Thirteen Days (2000)

DailyView: Day 299, Movie 423

It’s President’s Day! To honor the day, I went looking for a movie featuring a president that I could use for the DailyView. One of the most tense and fascinating time of in history was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the film Thirteen Days gives a look at the Kennedy Administration and their anxiety-filled two week period that could have led to World War III.

Based on the book “The Kennedy Tapes – Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis”, Thirteen Days starred Kevin Costner as Ken O’Donnell, special adviser to the President, Bruce Greenwood as John F. Kennedy, and Steven Culp as Bobby Kennedy. The movie told the (mostly) true version of the story of how JFK dealt with the fact that the Soviet Union had placed intermediate-range ballistic missiles carrying nuclear weapons in Cuba.

The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the USA and the USSR within a hair’s breath of nuclear war, and it was only from the strength of President Kennedy and his staff that kept that from happening. The film indicated that there were plenty of military officers who were pushing JFK for an invasion of Cuba when the photos of the missiles in Cuba were discovered. President Kennedy knew that an invasion of Cuba by the United States would start a slippery slope that would eventually lead to a larger conflict with the Soviets and he did everything in his power to prevent such an occurrence.

Bruce Greenwood does an amazing job translating the frustration and the utter desperation the situation brought to the White House. Kevin Costner was the eyes and the voice of the audience as he struggled with every possible choice. His influence on Kennedy was second only to Bobby.

The film does a magnificent job of creating tone of anxiousness and tension with every minute of the film making us think that, despite the fact that we know the ultimate historical result, the world was truly in jeopardy.

This film was great and it certainly showed the arguable high point of JFK’s presidency.

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