commander owen

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Eight-Pick One-The Final Countdown 1980

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USS Nimitz Storm IMDb & Amazon Image One
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Eight pick.

Category: Action/Adventure/Thriller
Film: The Final Countdown

Captain Yelland: […to his Native American Weather Officer…] “Ahhh, Black Cloud, you’ve been doing unauthorized rain dances again.”

Lasky: […as a Japanese pilot is holding Laurel at gunpoint…] “Why don’t you tell him what’s going on here, Commander? You’re an expert on what’s gonna happen tomorrow…”
Captain Yelland: “Go ahead, tell him.”
Commander Richard Owens: “26 November, six carriers left the Kuril Isles north of Japan. The carriers were the Akagi, Kaga, Shokaku, Zuikaku, Hiryu, Soryu. Tomorrow at dawn, these carriers will send 353 planes to attack Pearl Harbor.”
Senator Chapman: “How in the hell do you know all that?”

F-14 Pilot #1: “Mission aborted? But, we can see ’em!”
F-14 Pilot #2: “They’re gonna let the Japs do it, again.”

Directed by Don Taylor, it was produced by Peter Vincent Douglas and Lloyd Kaufman with Kirk Douglas executive producing without credit. The story, and screenplay, was written by the team of Thomas Hunter, Peter Powell, David Ambrose and Gerry Davis. The ensemble cast was Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross, James Farentino, Charles Durning, Ron O’Neal, Victor Mohica, Soon-Tek Oh and James Coleman, with producers Lloyd Kaufman and Peter Douglas playing small parts.

Senator Chapman & Laurel IMDb & Amazon Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

It’s 1980 and Warren Lasky (Sheen) is a Systems Analyst from Tideman Industries, working with the Department of Defense as an efficiency expert. He is dispatched by his secretive employer to board the USS Nimitz before its departure from Naval Station Pearl Harbor for naval exercises in the Pacific. Tideman Industries designed and built the carrier. Not long at sea, a strange storm appears out of nowhere and the Nimitz can neither outrun nor maneuver away from it. Passing thru the storm, electronics and people, alike, are knocked out. Once the storm is gone and everything returns to normal, Captain Yelland (Douglas), his crew and his civilian passenger discover that they have been thrown backwards in time to 1941, just hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor. What now?

It’s original premiere was in London on May 21, 1980, Japan on July 5 and the US on August 1. I didn’t get to see it at the theater but, caught it on HBO a year later. IMDb lists this as Action & Sci-Fi, which it is but, I think it fits in the Adventure/Thriller categories, too. As a contributor on IMDb, I’ve made a suggested update of the genre. Having been on board the USS Enterprise on December 7, 2001, I have a much greater appreciation for the making of this movie. It received mixed reviews and didn’t make a lot of money. Two months later, another time travel film was released…Somewhere In Time and The Philadelphia Experiment, four years later, is the reverse of this movie in time frames. ~Vic

Trivia Bits:
♦ Peter Douglas is Kirk Douglas’ son with his second wife. This was his first film as producer and his only credited acting role.
♦ This was made with the full cooperation of the US Navy and 48 Nimitz crew members were credited.
♦ Filming took place on board ship at sea (exterior shots) with interior shots filmed in dry dock at Naval Station Norfolk. The USS Kitty Hawk was a stand-in, pulling into Pearl Harbor. Flight and water scenes were shot at Naval Air Station Key West.
♦ The production crew was allowed to film a real emergency landing and recovery of an aircraft that appeared in the film.
♦ The first setup to film an F-14 takeoff resulted in both camera and operator being pitched down the runway.
♦ The black and white Pearl Harbor attack footage was taken from Tora! Tora! Tora!
♦ WWII ace fighter pilot Archie Donahue was one of the Zero pilots. The Zeros were converted T-6 Texans, flying full throttle and the F-14s were flying at stall speeds so that both aircraft would be in the same shot.
♦ When filming wrapped, possibly early, the USS Nimitz was recalled to home base to participate in Operation Eagle Claw, the attempt to rescue the hostages held at the U.S. Embassy in Iran on April 24, 1980.

Additional Reading:
Archie Donahue: WWII Ace Pilot (HistoryNet/Jon Guttman/July 2007)
Filming of Final Countdown: You Want Us To Do What? (Pilots For Christ Forum/Administrator Don Gieseke/12-08-2016)
Commander Richard “Fox” Farrell: Lead F-14 Pilot (Dignity Memorial/03-31-2014)

Awards & Nominations

Watch the movie for free: Daily Motion