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The Bedford Incident (1965)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 12 November 1965 (Japan)
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An American destroyer Captain is determined to confront a Soviet submarine caught violating territorial waters. Perhaps too determined.

Director:

James B. Harris

Writers:

Mark Rascovich (novel), James Poe (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Widmark ... Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.
Sidney Poitier ... Ben Munceford
James MacArthur ... Ensign Ralston (as James Macarthur)
Martin Balsam ... Lt. Cmdr. Chester Potter, M.D., U.S.N.
Wally Cox ... Seaman Merlin Queffle
Eric Portman ... Commodore Wolfgang Schrepke Deutsche Marine
Michael Kane Michael Kane ... Commander Allison Executive Officer - Bridge
Colin Maitland ... Seaman Jones - Bridge
Paul Tamarin Paul Tamarin ... Seaman 2nd Class - Bridge
Frank Lieberman Frank Lieberman ... Seaman 1st Class - Bridge
James Caffrey ... Seaman 1st Class - Bridge
Burnell Tucker ... Seaman 1st Class - Bridge
Mike Lennox Mike Lennox ... Lieutenant Krindlemeyer U.S.N. - Bridge (as Michael Graham)
Bill Edwards ... Lieutenant Hazelwood U.S.N. - Bridge
Stephen Schreiber ... Seaman 2nd Class - Bridge (as Stephen Von Schreiber)
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Storyline

Richard Widmark plays a hardened cold-warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. Sidney Poitier is a reporter given permission to interview the captain during a routine patrol. Poitier gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub in the depths and the captain begins a relentless pursuit, pushing his crew to the breaking point. This one's grim tension to the end. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Now...In the North Atlantic...High Adventure in the High Naval Tradition from the Company That Gave You "The Caine Mutiny"! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

12 November 1965 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Zwischenfall im Atlantik See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Novosibirsk", the Russian submarine's escort ship (misspelled on its hull), is the name of an actual city in Russia. In English, the name translates to "New Siberia". This large city is located east of the Ural Mountains, in southern Siberia. See more »

Goofs

After shooting down the doctor's plans for the crew, Captain Finlander lowers a brace holding books on a shelf to hand a few of them to the doctor. He doesn't return the brace to its secure position to hold the books - even as they are going to General Quarters status. See more »

Quotes

Captain Finlander: He didn't surface during the night, he couldn't, we must've been directly over him. So he's out of breathing air. Staying down, he couldn't charge his batteries, so he can't run. And there he is. So you see, Commodore, we've accomplished the most important step. We've made him desperate.
Commodore Wolfgang Schrepke, Deutsche Marine: He's certainly desperate. That is the danger. You are dealing with a desperate force.
Captain Finlander: And we're a determined force.
Commodore Wolfgang Schrepke, Deutsche Marine: YOU are in the power here, Eric. It is not a force, it is just you.
Captain Finlander: Uh, you mean you're trying...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Reportedly, there are two versions with different endings. One version ends with a missile being fired and a torpedo being released from the sub seconds before. In another version the sub is destroyed, and later that evening the German commodore is found aiming a .45 at the nose cone of a live missile. The captain asks why, the commodore gives some reply and pulls the trigger. Mr. Munceford is blown over the side, but survives. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent cold-war film
3 February 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Richard Widmark is a determined naval ship captain in "The Bedford Incident," which also stars Sidney Poitier, Eric Portman, Martin Balsam, James Macarthur, and Wally Cox. This is quite a different meeting from the one Widmark and Poitier had in "No Way Out," where Widmark is a bigot who lashes out at Poitier. Poitier in this film plays a journalist, and there is never any mention of his color. This is not only remarkable but marvelous. Martin Balsam is the ship's new doctor. Poitier and Balsam board ship together and pick up almost immediately that there is a tension on board and that the men are intimidated by their cold, tough captain.

The Bedford's assignment is to patrol for Russian subs and ships.

When a submarine is detected in the area, the captain seems to want to take the matter too far. Portman, as a German adviser, disagrees with him.

The role of the captain, Finlander, is the type of role normally associated with Widmark, and he is excellent as an uncompromising man reminiscent of Captain Queeg. Poitier turns in a stellar performance, which really builds as he becomes more and more concerned about the captain and the potential international situation. Martin Balsam is very good, actually providing, along with Wally Cox, a little comic relief.

The scenes showing the gray sea and huge icebergs might be dated now, given what film technology is capable of, but they are no less evocative of the atmosphere. After the buildup of drama and tension, the last moments of the film are incredibly exciting - staggering even. And you'll do what I did - just sit and stare at the words "The End." A very good film.


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