7.9/10
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32 user 5 critic
In two parallel stories, the clockmaker John Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea in the 18th Century and the horologist Rupert Gould becomes obsessed with restoring it in the 20th Century.

Director:

Charles Sturridge

Writers:

Dava Sobel (book), Charles Sturridge
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Coy ... Adm. Sir Cloudsley Shovell
Christopher Hodsol Christopher Hodsol ... Capt. Ainsley
Jeremy Irons ... Rupert Gould
Peter Cartwright ... Army Doctor
Gemma Jones ... Elizabeth Harrison
John Nettleton ... Minister for the Navy
Michael Gambon ... John Harrison
Nigel Davenport ... Sir Charles Pelham
Liam Jennings Liam Jennings ... Young William Harrison
Anna Chancellor ... Muriel Gould
Frank Finlay ... Adm. Wagner
Geoffrey Hutchings Geoffrey Hutchings ... Estate Manager
Andrew Scott ... John Campbell
John Standing ... Capt. Proctor
John Wood ... Sir Edmund Halley
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Storyline

In the 18th century, the only way to navigate accurately at sea was to follow a coastline all the way, which would not get you from Europe to the West Indies or the Americas. Observing the sun or stars would give you the latitude, but not the longitude unless done in conjunction with a clock that would keep time accurately at sea, and no such clock existed. After one too many maritime disasters due to navigational errors, the British Parliament set up a substantial prize for a way to find the longitude at sea. The film's main story is that of craftsman John Harrison: he built a clock that would do the job, what we would now call a marine chronometer. But the Board of Longitude was biased against this approach and claiming the prize was no simple matter. Told in parallel is the 20th century story of Rupert Gould, for whom the restoration of Harrison's clocks to working order became first a hobby, then an obsession that threatened to wreck his life. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 January 2000 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A hosszúsági fok See more »

Filming Locations:

Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Goofs

In the final voice over, Dava Sobel talks about charting our three dimensional world. However, one of the major points of this movie is that, as far as navigation is concerned, only two dimensions, latitude and longitude, are required to chart it. See more »

Quotes

George Graham: Mr. Harrison! Summer and winter... how is it done? How is it done, the compensation?
John Harrison: I use a pendulum of different metals that work against each other.
George Graham: Impossible. Doesn't work. I've tried it.
John Harrison: It is possible. It does work. I've built it.
See more »

Connections

References The Brains Trust (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely first rate!
10 July 2000 | by 8-FootSee all my reviews

Despite its feared four-hour length (including commercials as shown on A&E), "Longitude" gets my top rating. Totally engrossing, with absolutely no false or phony notes. Acting, photography superlative.

(Available on home video without commercials and with additional footage.)


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