Thirteen Days

YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE HOW CLOSE WE CAME. 

In October 1962, White House advisor Kenneth O’Donnell (Kevin Costner) becomes a witness to how President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) challenges a Soviet decision to put missiles in Cuba capable of delivering a nuclear strike on the U.S. The ultimate screen portrait of the Cuban missile crisis is very dialogue-driven and contains previously classified information. Lauded for its credibility, the movie was also criticized for elevating O’Donnell’s part in the drama to an exaggerated degree… but there are so many characters, numbers and facts thrown at us that we need someone like Costner to connect with. Tight clashes in the White House – and Greenwood is a perfect JFK.

2000-U.S. 145 min. Color. Produced by Peter O. Almond, Armyan Bernstein, Kevin Costner. Directed by Roger Donaldson. Screenplay: David Self. Book: Ernest May, Philip Zelikow (”The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis”). Cast: Kevin Costner (Kenneth O’Donnell), Bruce Greenwood (John F. Kennedy), Steven Culp (Robert F. Kennedy), Dylan Baker, Michael Fairman, Henry Strozier.

Trivia: The events were also chronicled in the TV movie The Missiles of October (1974).

Last word: “I was interested to know what the reality of it was with some of the people that had experienced it, and one of the things that I managed to do was to hunt down a lot of people who had been part of the real story. I managed to find the guy who had flown the first low-level photography runs over Cuba, I managed to find Ted Sorensen who was the speech writer for Kennedy, people like Robert McNamara are still alive who I spoke to and every one of these people reiterated that at the time they believed that it was going to happen, they really thought there was going to be a war, and they were convinced it was going to be a nuclear war, and they had this feeling of inevitability about it, accepting that there was nothing they could do to stop this thing happening, and you talk to someone like Robert McNamara now and he says ‘I don’t know how it didn’t happen’.” (Donaldson, Stray Bullets)

 

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