The Bedford Incident (1965) Script

In here, please.

This is it, the most luxurious quarters on the Bedford...

...except for the captain's cabin.

That landing a little bit hairy, huh?

Plenty hairy. Are you kidding?

I'm Ensign Ralston.

You must be Mr. Ben Munceford. That's right, ensign.

Ensigns are usually called mister, sir. Dr. Potter?

Glad to meet you, mister.

Mr. Munceford, it's a great honor meeting you.

We've all read your stuff.

I hope we can give you what you're looking for.

I'm sure you will.

You wanna watch how you secure that equipment, Mr. Munceford.

Dropped it like a bundle of old newspapers.

We're likely to make another radical change of course.

Is it always like this? Only during general quarters, sir.

Oh, I see.

Try to make yourselves comfortable.

I suggest you find where the most convenient handholds are.

I mean it, I would do that on the bunk.

You tell Capt. Finlander we'll be right out.

Can't do that, sir. Good luck.

What is he doing? Making U-turns up there?

Cmdr. Potter, sir. Yes?

Captain's compliments.

You should be in your GQ station. That's in sickbay, sir.

Will you put these on? Sure.

Meantime, I'll climb topside and check what's going on.

I'm sorry, sir. That's against regulations.

Which regulations?

This section's been compartmented off, in case we take a torpedo, sir.

Well, I appreciate the realism, sailor. Oh, that's extremely good.


But since it's only practice, how about a little cooperation, huh?

I'm sorry, Mr. Munceford.

What kind of an attitude is that? The captain's attitude.

He'd chew me out. You understand.

Ready, sir? Yeah.

We've tried to cooperate, sir. We've had the typewriter installed for you.

This way, sir.

The new medical officer, Lt. Cmdr. Potter.


I'll be right with you, commander.

Get a move on. You've been holding me up for three minutes.

The violet stain, chief, it takes time.

While you're watching for it to show, triple-check that bucket.

Lookout spotted that stuff only about a half an hour ago.

Chief hospital man James Aloysius McKinley. Welcome aboard, sir.

Glad to meet you, chief. Hospital men Nerney and Strauss.

How do you do? How do you do?

Well, you are witnessing the biochemical, histological section...

...of the cellular analysis department of the DLG-113 in action.

You wanna look, sir? Well...

It was plumb dumb luck picking that stuff up out here...

...when you consider the million square miles of nothing around here.

It looks like garbage. Very good analysis.

As a matter of fact, it is.

We're the greatest garbage analysis team in the history of naval warfare.

Now, sir, your keys. Oh, yeah.

The men's medical files and records are in that cabinet over there.

Officer's locked cabinet is here...

...and the keys to the narcotics and booze are in there.

Booze? Brandy and pure grain alcohol.

Doctor, this might interest you.

All right.

Can you identify that?

Well, let's see now.

Looks like seaweed.

Red cabbage. Staple food of the Russian navy.

Those little black specks that you see are coarsely ground black pepper.

Nerney, those slides... No, show him an untreated sample.

What's this? Potato peeling.

I see. Thank you.

Well, do you find all this stuff around here?

That's right. And in very good condition too.

That's what set the old man's hair on fire.

That's why he's charging this ship around like a fox in a henhouse.

That stuff could be brand-new. Me, I say no. It only looks that way.

You know, the Arctic.

The ocean, the water's cold. Well...

Ready on the grease test.

Here it comes, doctor.



The oil on the cabbage leaves, doctor. It's very significant.

Indicates very fancy cooking.

Oh, I see.

Bridge, urgent report for the captain.

McKinley, captain.

Finest Russian naval cuisine.

Peppered red cabbage sautéed in butter.

Yes, sir, submarine fare.

Aye, aye, sir, as soon as we can.

We're checking the cellular state of decomposition.

Excuse me, sir. Oh, sorry.

Potato peelings are best for that.

These sample slides here we made ourselves and by comparing...

...we can tell how long it is since the sub dumped that in the water.

I see.

No, no, Nerney, it's no good. Give me some older.

Now then, Nerney, what was your guess?

Twenty-four hours.

Eighteen hours tops. No more.

Eighteen hours. Twenty-four hours.

