7.3/10
50,097
318 user 168 critic

Thirteen Days (2000)

In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Director:

Roger Donaldson

Writers:

David Self, Ernest R. May (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,112 ( 1,115)

On Disc

at Amazon

3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shawn Driscoll ... U-2 Pilot
Kevin Costner ... Kenny O'Donnell
Drake Cook Drake Cook ... Mark O'Donnell
Lucinda Jenney ... Helen O'Donnell
Caitlin Wachs ... Kathy O'Donnell
Jon Foster ... Kenny O'Donnell, Jr.
Matthew Dunn Matthew Dunn ... Kevin O'Donnell
Kevin O'Donnell Kevin O'Donnell ... NPIC Photo Interpreter
Janet Coleman Janet Coleman ... Evelyn Lincoln
Bruce Thomas ... Floyd
Stephanie Romanov ... Jacqueline Kennedy
Bruce Greenwood ... John F. Kennedy
Frank Wood ... McGeorge Bundy
Dakin Matthews ... Arthur Lundahl
Liz Sinclair Liz Sinclair ... Kenny's Assistant #1
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Storyline

In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable. Can it be prevented? Written by <jgp3553@excite.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll Never Believe How Close We Came


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian | Spanish | Romanian

Release Date:

12 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

13 Days See more »

Filming Locations:

Alhambra, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,668, 25 December 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$34,592,089

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$66,579,890
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Kennedy did not mention in his memoir was that, at the start of the crisis, he was in fact one of those hawks in the administration who called for an attack on Cuba. Most hawks wanted to carry out some sort of air strike that would destroy the missile sites, but there was a 'super-hawk' position in favor of a full-scale invasion of the Caribbean island; and that was the position he initially took. See more »

Goofs

Shots of Soviet/Cuban troops building missile bases contain one Kenworth Truck from the 1970s. See more »

Quotes

Kenny O'Donnell: [reading Khruschev's message] It's ten pages of sentimental fluff, but he's saying it right here - he'll remove the missiles in return for a no-invasion pledge.
John McCone, CIA Director: Mr. President, our early analysis says this probably was written by Khruschev himself. It's a first draft; it shows no signs of being polished by the foreign ministry. In fact, it probably wasn't even approved by the Politburo, as they wouldn't the emotionalism go by. The analysts say it was written by someone under considerable stress.
[...]
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Connections

Version of The Missiles of October (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

National Emblem
Written by Edwin Eugene Bagley (uncredited)
(misidentified in the credits as John Philip Sousa)
Arranged by Peter Tomashek
Courtesy of Megatrax Production Music, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Almost the end of civilization as we know it.

I watched this movie today with a number of students from my International Politics class, and from the standpoint of a politics professor, this film was absolutely extraordinary. This is a movie about the development of foreign policy in a crisis; it spells out with brilliant detail the decision-making process of JFK's inner circle, the tension between the Executive Office of the President and the Departments of State and Defense, and the attempts by the Military Industrial Complex (namely the Joint Chiefs) to undermine the diplomatic approaches favored by the president. It highlights the conflict between military standard operating procedures ("rules of engagement") and the better judgment/common sense of right-thinking human beings. It hints at conspiracies to (later) depose and otherwise get rid of both Kennedy and Khruschev from within for what turned out to be a very unpopular resolution with the hardliners on both sides. I especially like that the movie acknowledged the humanity of the individual decision-makers without getting too Capra-esquire or preachy.

I can see why this film hasn't been a great commercial success. It is not your standard big studio fare. It's quite cerebral, and although it has some exciting pre-conflict scenes, it's not a "war film". (It reminds me a bit of "Three Kings" in that regard- both films were, in my opinion, mis-marketed. They both seemed to target the younger male action crowd, when both movies are really made for a more intellectual audience.) I liked how the Soviets were not cartoonishly vilified, as is common in a lot of Cold War era films. They were shown to be somewhat calculating and strategic, but not irrational or more importantly, inhuman. In fact, one of the most fascinating parts of the film is the revelation that both sides lack information as to the other side's true intentions. It was this uncertainty that back in October 1962, could have led to the end of civilization as we know it.

The acting was solid (Steven Culp was very, very good as Robert Kennedy- so good, in fact, that I'm afraid he'll have a hard time getting cast in the future. There was audible gasp in the audience when he came on the screen and WAS Bobby). Coaster's accent was actually annoying (as an earlier reviewer noted), but it's forgivable in light of the moving, somewhat understated performance he turns in. It is the directing that takes the cake, however. From the moment the chain of events was set in motion, the tension does NOT let up. It actually feels like you are back in 1962 living through the events of those two weeks- honestly, there was nary a moment to relax until the resolution was wrought. I recommend this film especially strongly to high school and college age students who are too young to have any Cold War memory, as well as to those who lived through the era and may have forgotten what it felt like to come this close.


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