K-19: the Widowmaker

K-19: the Widowmaker

Kathryn Bigelow (2002)

12 Certificate


Our Score
This workmanlike thriller is based on the true story of a Soviet nuclear submarine that sprung a radioactive leak and almost started the Third World War in 1961. Harrison Ford plays the captain at loggerheads with his second-in-command, Liam Neeson; Ford is willing to sacrifice anything or anyone for the good of the Soviet Union, while Neeson has only the welfare of the crew at heart. After about an hour of these two locking horns, interspersed with shots of doomed sailors looking at photos of their loved ones, the nuclear reactor leaks and the film gets interesting. The horror of the radiation effects, the race against time, the claustrophobic tension - all of this works, but it's too little too late. By then we barely care what happens. And it boasts the least authentic accents since Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins - Neeson tries his best until he hears Ford's paltry effort and then decides not to bother after all.


The captain of Russia's first nuclear submarine is demoted for expressing fears that the vessel is unfit for commission. However, his anxieties prove well-founded when the reactor malfunctions, creating the possibility of a nuclear explosion the US would mistake for an attack - and potentially triggering a global conflict. Kathryn Bigelow's fact-based thriller, starring Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson and Peter Sarsgaard.

Cast & Crew

Alexei Vostrikov Harrison Ford
Mikhail Polenin Liam Neeson
Vadim Radtchenko Peter Sarsgaard
Marshal Zelentstov Joss Ackland
Admiral Bratyeev John Shrapnel
Dr Savran Donald Sumpter
Partonov Tim Woodward
Demichev Steve Nicolson
Director Kathryn Bigelow
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: UIPGuidance: Edited for violence and language. Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 25 Oct 2002