McKinley. Give me the captain again, please.

Captain? Positive identification on those Russian waste materials.

Been in the water for 36 hours.

Yeah, that's right, 36 hours.

Aye, aye, sir. I'll tell him.

Well, thank you, captain.

Well, biopsy like that would take 12 hours in any laboratory in the world.

Just 33 minutes.

Oh, Capt. Finlander requests that you report to him at 1800 hours.

Have you ever met the captain? No, not yet.

Well, the old man can come on kind of hard, if you know what I mean.

Well, he's prone to be a bit hard-nosed with reserve officers.

Well, maybe because you're a doctor it'll make a difference...

...but I suggest you watch yourself.

Now secure general quarters. Set regular sea detail. Watch three.

Darken ship. The smoking lamp is out on all weather decks.

Sir, this is Mr. Munceford. Oh.

How are you, captain? I'm not the captain.

I'm the exec, Cmdr. Allison. How are you?

Capt. Finlander's busy with the doctor at the moment.

You been out with the Navy before? As a matter of fact, I have.

A few reservist cruises. Well, that's fine.

But I hope you'll bear in mind that this is not a reservist cruise.

We are an active part of our defenses...

...and we run this ship virtually under wartime conditions.

Which reminds me, may I see your credentials?

My what? Your credentials.

Thank you.

Note that Mr. Munceford's credentials have been checked...

...and log him aboard.

What would've happened if my credentials weren't in order?

Thrown me overboard?

You wanted to see me, sir? No, not me, the captain.

Excuse us, Mr. Munceford.

Well, I'm glad you found the analysis interesting, doctor.

Oh, yes, sir, very much so.

McKinley showed you how he runs my sickbay.

Think you might have anything to contribute?

I wouldn't be at all surprised, sir. Is that so?

I requested that no replacement doctor be assigned my ship.

They sent one anyway.

I'm sorry, sir. I didn't quite get that.

I said I didn't want a doctor, but they sent you.

Well, sir, if you'd like to arrange for my transfer out of here...

...or shall I handle it? I'll be down below until you make a decision.

Stand where you are, doc.

Sir, my request for sea duty did not specify this ship.

You didn't aim high, huh?

And you're out of uniform, doc. Blue caps went out two years ago.

Change it. Yes, sir.

Captain. Yes?

You sent for Ensign Ralston.

Yes, I did.

Mr. Ralston, I gave express orders for that copter to keep off...

...while I was in GQ. Yes, sir.

You landed it. Yes, sir.

Explain that.

I didn't know if the pilot had enough gas.

He had enough to buzz my ship repeatedly despite visual signals.

You disregarded my order.

It was getting dark, sir. I gave you an order, mister.

Yes, sir. You ignored it.

Yes, sir. I can explain further. I don't want an explanation.

I think your action was correct. Thank you, sir.

Who's that?

Security watch.

Did you pass this civilian to CIC? It's the correspondent, Munceford.

He wanted to find out the patterns we ran during general quarters.

I gave no such permission. Don't blame him. I'm responsible.

Commander, put this man on report pending next captain's mast.

Mr. Munceford, you come with me. You too, doc.

Can't I square this for the kid? I suggest you keep out of it.

Captain, about that... Commodore Wolfgang Schrepke...

...of the West German navy. Benjamin Munceford of the American press.

How do you do? And Lt. Cmdr...

What was that name again? Chester Potter.

Potter. My new medical officer.

I've heard a lot about you, but I never expected I'd meet you.

Is that so? Not aboard an American destroyer.

Is that so surprising in these times? I guess not...

...if one can make the switch mentally.

But I still connect you with Hitler's navy.

Your pardon. Adm. Donitz's navy, sir.

The commodore was an ace U-boat commander, gentlemen.

He sank over 200,000 tons of Allied shipping.


But now, under NATO, he's on our side.

So I requested him as technical adviser for this cruise.

I'd like to put in a word for that kid... Mr. Munceford.

You will oblige me by not referring to the security breach...

...on the part of my crew again. Yes, but...

The Department of Defense wants you to have full cooperation... the preparation of a story for your magazine.

All right, that I'll give.

But how and why I discipline my crew is none of your business.


