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The Endurance (2000)

The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition (original title)
A retelling of Sir Ernest Shackleton 's ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in 1914-1916, featuring new footage of the actual locations and interviews with surviving relatives of key ... See full summary »


George Butler
8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Liam Neeson ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Julian Ayer Julian Ayer ... Himself (Grandson of expedition member)
John Blackborow John Blackborow ... Himself (Grandson of expedition member)
David Cale ... Hubert Hudson (voice)
John Henry Cox ... William Bakewell (voice)
Mary Crean O'Brien Mary Crean O'Brien ... Herself (daughter of Tom Crean)
Steven Crossley Steven Crossley ... Alexander Macklin / 'Chippy' McNish / James Wordie (voice)
Brian d'Arcy James ... Frank Wild (voice) (as Brian Darcy James)
Drew De Carvalho Drew De Carvalho ... Frank Hurley (voice)
Dominic Hawksley Dominic Hawksley ... Thomas Orde-Lees (voice)
Roland Huntford Roland Huntford ... Himself (historian)
Ron Keith Ron Keith ... Walter How (voice)
Tom McNeish Tom McNeish ... Himself (Grandson of McNish)
Simon Prebble Simon Prebble ... Ernest Shackleton (voice)
Paul Ricketts Paul Ricketts ... Frank Worsley (voice)


A retelling of Sir Ernest Shackleton 's ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in 1914-1916, featuring new footage of the actual locations and interviews with surviving relatives of key expedition members, plus archived audio interviews with expedition members, and a generous helping of the footage and still photos shot on the expedition. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

21 December 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Endurance See more »

Filming Locations:

Antarctica See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,931, 7 October 2001

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (TV premiere)

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Himself (historian): There is nothing that can crush a man as to see his dreams crumble to dust. But on the other hand... he realized if the one goal had disappeared, we'll have another one, and so, if I can't cross the continent, I'm going to bring all my men back alive, because you mustn't forget that polar exploration was littered with dead bodies. This almost fanatic - well it was a fanatic desire to bring his men back alive - this, then, became the driving force. It was the only thing he cared about. That ...
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User Reviews

Nature is indifferent to the dreams of mankind.
11 June 2006 | by TOMASBBloodhoundSee all my reviews

The Endurance is a truly fascinating account of Sir Ernest Shackleton's failed Antarctic expedition of 1914-1916. Shackelton was an adventurer looking for greatness in perhaps the last great uncharted portion of the earth at that time. He set out with 27 other adventurous young men (mostly from the UK) in a modest ship bound for the icy world of Antarctica. Their goal, once they got there, would be to walk across the continent and claim it for England. The South Pole had already been discovered, but apparently that was not enough to stake a claim to the entire continent at that time.

Shackleton is described as a man who admittedly "was not really good at anything". He was simply looking for prominence in one of the last places one could find it at that time. The crew, an assortment of various sailors and craftsmen, were warned of the dangers and low pay of such a venture. However the chance of gaining acclaim for accomplishing such a feat was enough to get hundreds of men to sign up. The crew were chosen and the boat was set to sail at the outset of WWI. Shackleton actually offered to postpone his mission and donate his ship The Endurance to the war effort, but the government let him go, anyway. Ironically, the ship never even made it to Antacrtica before things went to hell. Nobody from this party ever set foot on the continent.

About 100 miles from the coast, the boat became hopelessly stuck in pack ice. Shackleton made the decision to wait until the following spring when the ice would break up to resume the trip. Before spring could come, however, The Endurance would be crushed by the ice. The crew were forced to shoot their sled dogs to save food rations. The last of the dogs were actually eaten by the crew. The crew were forced to then drag the remaining life boats several miles to open water where they would then have to island-hop their way to civilization in some of the coldest and most choppy seas on earth. Along the way, the group is splintered in three parts, as it just becomes impossible to transport so many men in the tiny lifeboats. Somehow, over the span of nearly two years, Shackleton and his men are eventually all rescued. There are some incredible individual acts of heroism, and even an odd case of mutiny along the way. But Shackleton's leadership and confidence always seems to keep the group alive.

Once the men return home, they find that their own heroism has been dwarfed by so many men who had given their lives on the battlefields of WWI. Many of Shackleton's crew enlist in the army to almost certain death, and one is left to wonder about the logic behind it all. To stay alive through impossible circumstances for nearly two years, then go out and give your life for one of the most pointless conflicts in human history? People's attitudes must have been somewhat different back then.

The film is a visual treat. Still and moving footage from the actual expedition is inter-cut with current shots of the areas these men traveled through. The scenery is breathtaking, and you get a real feel for how desperate these mens' circumstances really were. Liam Neeson narrates, and he gives the material even further dignity. After watching the film, you can't help but realize how insignificant we humans are in the scope of the natural world. How any of these men made it back alive is a miracle. Nature lives by its own rules, and any time we humans attempt to conquer it, we run the risk of falling victim to its indifference to our plight.

9 of 10 stars.

The Hound

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