K-19: THE WIDOW MAKER (Theatricial Release USA 2002)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.4|5.0 Starsììì

K-19: The Widow Maker
condenses the historical events that plagued the K-19, a Russian nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, and eventually led to the deaths of 22 crew members who were exposed to severe radiation poisoning. The film will serve its audience at a higher level if a small amount of research is done on the race between America and Russia to develop this submarine, why it was considered valuable, how we currently detect nuclear submarine presence, and why this particular submarine was plagued with so many challenges both during testing and in its maiden voyage. The movie teams Harrison Ford with Liam Neeson to move its plot along. The real value in this movie lies in its educational appeal and needs more backstory to fully appreciate this story’s 138-minute glimpse into late 1950 through 1960 arms race history between the United States and Russia.

Film Poster Courtesy of Wikipedia


The K-19, a Russian nuclear-powered submarine, experiences serious challenges with its coolant systems.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Kathryn Bigelow for directing effort. Thank you to Executive Producers Moritz Borman, Guy East, Harrison Ford, Dieter Nobbe, Nigel Sinclair, and Volker Schauz for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Alexei Vostrikov (Harrison Ford), Dmitri (Sam Spruell), Kuryshev (Peter Stebbings), Pavel (Christian Camargo), Lapinsh (Roman Podhora), Vasily (Sam Redford), Demichev (Steve Nicolson), Captain Mikhail Polenin (Liam Neeson), Suslov (Ravil Isyanov), Partonov (Tim Woodward), and Kornilov (Lex Shrapnel). 

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. The film’s presentation is not outstanding, but it is a painless way to absorb a bit of 1961 Russian history through the movie format.

Video Critique Available Here:

Ben Meyers

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