Thirteen Days

Critics Consensus

Thirteen Days offers a compelling look at the Cuban Missile Crisis, and its talented cast deftly portrays the real-life people who were involved.



Reviews Counted: 120

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Average Rating: 3.5/5

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Movie Info

For thirteen extraordinary days in October of 1962, the world stood on the brink of an unthinkable catastrophe. Across the globe, people anxiously awaited the outcome of a harrowing political, diplomatic and military confrontation that threatened to end in an apocalyptic nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. The alarming escalation of events during those fateful days brought to the fore such public figures as Robert McNamara, Adlai Stevenson, Theodore Sorenson, Andrei Gromyko, Anatoly Dobrynin, McGeorge Bundy, Dean Acheson, Dean Rusk, and General Curtis LeMay. In addition many others -- politicians, diplomats and soldiers -- were on the front line of the showdown. In Thirteen Days, we see all of these people, -- and, above all -- President John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby, through the eyes of a trusted presidential aide and confidante, Kenneth P. O'Donnell.

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Kevin Costner
as Ken O'Donnell
Bruce Greenwood
as John F. Kennedy
Steven Culp
as Robert F. Kennedy
Dylan Baker
as Robert McNamara
Henry Strozier
as Dean Rusk
Frank Wood
as McGeorge Bundy
Len Cariou
as Dean Acheson
Michael Fairman
as Adlai Stevenson
Lucinda Jenney
as Helen O'Donnell
Bill Smitrovich
as Gen. Maxwell Taylor
Ed Lauter
as Gen. Marshall Carter
Kevin Conway
as Gen. Curtis LeMay
Kelly Connell
as Pierre Salinger
Elya Baskin
as Anatoly Dobrynin
Madison Mason
as Adm. George Anderson
Christopher Lawford
as Cmdr. William Ecker
Charles Esten
as Maj. Rudolph Anderson
Boris Krutonog
as Alexander Fomin
Jack Blessing
as John Scali
Olek Krupa
as Andrei Gromyko
Stephanie Romanov
as Jacqueline Kennedy
Janet Coleman
as Evelyn Lincoln
Dakin Matthews
as Arthur Lundhal
Walter Adrian
as Lyndon Johnson
Peter White
as John McCone
Tim Kelleher
as Ted Sorensen
James Karen
as George Ball
Daniel Ziskie
as General Walter `Cam' Sweeney
Jack McGee
as Mayor Daly
Drake Cook
as Mark O'Donnell
Caitlin Wachs
as Kathy O'Donnell
Jon Foster
as Kenny O'Donnell Jr.
Matthew Dunn
as Kevin O'Donnell
John Aylward
as Orville Dryfoos
David O'Donnell
as Lieutenant Bruce Wilhemy
Vivien Straus
as White House Aide
Gene Del Bianco
as Petty Officer
Daniel Vergara
as OAS President
Reuben Moreno
as Argentine Diplomat
Thomas Roberts
as Sonar Operator
Sean Bergin
as Chief Sonarman
Alan Francis
as Executive Officer of USS Pierce
Robert Munstis
as Radio Room Operator No. 1
Michael Gaston
as Captain of USS Pierce
Joseph Repoff
as Radio Room Operator No. 2
J. Tucker Smith
as Captain of USS Kennedy
Chris Henry Coffey
as Officer of Destroyer
Oleg Vidov
as Valerian Zorin
Radu Gavor
as Romanian Delegate
Zitto Kazann
as Chilean Delegate
Alex Veadov
as Radio Room Operator No. 3
Tom Everett
as Walter Sheridan
Karl Makinen
as Young FBI Agent
Boris Lee Krutonog
as Alexander Fomin
Charles Barrett
as Air Force NCO
Darryl Smith
as Football Coach
Alan Graf
as Football Referee
Robert Miranda
as RFK's Driver
Todd Sible
as RFK's Staffer
Marya Kazakova
as Soviet Woman
Cliff Fleming
as Aerial Coordinator
Ben Koldyke
as RF-8 Pilot
Kevin O'Donnell
as NPIC Photo Interperter
Tim Jerome
as Journalist
Liz Sinclair
as Kennedy Assistant No. 1
Colette O'Connell
as Kennedy Assistant No. 2
Karen Ludwig
as Operator Margaret
Audrey R. Rapoport
as White House Operator No. 1
Marliese K. Schnieder
as White House Operator No. 2
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Critic Reviews for Thirteen Days

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (28)

Audience Reviews for Thirteen Days


Great script, better than average costumes, decent acting (I say that even with Kevin Costner in a leading role!), good directing -- and lots of historical drama. "Thirteen Days" is the Cuban Missile Crisis lesson you wish you'd had in high school.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


"If the sun comes up tomorrow, it is only because of men of good will. And that's - that's all there is between us and the devil." A dramatization of President Kennedy's administration's struggle to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962.

In the 1960's few realized how close the world came to Nuclear Winter. Even today, with all the resources at hand, fewer care who prevented the Third World War. One thing is certain, America was enormously fortunate to have had as President of the United States, John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) during those nearly fatal "Thirteen Days." As the thinking man's president, Mr. Kennedy was lucky to have in his cabinet men of intellect and reason. His main confidante was his younger brother, Robert Kennedy (Steven Culp) who proved invaluable as Attorney General. When the world learned of the Nuclear threat ninety miles away, Kennedy came to rely heavily on his political adviser Kenny O'Donnell (Kevin Costner) who displayed cautious insight and prudent judgment in critical moments which could have proved disastrous had the Joint Chiefs of Staff gotten their way. Further, Kennedy was definitely fortunate to have selected as his ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson (Michael Fairman) who stood toe to toe with Russian's Valerian Zorin (Oleg Vidov) and did not back down. The film is dramatic and terrifyingly accurate with dated Black and White footage and actual verbal scripts from hidden recordings from the oval office. What we know today is; had the Administration followed the prodding of the military, they would have initiated the Third World War as the Russian military in Cuba, actually had short range Atomic warheads at their disposal. This is a frightening film for rational people.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Great film! A movie that I've watched at school that was legit, not a lame educational movie. A very good adaptation of the drama and conflict behind the Cuban Missle Crisis. Fueled mostly by great performances and powerful dialogue, this film is a great historical drama. The emotion and intensity in the story is very believable. We truly were on the brink of war, and this film I believe captures a realistic look into what occured. I recommend this film to everyone, especially History buffs.

Jameson Worley
Jameson Worley

Super Reviewer

As far as I'm concerned, this is director Roger Donaldson's greatest film. Thirteen Days is set during the two week long Cuban missile crises of October 1962. Thirteen Days is a powerful dramatic thriller about those events, that brought the world near a nuclear war. A very tense, suspenseful film, Thirteen Days is an impressive film, and we see how the American government try to handle the more than fragile situation. Because after all, this was at the high of the cold war. Director Roger Donaldson does a phenomenal job at building up the tension throughout the film. Donaldson is so good at tension building that you cannot look away from the film because you want to know how all this will end. Thirteen Days is one of the few films that I have seen that brilliantly builds up its thrills and suspense to a very good climax. The cast is well chosen and the best performances here are Kevin Costner and Bruce Greenwood.. These are the two who really deliver on screen, but theres not a single bad casting choice. Thirteen Days is one great dramatic Thriller about one of the most tense two weeks of the entire cold war. Roger Donaldson has delivered a great film thats definitely not boring, even though theres a lot of talking involved. The film will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end and is a terrific thriller supported by a great cast of actors. Thirteen Days is an excellent film that sheds light on those drastic, tense two weeks of October 1962. This is a film that very powerful and compelling, a very interesting depiction of a dark time in history.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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