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Thirteen Days

Thirteen Days

4.7 8
Director: Roger Donaldson,

Cast: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp


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An exemplary achievement as a film, and an equally exemplary achievement as a DVD. Ostensibly New Line's first Infinifilm disc (Little Nicky was, in fact, the first, with an Infinifilm version hidden as an easter egg), the DVD contains a selection of fairly normal features plus new features that utilize branching technology. The transfer is excellent. The film


An exemplary achievement as a film, and an equally exemplary achievement as a DVD. Ostensibly New Line's first Infinifilm disc (Little Nicky was, in fact, the first, with an Infinifilm version hidden as an easter egg), the DVD contains a selection of fairly normal features plus new features that utilize branching technology. The transfer is excellent. The film has been mastered anamorphically at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Colors are strong and accurate throughout (and the disc includes color bars to assist with setup) with deep blacks and good shadow detail. Fleshtones are accurate throughout. The image is sharp and clear, with no artifacts or softness. The Dolby 5.1 audio track has an excellent mix, with subtle use of atmospheric and ambient surround. The bass, when called up, is tight and clear and does not thump or rattle. Straightforward directional effects are few and far between in the mix, simply because they're not often called for. The ambient effects, however, more than make up for this, with each set given its own atmosphere. The Infinifilm feature places a broad semi-transparent blue bar at the bottom of the screen from time to time. Each time it appears, it offers one or more choices; by making a selection, the viewer is sent along a branching path to a snippet of information: filmographies, background information, clips from one of the two documentaries, and so forth. This certainly functions to broaden the experience of watching a film such as Thirteen Days, though not every movie would seem to call for this approach. Not content with offering this aspect, New Line has provided both a filmmaker's commentary track (executed as a roundtable with Kevin Costner, Roger Donaldson, David Self, and others), a historical figures commentary track compiled from a variety of recordings, a historical background commentary presented in subtitles, historical figure biographies, and cast and crew biographies. Additionally, there are two documentaries, "The Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis" and "Bringing History to the Silver Screen," along with a brief visual effects piece, a number of deleted scenes with director commentary, and the theatrical trailer. This is certainly a DVD worth owning, considering the wealth of material included; the extra materials are fascinating, and will take time to digest.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
In 1962, unbeknownst to all but a select few, the world hovered on the brink of nuclear war for nearly two weeks. That agonizingly tense period, as experienced by the leaders of our government, is dramatized superbly in the suspenseful Thirteen Days. It began with the discovery that Russian missiles were being deployed in Cuba, a development totally unacceptable to both President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) and the Pentagon big shots already spoiling for a fight with the Soviet Union. Counseled by his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy (Steven Culp), and chief domestic adviser Kenny O'Donnell (top-billed Kevin Costner), JFK tries every trick at the diplomatic playbook in hopes of defusing an incendiary crisis. Director Roger Donaldson, who helmed Costner's 1987 breakout film, No Way Out, is punctilious in his re-creation of time and place, although he takes occasional liberties with the historical record -- combining characters and altering the sequence of events -- in trying to capture the essence of those extraordinarily perilous 13 days. Costner, the ostensible star, gets plenty of screen time; O'Donnell's role in the situation's management is somewhat inflated. But it's Greenwood, most frequently seen as a smooth villain, who rates the kudos for his compelling portrayal of JFK. A carefully crafted mixture of history and entertainment, Thirteen Days is an edge-of-the-seat thriller -- a remarkable achievement considering that, four decades later, we go into the movie already knowing how the crisis was resolved. Costner, Donaldson, and screenwriter David Self participate in a feature-length commentary for the DVD, which also includes deleted scenes, cast and crew bios, DVD-ROM content (including script-to-screen presentation), and historical notes on the real-life people who figured in the crisis.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
It may seem nearly impossible to create a taut, engaging thriller out of events where the outcome has already been predetermined (as they were in 1962), but the team that assembled this crackling political drama has succeeded. Thirteen Days triumphs as a story of the tests of human endurance, mostly because it never loses the sense of urgency of the situation at hand. With the aid of his perfectly in-sync cast, director Roger Donaldson never resorts to glossiness or pandering to present the film's tale of a conflicted president in the midst of chaos. Bruce Greenwood not only captures JFK's cadences and physicality, but also gives the former president an unmistakable core of integrity and believability. Kevin Costner and Steven Culp are equally nuanced as well; the film's most admirable trait is how it suggests the vitality of their friendship without resorting to pathos or cheap sentiment. It's rare to see a politically centered movie with this much heart: though Thirteen Days may not be as edgy or risk-taking as one might like, it is undeniably rooted in true emotion -- one of the rarest things to capture in popular entertainment.
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
A tense and engrossing political thriller.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Commentary by Kevin Costner, director Roger Donaldson, writer David Self and executive producer Michael De Luca, Documentaries "Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis" and "Bringing History to the Silver Screen", Visual effects scene deconstructions, Historical figures biography gallery, Deleted scenes with director commentary

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kevin Costner Kenneth P. O'Donnell
Bruce Greenwood John F. Kennedy
Steven Culp Robert F. Kennedy
Dylan Baker Robert McNamara
Michael Fairman Adlai Stevenson
Henry Strozier Dean Rusk
Frank Wood McGeorge Bundy
Kevin Conway Gen. Curtis LeMay
Tim Kelleher Ted Sorensen
Len Cariou Dean Acheson
Bill Smitrovich Gen. Maxwell Taylor
Dakin Matthews Arthur Lundahl
Madison Mason Adm. George Anderson
Christopher Lawford Cmdr. William B. Ecker
Ed Lauter Gen. Marshall Carter
Elya Baskin Anatoly Dobrinyn
Boris Krutonog Alexander Fomin
Peter White John McCone
James Karen George Ball
Timothy Jerome Journalist
Olek Krupa Andrei Gromyko
Lucinda Jenney Helen O'Donnell
Oleg Vidov Valerian Zorin
Stephanie Romanov Jacqueline Kennedy