Do you understand me, Mr. Munceford?

Yes, sir.


Now, here's what this is all... Excuse me, sir. Sorry.

Here's what this is all about. You can take notes, Mr. Munceford.

We're positioned in the Denmark Strait, right about here.

Midway between... Excuse me, sir.

All right with you if I smoke?

Go ahead.

Midway between Greenland and Iceland.

Much closer to Moscow than Washington.

Now, this ship functions in two ways:

One, as a part of NATO defense...

...and two, the defense of the United States against enemy aggression... air or sea.

And to put it simply...

...the Bedford can inflict more damage in 10 minutes...

...than the entire United States Navy caused in World War II.

Wow! But that's not our purpose.

We're primarily hunters. Stalkers.

Of subs. That's right.

We track by ear an enemy who is also intently listening for us.

There is Russian submarine activity at present in the Denmark Strait, right?


They can come and go as they please.

Cold war or no cold war, and so can we.

And contrary to...

A little later, please, huh?


Contrary to certain scuttlebutt...

...we aren't out to spy on each other's missile ranges or atomic tests.

That kind of work can be...

Mr. Munceford.

This briefing is for you.

I was saying that that kind of work can be done cheaper and easier... one man and a U-2.

But DEW line and NORAD emissions are something else.

I'm convinced that Soviet subs are recording them...

...penetrating our defenses.

I also suspect the locating and setting up...

...of submarine missile firing positions.

Now, these are objectives worth tremendous risks.

They're worth killing over.

Are you telling us you would attack...

...the Russian submarines? You got any language skills, doctor?

Greek and Latin, sir. Oh, just Greek and Latin, huh?

Why the language question?

I have three Russian language experts onboard. I'd like more.

Just Greek and Latin, you say? That's it.

Captain, would you attack a Russian submarine?

The world is at peace, Mr. Munceford.

Your magazine says so.

There's something I heard about you in the Pentagon.

Yeah? What's that? It's nothing bad.

Your crew turns down substantial offers from private industry.

Electronics, et cetera... That's right. stay on this ship.

Why? Well, because technical skills aside...

...they're professional naval fighting men.

Excuse me, sir, but that doesn't answer it.

You don't think so, huh? Well, not quite.

Well, let's put it this way, Mr. Munceford.

I keep them interested...

...with the hunt.

There's something very exciting about the hunt.

And the kill, my captain?

You'll have to forgive the commodore's alleged sense of humor.

Now, to get back to this.

Today's activity was the initial maneuver on a new action.

We're hunting now.

The quarry is a specific Russian submarine.

And we know he's carrying nuclear torpedoes.

That's right. Code name is Big Red.

So far we've only seen his traces, tracks you might call them.

But he's here. North, south, east, west, we don't know.

Now, he has a mother ship.

That may be any one of five Russian trawlers...

...purportedly commercial fishing vessels...

...operating in these waters legally.

We keep all five under constant surveillance.

And we hope to entice one of those five trawlers...

...the real mother ship, into showing its hand.

There's that chance the mother may check the baby, make sure he's safe.

And when the baby answers?

All right, gentlemen, that's all.

I'm sure you'll find interesting company in the wardroom.

I wanted to make an appointment with you.

Later, doctor. Thank you. Good night. Good night, sir.

Good night, commodore. Good night.

Good night, Mr. Munceford. Good night, captain. Commodore.

Did you ever get the feeling you weren't wanted?

Brother. How'd he strike you?

I don't think he likes me. Finlander's ice-cold.

You don't fit his needs, out. I'll say.

But he's quite a professional. How do you mean?

He's a result-getter.

Remember that Russian sub that was forced to surface off of Cuba?

Yes. Did he do that? Yeah.

He got commendations. So did his crew.

He's the most result-getting officer in the U.S. Navy.

Yet he was passed over for admiral last month.

I wonder why.

I wonder why.

And, men, no matter what you do...

And, men, no matter what you do...

...don't minimize your importance on the Bedford.

So just keep on your toes, fellows...

...and be prepared for some drills I'll be scheduling for the next few days.

And that's it.

All right, fellows.

Mac, I want you to make a note to assign some extra men... act as casualties during the litter-carrying drills.

