NominationsALMA Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in Made for Television Movie or Mini-Series CastRutger Hauer (Cap. Britanov), Martin Sheen (Aurora Skipper), Max von Sydow (Admiral Chernavin), Colm Feore (Pshenishny), Rob Campbell (Sergei Preminin), Harris Yulin (Admiral Quinn) Similar moviesJaws, Das Boot, Rocky IV, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Goliath Awaits, Rambo: First Blood Part II
TaglineWe were seconds from death and we didn't know it.
Hostile waters trailer 1997
Hostile Waters is a British 1997 television film about the loss of the Soviet Navy's K-219, a Yankee I class nuclear ballistic missile sub. The film stars Rutger Hauer as the commander of K-219 and claims to be based on the true story. The film was produced by World Productions for the BBC and HBO, in association with Invision Productions and UFA Filmproduktions. It was written by Troy Kennedy Martin and directed by David Drury, and was first transmitted on BBC One on 26 July 1997.
K-219 performs a Crazy Ivan, and USS Aurora collides with her, causing a rupture of the seal on one of its ballistic missile tubes. The leaking seawater causes a corrosive reaction which floods the sub with toxic gas. The corrosive reaction starts a fire that floods the sub with more toxic gas, and smoke.
The captain surfaces the boat and moves the crew out to the deck, and attempts to vent the sub. The chief engineer informs the captain that the fire may cook off the nukes and cause a nuclear explosion. The launch doors are opened on the sub to vent smoke.
Aurora ascertains that a fire is aboard K-219, and informs the Pentagon. The Pentagon, fearing radiological contamination of the Eastern Seaboard, orders Aurora to prepare to sink K-219. The fact that the launch doors are open on the SLBMs causes consternation in Washington D.C., with calls for the immediate sinking of the sub, should it appear to be preparing to launch.
The captain of K-219 prepares a bold plan to dive with the launch doors open, to flood the missile bay and quench the fires. As the captain dives the sub, Aurora prepares to fire, assuming K-219 is setting about to launch its missiles. After a brief but heated argument the U.S. commander is convinced to wait before launching and realises that the Soviet sub is diving, rather than launching its SLBMs.
K-219's tactic works, and the sub resurfaces with the fires out. A new crisis develops: Both nuclear reactors are overheating, and the cooling rods must be lowered manually by two crew members who have only limited oxygen left. The rods are lowered, and both reactors are shut down, averting disaster, but one crew member remains locked inside the reactor room, running out of oxygen. With seawater flooding the submarine, the captain of K-219 decides to abandon ship. Throughout the crisis, Washington insists that no information on the possibility of nuclear fallout along the eastern American coastline be leaked to the Governors and no evacuation plans be activated to protect the population, in order not to derail the forthcoming Reykjavik Summit between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan.
Capt. Britanov and his surviving crew members return safely to Moscow with some crew decorated and he being dismissed from the navy. The Reykjavik Summit takes place as planned.
The film's postscript details that as a legacy almost a decade after the end of the Cold War, fifty one nuclear war heads and seven nuclear reactors from nuclear submarines litter the North Atlantic ocean floor.
Rutger Hauer as Capt. Britanov
Martin Sheen as Aurora Skipper
Max von Sydow as Admiral Chernavin
Colm Feore as Pshenishny
Rob Campbell as Sergei Preminin
Harris Yulin as Admiral Quinn
Regina Taylor as Lieutenant Curtis
John Rothman as Aurora Exec. Officer
Michael Attwell as Kuzmenko
Dominic Monaghan as Sasha
Peter Guinness as Vladimirov
James E. Kerr as Aznabaev
Alexis Denisof as John Baker
Seamus McQuade as Helmsman
Paul Birchard as Torpedo Chief
Oliver Marlo as Doctor
Mark Drewry as Petrachkov
Denzil Kilvington as Volnigbirov
Garry Cooper as Gennady
Frank Baker as Pumps
Richard Graham as Belikov
Joachim Paul Assböck as Tigran Gasparian
Alexander Wachholz as Martinov
David King as Admiral 2nd Class
Todd Boyce as Larry Brock
Michael Shannon as Admiral
Sanja Spengler as Britanov's Wife
Philip Martin Brown as Cook
J.J. Gordon as Officer 4
Lawrence Elman as Officer
Erik Hansen as Naval Marshall
William Marsh as Acoustics Officer
Rainer Sellien as Technician
Norbert Tefelski as Admiral / Engineer
Felix zu Knyphausen as Sonar Operator
Frank Witter as Russian submarine soldier (uncredited)