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Thirteen Days (2000)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, History, Thriller  |  12 January 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 43,466 users   Metascore: 67/100
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A dramatization of President Kennedy's administration's struggle to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
U-2 Pilot
Drake Cook ...
Mark O'Donnell
Helen O'Donnell
Kathy O'Donnell
Kenny O'Donnell, Jr.
Matthew Dunn ...
Kevin O'Donnell
Kevin O'Donnell ...
NPIC Photo Interpreter
Janet Coleman ...
Arthur Lundahl
Liz Sinclair ...
Kenny's Assistant #1


In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable. Can it be prevented? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll Never Believe How Close We Came

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

12 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

13 Days  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$46,668 (USA) (29 December 2000)


ESP 172,811,365 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The second movie about President John F. Kennedy in which Kevin Costner stars as someone other than Kennedy. The first was JFK (1991). See more »


Two shots show the CH-46 tandem rotor helicopter in use. This helicopter did not enter service until 1964. See more »


President Kennedy: [addressing the NPIC photograph analyst] Okay - let's have it.
NPIC Photo Interpreter: Gentlemen, as most of you now know, a U-2 over Cuba Sunday morning took a series of disturbing photographs. Our analysis at NPIC indicates that the Soviet Union has followed up its conventional weapons build-up in Cuba with the introduction of surface-to-surface, medium-range ballistic missiles, or MRBMs. Our official estimate at this time is that the missile system is the SS-4 'Sandal'. We do not believe that the missiles are as yet...
See more »


Featured in Bringing History to the Silver Screen (2001) See more »


Virga Jesse Floruit
Composed by Anton Bruckner
Performed by John Scott & The St. Paul's Cathedral Choir
Courtesy of Hyperion Records Ltd., London, England
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good view on possibly the most tense thirteen days of the 20th century.
24 January 2006 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Basically this movie is a great history lesson. If you want to know more about the cold war and the Cuba missile crisis in particular this is a perfect medium for you to start with. The movie is quite detailed and accurate even though of course some moments and characters have been 'over-dramatized' for the good of the movie and its flow and emotions.

Even though you already know from start till finish how this movie is going to end, it still is a tense movie to watch. The story is build up well and makes the movie really interesting and compelling to follow. It perfectly captures the tension of the whole crisis and really makes you realize how close the world actually came to a WW III. It makes us aware of the fact that those 13 days in history should always be remembered and used as a lesson for the entire world now and forever. It's too bad that the movie becomes a bit too moralistic at times, especially toward the ending.

Bruce Greenwood doesn't really look like JFK but he's a good actor, so he becomes believable enough in his role trough his acting skills. Steven Culp really does look like Robert Kennedy and on top of that he also is a great actor. I wasn't always happy with Kevin Costner performance but overall he did an acceptable job. There are some weaker moments which involves his character but I more blame those moments to the at times too moralistic written script.

A bit of a disappointing aspect of the whole movie is its style. Roger Donaldson at times tries to be over-artistic and mixes the movie with black & white and color images. Perhaps he tried to copy Oliver Stone's style? Who knows. The cinematography was also disappointingly standard but thankfully the good editing saved this a little. Also the musical score by Trevor Jones is surprisingly solid.

Overall it's a very good political movie that has some great tense and important moments in it and also works great as a history lesson.


31 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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