You'll have to clear that with the captain.

Each man on the ship has a specific task during GQ.

Well, we'll get that straightened out.


Okay, I'm ready for sick call. You can call in the first man.

Nobody's reported for sick call, sir.

Well, it's a bit early.

No, this is normal. Hardly anyone ever reports for sick call.

Oh, come on, Mac. You're trying to tell me...

...that with a complement of over 300 men, nobody ever gets sick?

What about the inevitable hypochondriacs and malingerers?

We don't have that kind on this ship.

Good morning.

Good morning.

Please, commodore, come in.

I'll only take up a few minutes of your time.

I hope you're not feeling sick, sir. I feel very good, thank you.

Your captain informs me a prescription...

...given by the former medical officer...

...should be renewed by yourself.

I see. A prescription?


A prescription.

Schrepke? Is that it?

Here we are.

Nothing there.

It looks like Lt. Hirschfeld didn't make any notation of the prescription...

...or the nature of the condition it's supposed to treat.

That's all right, commander. The doctor and I had an understanding.

I see. Well, what was the medicine?


Schnapps? Yes, schnapps.

You carry brandy in your medical supplies, do you not?

Well, yes, of course. But why do you have to have schnapps?

I really don't know, commander.

I've had three schnapps a day ever since I joined the Navy in 1931.

Even when I was a prisoner of war...

...your English allies were kind enough to let me have my schnapps.

I'm afraid I'll have to check this with Capt. Finlander.

It was he who suggested you see me.

Sorry if I troubled you. No, no, it's all right.

Mac, will you fill that, please?

Commodore, you realize there's nothing personal about this.

I'm sure you can see that I have to exercise caution in the matter.

If the crew got wind of this...

...there'd be a hell of a raid on the dispensary.

You're wrong, doctor. Not on this ship.

Thank you. Good morning.

Good morning.

What about this?

Maybe. Yes.


Yes, thanks.

You see what I mean? No, not really.

All right, I'll run it through again.

And this time, Beck, don't try reading it. Just listen to his tone.

I know I'm right.

Mr. Munceford. Please come to the bridge.


Don't take any more shots of the ASROC. They'll just be censored.

Rocket-boosted torpedoes, huh? Our number-one antisub device.

How far do they travel?

Quite a ways.

What's the matter, you a little chilly out there?


Yes, Beckman.

You got it? Got it, sir.

The message we intercepted from the Novo Sibursk...

...appeared routine.

But Lt. Berger, in checking out their figures...

...on water temperature, tide movements...

...found them to be inaccurate beyond any possibility of a legitimate mistake.

They were obviously trying to throw us.

Now, the other four ships checked out okay.

So Novo Sibursk is Big Red's mother.

I've set an interception course so we'll rendezvous about 1700.

Now, the sub should be somewhere here...


And the mother ship will clue us in...


But I want Commodore Schrepke to take a good look at Novo Sibursk.


The concealed tanks are very obvious.

Look for Big Red to be one of the old Chernikov class...

...with a submerged maximum speed of 25 knots...

...and a duration of 2 4 hours without snorkeling.


Take a look at that.

What are they up to?

The rules of international courtesy call for them to dip their colors.

Shall I prepare to return the salute, captain?


Well, do you still feel like exchanging courtesies with the Russians?

Officer of the deck, turn left to 3-1-5.

And double the lookout. We'll probably hit fog as we close the coast.

Left to 3-1-5. Left to 3-1-5, sir.

Bosun's mate? Sir.

Post a fog watch. Aye, aye, sir.


The new course, sir. There's floe ice drifting southwest across that course.

With this light wind, it's certain to be scattered, sir.

Not to mention it's getting dark. So?

Excuse me, but will I change course four or five degrees left and miss it?

If my mission were to steam along like a passenger liner...

...that would be an excellent idea.

What is our mission, Mr. Ralston?

To patrol for Russian submarine activity.

And if you were a Russian sub commander...

...operating under these sea conditions...

...what would you do, Mr. Ralston?

I'd use the ice to screen my movements.

Assuming the Russian thinks that way, how close would you move to...?

Mr. Munceford, please leave the bridge!

How close would you move to the Greenland coast to confuse...

