Thirteen Days

Thirteen Days

4.7 8
Director: Roger Donaldson

Cast: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp


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Director Roger Donaldson teams up with star Kevin Costner for another political thriller (after their 1987 pairing, No Way Out), only this time with a film based on the actual events surrounding the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, taking place during the titular thirteen days wherein the U.S. and the Soviet Union nearly engaged in full-scale nuclear war. AfterSee more details below


Director Roger Donaldson teams up with star Kevin Costner for another political thriller (after their 1987 pairing, No Way Out), only this time with a film based on the actual events surrounding the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, taking place during the titular thirteen days wherein the U.S. and the Soviet Union nearly engaged in full-scale nuclear war. After President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) is shown photographs from a spy plane detailing the presence of missiles in Cuba capable of obliterating massive areas of the U.S., he must immediately decide the most effective course of action for the country. With the aid of best friend and special assistant Kenny O'Donnell (Kevin Costner) and brother Robert (Steven Culp), the President must avoid a dire chain of events that could be dictated by General Curtis LeMay (Kevin Conway), who would rather take immediate action and invade Cuba. After initial reticence about leaking the information to the nation, President Kennedy eventually tells of the conflict, leading to widespread panic and a blockade of Cuba. With the aid of Robert McNamara (Dylan Baker) and Adlai Stevenson (Michael Fairman), the leaders must find a way to alleviate the tension of the situation. Thirteen Days also features Walter Adrian as Lyndon Johnson.

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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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video
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Special Features

Historical figures commentary: featuring archival audio of John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Kenneth P. McDonnell, and interviews with Pierre Salinger, Sergei Krushchev and many others; Documentary: Roots of the Cuban Missile Crisis features film footage from the era with interviews covering U.S./Soviet relations from post-WWII Europe through the end of the crisis; Historical figures biographical gallery: video biographies of key figures involved in the crisis, featuring John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Nikita Krushchev, Fidel Castro and many others; Filmmaker commentary featuring director Roger Donaldson, Kevin Costner and others; Deleted scenes with director commentary; Documentary: Bringing History to the Silver Screen; Visual effects scene deconstructions - multi-angle feature; Trailer; Historical information track

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
Tim 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

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