Watch The Missiles of October
- 2 hr 30 min
The Missiles of October is a 1974 made-for-TV movie that recounts the perilous thirteen days in October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world close to nuclear war. The film is directed by Anthony Page and produced by Norman Rosemont. It features an impressive cast of actors including William Devane as President John F. Kennedy, Ralph Bellamy as former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and Howard Da Silva as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
The movie begins with the discovery of Soviet missile sites in Cuba by US spy planes. Confused and anxious, President Kennedy consults with his advisors, who are divided as to the best course of action. Some, including Attorney General Robert Kennedy (played brilliantly by Martin Sheen), insist on immediate air strikes. Others, such as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (John Putch), stress caution and the need for a diplomatic solution. As the clock ticks, the President must navigate this treacherous political landscape while also dealing with pressure from the Soviet Union and from hardline elements within his own administration.
The Missiles of October meticulously depicts the inner workings of the White House during this dangerous time, zooming in on the intense discussions and debates that took place among the President's circle of advisors. The movie is structured as a series of historical set-pieces, including the famous ExComm--the group of Kennedy's top aides who met in secret--meetings where the President and his team discuss intelligence reports and analyze the Soviet Union's motives. The film also portrays other significant events from the crisis, such as Kennedy's speech to the Americans, where he announced the discovery of the missile sites on national television.
The attention to detail in The Missiles of October is impressive. The movie includes many accurate reproductions of the White House and of various pieces of technology from the time, including telephones, TVs, and computers. The dialogue is similarly faithful to the historical record, with many lines taken directly from the transcripts of the actual meetings. As a result, the movie feels authentic and engaging, putting viewers right in the center of one of the most tense moments in modern history.
The acting in The Missiles of October is top-notch. William Devane delivers an excellent portrayal of John F. Kennedy, capturing the President's charisma, wit, and intelligence. Ralph Bellamy is also superb as Dean Acheson, the former Secretary of State who provides Kennedy with key advice during the crisis. Howard Da Silva brings his usual gravitas to the role of Khrushchev, adding depth and complexity to the character. The entire supporting cast, including Martin Sheen, John Putch, and even the late, great Walter Cronkite, are all uniformly excellent.
While the drama of The Missiles of October is impressive, what sets the movie apart is the way it manages to convey the larger historical context of the crisis. The film delves deep into the political, military, and psychological conflicts that made the Cuban Missile Crisis such a perilous moment, showing how events on the world stage were intertwined with the personal struggles of those involved. As a result, the movie feels more like a complex political thriller than a mere historical reenactment.
Overall, The Missiles of October is a gripping and engaging movie that manages to convey the importance and complexity of the Cuban Missile Crisis with care and nuance. The film's meticulous attention to detail, superb acting, and intelligent writing make it an excellent example of historical drama done right. Whether you're a history buff or just looking for a compelling movie based on a true story, The Missiles of October is well worth watching.