
Himself (Special Counsel to the President)
Vladimir Vaganov ...
Himself (K-19 First Officer)
Nikolai Zateyev ...
Himself (K-19 Commander)


The disastrous first combat patrol of the K-19, the Soviet Union's first atomic-powered nuclear missile submarine.

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Also Known As:

Submarine Disaster: Curse of the K-19  »

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User Reviews

Good but nothing special
10 June 2007 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

The documentary is well enough made to be entertaining from start to finish. And it's good that once again the cold war politics of the time with Kennedy and Khrushchev are told as they are a somewhat essential backdrop for the accident and what follows. Also the ex-commander of the K-19 gives his thoughts how he expected Kreml to react to all. Very interesting stuff.

The documentary is informative and to the point. The failure in the nuclear reactor is depicted in layman's terms, as are the actions of the sub and crew before and after the accident with professional actors staging them. It's easy to dismiss but also the outdoor (CGI?) shots of the sub are well made and at least I didn't think that they were unnecessary, especially at the end where two subs are side by side there's a feeling that one is watching a film, not a documentary. Whether a documentary should include such shots is open for debate...

What I didn't like in this and many others documentaries is the voice-over work. I would rather listen to the interviewee to speak in his own language and read the subtitles - it feels much more authentic than the broken Russo-English the voice over actors speak. In other documentaries where Asians are interviewed, their voices are replaced by American voices who sound like stereotypical Asian-Americans. I don't consider subtitles in any way inferior to dubbing - except maybe in children's programs whose audience may be not able to read yet.

This isn't a ground-breaking documentary in any way but as the first and only(?) documentary of the said accident it fascinates all the way to the end. I haven't seen the Harrison/Neeson movie that came out in the same year, but it would be interesting to see how much it deviates from this doc...

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