The Final Countdown


Action / Sci-Fi

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 47%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 61%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 20438

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Uploaded By: OTTO



Martin Sheen as Warren Lasky
Katharine Ross as Laurel Scott
Kirk Douglas as Capt. Matthew Yelland
Charles Durning as Senator Samuel Chapman
1.64 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 43 min
P/S 4 / 20

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lawprof 8 / 10

When the Propmaster is the Chief of Naval Operations

Making a military movie without official cooperation can be difficult. If the story doesn't require major air or naval assets, a script disapproved of by the top brass can be convincingly brought to the screen. Two examples - both true stories that the Pentagon didn't want to support - are "Men of Honor" reflecting the epidemic racism of the not-that-long-ago Navy and "Sgt. Bilko," a film portraying what some noncoms do to earn extra income (trust me, it's a true story: a real Sgt. Bilko worked (officially but not actually) for me when I was an Army officer.

But when you need lots of planes and ships, you gotta have official help. And few movies have gotten more assistance than the producer, director and cast of "The Final Countdown," now available on DVD,a sci-fi recruiting spectacular that features - on loan at taxpayer expense - the huge carrier U.S.S. Nimitz complete with crew. Now that's cooperation!

Kirk Douglas skippers the supercarrier which is on Pacific Fleet maneuvers. On board as some sort of efficiency consultant is a young Martin Sheen, not yet ready for the West Wing. A mysterious and never explained weather phenomenon grips the mighty floating air base and to the unfolding amazement of captain, officers and crew dawns the realization that the Nimitz in sailing not that far from Pearl Harbor on 6 December 1941.

Meanwhile a U.S. senator, played by one of Hollywood's deservedly decorated war heroes, Charles Durning, is enjoying his yacht, also near Pearl, while dictating to his lovely secretary, Katharine Ross. A brace of Japanese Zeroes sink the yacht, killing two passengers which then prompts the carrier C.O. to order trailing F-14 Tomcats to "splash" the "enemy." Durning and Ross are rescued. Without a word, this talented actor's face does a comical double-take when introduced to the ship's executive officer who just happens to be black (in 1941 a black navy man could only serve as a steward in the officers mess. That was it. Period.)

The dilemma facing Douglas, of course, is a classic time-travel conundrum. To interfere with the course of history (the carrier's air wing can make instant teriyaki of the six Japanese carriers) or to let events take their known and disastrous course.

A chaste incipient romance between the nearly drowned damsel and the carrier's Commander Air Group competes with the white knuckle decision-making struggle of the C.O.

So much for the plot. What is on offer here is a demonstration of every aircraft type, fixed-wing and rotary, deployed on the vessel as well as demonstrations of shipboard activities ranging from retrieving a damaged jet to going to General Quarters name it. The technical advisers knew they had a film crew pliant to every suggestion. The result is a genuinely exciting show- a great warship going through its paces. And, unlike "Tora Tora Tora" it doesn't appear that any genuine sailors were harmed in the making of the movie.

There's one big problem. A science fiction story is usually utterly improbable, indeed impossible, but its internal logic is vital: it must be consistent. Spielberg understands that very well. Watch the first couple of minutes when Sheen is greeted by his employer's lackey and the last minutes when he debarks from the Nimitz. Something is very, very off-kilter. Could the CEO of a great military-industrial conglomerate have used top secret technology to send the carrier back to 1941 for...

So what. This is a beautifully filmed adventure story, not a great film. The cast probably relished taking over the carrier for a while and the real captain, never shown, surely wished that the Navy hadn't banned hard spirits from our ships in World War I. But all emerge unscathed in a genuinely entertaining romp through time.


Reviewed by HotToastyRag 2 / 10

Don't waste your time

I know the premise on Imdb will sound irresistible to you: "A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor." It did to me, too-that's why I rented The Final Countdown! However, you can feel free to save your time and skip this one. It's utterly pointless.

The exposition is very exciting, and I found my heart was literally racing for the first twenty minutes. Martin Sheen comes aboard the gigantic ship and meets Captain Kirk Douglas and his crew. Once they're in the middle of the ocean, an electric storm surrounds them and they travel back in time. I'm deathly afraid of shipwrecks, drowning, and any other danger involving water, so that's probably why I was so frightened during the opening scenes. However, the rest of the movie is incredibly boring. It takes a ridiculously long time for the characters to even figure out what's happened to them, and what they decide to do about it will most likely infuriate you.

Usually, when everyone in the cast gives wonderful performances, I give credit to the director, who obviously had a magic touch with his actors. In the case of The Final Countdown, I feel forced to blame the director. The cast is clueless, low-key, and acts like they're participating in a dress rehearsal. Katharine Ross's performance made me want to throw something at the television set. She sees a dead body: "Oh, no. . ." She finds her dog she thought had drowned: "Oh, Charlie. . ." I strongly considered the possibility she'd been given a valium before the take, but I won't ask you to sit through the movie to ask if you agree. If the acting or story doesn't make you cringe, John Scott's outrageously epic music will. Watch The Fifth Missile instead; it's much better.

Reviewed by MovieBuffMarine 10 / 10

Never Gets Old!

I first saw this during ABC's premiere presentation broadcast (of theatricals) on the ABC Sunday Night Movie around 1982 - 83 when I was eleven and it blew me away!

Decades later, as a Marine Corps veteran when I purchased the special edition DVD, I still marveled at it and watch it every chance I get!

If you are a military and science fiction fan, this is a treat. What's not to like? A modern nuclear powered aircraft carrier (with its air wing and arsenal) getting caught in an unexplained phenomenon (in effect, storm) sending it to the day before the Pearl Harbor attack made a wonderful platform. To paraphrase TV Guide's view of the movie, it was a story reminiscent of "The Twilight Zone."

Kirk Douglas played a convincing Navy Captain, Matt Yelland commanding the U.S.S. Nimitz and her arsenal that was capable of wiping out the Japanese fleet. Rounding off the players are equally convincing roles by James Farentino - CDR Richard "CAG" Owens, the air wing commander; Ron O'Neal - CDR Dan Thurman, the ship's second-in-command; and Martin Sheen - Warren Lasky, a visiting civilian defense contractor. Charles Durning and Katherine Ross play 1941 characters shocked by their time travelers and ship from the future.

Like most stories about time travel, the main characters have to face the main concern about altering the future as they knew it. As one of the characters retorted to another, ". . I don't have your appetite for playing God with the world!" when faced with that prospect. As 1941 friends and enemies come in contact with them, they have to make decisions on how to deal with them to avoid further conflict but at the same time possibly altering the future.

The origins of the storm that sent the Nimitz back to 1941 is never explained, so it is left ambiguous. One can surmise that the Nimitz' travel back in time was a test for Captain Yelland and crew to see what they would do with the modern capabilities of the ship in regards to an historical attack they know is coming.

Awesome aircraft carrier operations courtesy of the United States Navy spliced with science fiction intrigue make this an appealing tale for both military aficionados and science fiction lovers alike.

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