Technical Credits
Roger Donaldson Director
Marc Abraham Executive Producer
Peter O. Almond Producer
Andrzej Bartkowiak Cinematographer
Armyan Bernstein Producer
Thomas A. Bliss Executive Producer
Conrad Buff Editor
Cinesite Animator,Special Effects
Kevin Costner Producer
Dianne Crittenden Casting
Michael De Luca Executive Producer
Paul Deason Co-producer
Richard Bryce Goodman Sound/Sound Designer
Ann Harris Art Director
Ilona Herzberg Executive Producer
Robert Huberman Asst. Director
Trevor Jones Score Composer
Nancy Mickelberry Set Decoration/Design
Mary Montiforte Co-producer
Isis Mussenden Costumes/Costume Designer
Denise Pizzini Set Decoration/Design
Julie Ray Set Decoration/Design
David Self Screenwriter
Staci A. Silva Associate Producer
Tom Taylor Art Director
Dennis Washington Production Designer
Don Woodruff Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Select a Scene
1. Opening Sequence: A World on the Brink [1:05]
2. Missiles Spotted in Cuba [1:50]
3. "I need to see the President, Kenny" [2:55]
4. National Security Briefing [1:51]
5. EXCOM Formed [2:24]
6. Battle Lines Drawn within EXCOM [3:11]
7. Military Options [2:17]
8. JFK Meets with Dobrynin & Gromyko [1:36]
9. JFK Keeps Appointment with Mayor Daley [2:04]
10. Quarantine or Air Strike [1:29]
11. Reston & Frankel Have the Story [2:28]
12. Defcon 3 [2:36]
13. Nation Awaits Presidential Decision [1:56]
14. Presidential Address [4:00]
15. Rules of Engagement [1:08]
16. Low-Level Cuban Fly-By [1:55]
17. Brink of Destruction [1:40]
18. Eyeball to Eyeball [:04]
19. Defcon 2 [2:04]
20. A Moral Contest [1:08]
21. Courtroom of World Opinion [1:55]
22. Enforcing the Line [1:20]
23. Back Channel Overture [:26]
24. Khrushchev's First Letter [1:06]
25. Khrushchev's Second Letter [:35]
26. Major Anderson [:51]
27. Running Out of Time [1:51]
28. Accepting the First Letter [2:26]
29. Facing the Enemy [1:54]
30. A New Dawn [:45]
31. Kennedy's Speech [1:54]
32. End Credits [2:39]


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Thirteen Days 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was a tragic point in United States history. The country was the closest it has ever been to the brink of nuclear war. President Kennedy, the youngest President ever, was in office. The country’s safety lied in his hands. Thirteen Days, referring to the amount of time from the day Kennedy saw the photographs of deadly missiles on the island of Cuba to the time the crisis was resolved quite accurately followed history, showing President Kennedy’s executive committee (ExComm) diligently working to figure out the best option for action. Kennedy wanted to sacrifice the least amount of lives as possible, yet wanted to successfully remove the missiles from the island only 90 miles away. The administration had three main options: invade the island, launch air strikes, or set up a naval blockade. The film depicts how the country’s leaders felt during this tough period in time, and how nerve-wracking the entire situation was. Thirteen Days accurately shows the trials the country faced, the ships setting up the naval blockade, and the actions of the President in making sure the blockade executed its purpose properly. The movie was a very pleasing portrayal of the past (complete with an accurate setting and brilliant costume design)--one every history major will love. Even though some of the language and misuses of God's name could be omitted, it very suitably shows America in one of the biggest ordeals it has ever faced.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is surely one of the best movies I have seen! Outstanding performances by all the actors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''Thirteen Days'' is a complex, intelligent, fascinating movie with edge-of-your-seat suspense throughout. It takes you right into the oval office and the Pentagon during the Cuban Missile Crisis when only the courage and leadership of a handful of men kept the world from nuclear war. This thriller, expertly directed by Roger Donaldson, has some top-notch performances by Bruce Greenwood and Steven Culp as JFK and RFK, and by Kevin Costner as Kenny O'Donnell. This is the kind of intense powerful drama that's almost unheard of these days, and the producers deserve a great deal of credit for bringing it to the screen. If you missed it in the theater, be sure to catch it on DVD. It's amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Among the compelling features of this docu-drama are performers whose physical mannerisms and demeanor resemble those of the actual participants so closely that for those of us old enough to remember the events as they happened, the film is absolutely convincing and conveys a distinct and chilling sense of deja-vu. Another compelling feature is the ''InfiniFilm'' documentary footnotes that may be displayed at the bottom of the screen from time to time. Selection of a footnote displays a short subject that expands on the events being portrayed with archival footage and commentary from historians, witnesses, and participants. This DVD is not only entertainment, but also a valuable and thoroughly engaging historical record of a time more dangerous than most of us realized. Don't miss this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is fantastic. Having been in the Marine Corps and seeing Guantanamo Bay, Cuba immediately after this ''Quarantine'', it brings to light the many decisions that must be made by our president in times of crisis. This would be a great movie for people to see today for an insite into what is going on in the oval office in regard to our current situation with Iraq. Great! Everyone should enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The review I just submitted for 13 Days was inaccurate. I have not seen this movie. The review was supposed to be for Day of the Jackal. Please put my review in the correct place. Thanks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While informative of the event's during the Cuban Missile Crises, this movie keeps you on the edge of your seat. Be sure to see it.