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The Missiles of October
The Missiles of October
Actors: William Devane, Ralph Bellamy, Howard Da Silva, James Hong, Martin Sheen
Director: Anthony Page
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2001     2hr 30min

This recreation of the events leading up to the cuban missile crisis begins with kennedys discovery of soviet missiles in cuba & follows his difficult decision-making process. Commentary by william devane ralph bellamy mar...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: William Devane, Ralph Bellamy, Howard Da Silva, James Hong, Martin Sheen
Director: Anthony Page
Creators: Jerry Greene, Herbert Brodkin, Irv Wilson, Robert Berger, Robert F. Kennedy, Stanley R. Greenberg
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/26/2001
Original Release Date: 12/18/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 12/18/1974
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 2hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Superb historical drama. Worthwhile and powerful.
Roger J. Buffington | Huntington Beach, CA United States | 05/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is very little to criticize about this dramatization of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The film mainly focuses on the deliberations on the American side, i.e. President John F. Kennedy and his Ex-Comm group ("Executive Committee of the National Security Council") as they try to force the Soviets to remove the missiles from Cuba while avoiding a nuclear conflict. The film successfully conveys the fears and difficulties faced by JFK and his team, their thoughts and deliberations. The script is fairly close to the actual facts as they are understood today. This is a wonderfully educational production that any parent would do well to watch with his or her children. Devane is pretty good as JFK. I thought that Martin Sheen absolutely nailed Bobby Kennedy. The supporting actors were uniformly excellent. Good casting throughout.One of the excellent things about the production is the occasional interjection of period news bulletins of nuclear tests, the escalating conflict, etc. These added a wonderful sense of authenticity even as they entertained.A few quibbles, all minor. I thought that the movie somewhat (not excessively) idolized the Kennedys. It was a bit much when one member of Ex Comm commented that "Bobby [Kennedy] I confess your moral arguments [against invading Cuba] never occurred to me..." Come on, of course they did. The record shows that Ex Comm debated these issues extensively. Nor was Bobby Kennedy against invading Cuba--the record is pretty clear that both Kennedys had been pushing for removing Castro by various means before the crisis began. Bobby Kennedy's comment that bombing the missiles out of Cuba would be like a "reverse Pearl Harbor" was disdained as amateurish by most of Ex Comm. The movie barely acknowledges that. [Dean Acheson characterizes that analogy to JFK at one point as "false and pejorative..."]. The movie portrays the US Navy as lusting after conflict in a manner I thought was unseemly--this was my only major criticism of the film. ["Thirteen Days" shares this flaw.] Hollywood often cannot pass up a chance to take a swipe at the military.This is an incredibly worthwhile production that I make a point of watching every year or so. A must for the thoughtful viewer's DVD collection."
One of the First and still best television docu-dramas!
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 04/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the fall of 1974 I gathered with others at a friends house with the intention of going out for the evening. By chance, a commercial announced that "The Missiles of October", one of television's first attempts at a docu-drama (the other being The Andersonville Trial) was about to come on. We decided to wait 'a few minutes' to see some of it. Three hours later we were still in our chairs with our coats on. Silence pervaded the room as the drama unfurled and there was an overwhelming sense of "you are there" that kept us riveted to the story. Looking back now I realize that this was one of the greatest stage productions ever made on what then had been somewhat of a mystery to the average American, namely, what had actually transpired during the thirteen days of intense struggle of October of 1962, when the world was on the edge of nuclear Armageddon. This work is very intellectual, superbly written and gripping in dramatic scenes. It is important to remember that this was shown during an era of STRONG anti-military feeling. The country was winding down from Vietnam and to see a positive resolvency of a possible global catastrophe by politicians concerning an incident in '62 from when we were only children reminded us of what America CAN accomplish when sane men seek safe ways out of conflict. There is a LOT of good acting. The scenes are cleverly done, shifting between Washington and Moscow with tid-bits of B&W 'events in the world' film thrown in. We get to see "inside" the exec committees of both the White House and Kremlin and how they plot strategy. Attempts to duplicate the success of this stage drama failed miserably. "Pueblo" in 1976 did not capture the tension and mystique and television has simply never been able to repeat what I now believe was a dramatic miracle of production on screen. WELL RECOMMENDED."
Finally on DVD!
L. Derman | Bismarck, ND USA | 09/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've been waiting for The Missiles of October to come out on DVD since I first got my DVD player over a year ago. My VHS copy of Missiles, which is over 15 years old, has degraded greatly in picture and sound quality, so I was hoping that the DVD copy would be an improvement. I was not disappointed. It has an amazingly crisp picture and the sound is excellent.When the movie Thirteen Days came out I was anxious to compare it to Missiles. Thirteen Days was a good film, but I still prefer The Missiles of October. All the performances are excellent, but William Devane, Martin Sheen and Howard DaSilva top the list. I was barely six years old when the actual event occurred back in 1962 so I don't remember the incident from then. However, I did see the movie when it originally aired in 1974 and was greatly impacted by it then. They did an excellent job in weaving the actual documentary footage together with their dramatization. Watching the thirteen day countdown to possible worldwide nuclear destruction is compelling watching. I highly recommend this movie to anyone with a taste for history, suspense, excellent performances or as an example of how good television can be when given the chance."
Wonderful portrayal
L. Derman | 09/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Missiles of October recounts the events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 when the United States and the Soviet Union for the first-and last-time teetered on the brink of nuclear war. The screenplay is constructed from factual sources, such as official documents, interviews, and reports. Although some of the dialogue is dramatized, the story still follows with surprising accuracy, for Hollywood, of the events of those 13 deadly days. One of the highlights is Devane's portrayal of JFK. I have seen plenty of actors try to do Kennedy, but Devane nails the character. Sheen's RFK is equally powerfull. There are some historical shortcomings, like leaving LBJ out of the movie when in reality he was very much a part of the deliberations of the ExComm. Even with the occasional historical twist, this is a high quality and riveting portrayal of great events, great men, and two weeks that changed forever the way we lived."