...any tracking destroyer's radar and sonar search?

If you were the Russian sub commander, that is.

Well, the ice runs almost a mile out from there, sir.

I'd try to get under it, if I could.

You would.

Then how close should we run?

Maybe a thousand yards, sir.

A thousand yards.

All right, make it so.

And run a series of maximum sonar searches.

Every 15 minutes, sir?

Now, why every 15 minutes, Mr. Ralston?

To help the Russians set a schedule for silent running?

Now, come on! Be a little unpredictable about it.

Now, get into CIC with Queffle. Give him a schedule.

Aye, aye, sir. A smart one. Unpredictable.

Aye, aye, sir.

What's the matter? Think I'm too rough on him?


Well, go on, say it, yes or no.

You might try giving him a word of praise now and then.

What for?

He tries so damn hard, for one thing. That he does.

So he makes mistakes. You got him so rattled he can't think.


Yeah. You've been on his back ever since we left Norfolk.

Isn't it time you eased up a bit?

You think so, huh? I do.

I'm telling you, he's too jumpy.

Ease up. He'll do better.

That's my opinion. You can take it or leave it.

You know, Buck, you're getting worse than an old mother hen.

You've gone soft on me.

Okay, so I like him. He's a good kid.

Right. And he'll make a good officer someday.

Then what are we arguing about?

If he quits expecting the crew to cheer every time he carries out an order.

No, the trouble with that kid, he can't forget what a big hero he was.

Star quarterback, voted most all-around, most likely, most popular...

That one he's still bucking for.

No, the only way to cut him down to size is to keep on him.

Yeah. If he survives.

If I hammer too hard, you let me know, huh?

I'll try.

Yeah. It's a lot of work being a mean bastard.

Sometimes I can't help admiring how effortlessly you do it, captain.

Almost as if it came naturally.

So taking your goals and your methods...

So taking your goals and your methods...

...and your requirements into consideration...

...I've come up with a plan of my own that I'd like to propose, sir.

You see, I said to myself, I said, "Chester, what does this ship...

...need that you could contribute?"

Chester? That's right, sir.

If the ship doesn't fit the man, then the man damn well...

...has to fit the ship, and that's the line my thinking has been going on.

Put it here. Along... Excuse me.

Along that line, more or less.

Well, I think the thing to do now is to run it up the flagpole, so to say...

...and kind of kick it around for some reactions.


You see, sir, it's been my observance of the men on this ship that...

It's occurred to me that most of them are just...

...sitting around on their dead butts all day.

What did you say? Don't get me wrong.

I mean of necessity. You see, scientific work is necessarily sedentary.

Therefore, I thought that a physical-fitness program...

...would be just in order.

Bodies toned, trained, developed.

No flabbies, no flabbies around.

The men all fit and shipshape, so to say.

Yeah. Now, this can be accomplished...

...with isometric exercises.

How's that again? Isometric, sir.

It's all done with tension.

Tense, relax. Tense, relax. Tense, relax.

Tense, relax. Tense, relax.

Tense, relax. Tense, relax. Tense, relax. You can do it anywhere.

Yeah, I think I've grasped the idea, doc. Is that all?

Of the entire program? Yeah.

No, sir. There are two more essentials.

Mental health is one.

I thought we could introduce group therapy...

...and individual counseling whenever necessary.

With men at sea, it seemed a logical step, sir.

Isolation, separation from family. Not to mention women.

You see, sir, that's the real hell of it on these long trips.

Men without women... Yeah, yeah. Go on.

Well, the exercise will help there.

Yeah, I got you. Now, the third item...

...the third item is nutrition.

I thought that we could improve the...

I thought we can improve the men's diet, sir, by introducing...

...high-protein supplements like amino acids, natural grain, lecithin...

...and let's see, well, things like that, sir.

I see. Are you through now?

Nutrition, mental health and the physical-fitness program.

Yes, sir, I think it's about what I had in mind.

Doc, how long have you been out of the Navy?

Sir, I wouldn't exactly call over 20 years in the Reserves...

...being out of the Navy.

Well, I'm afraid I would.

Have another look around this ship, doc.

It's a whole new set of numbers.

I don't understand, sir. Does that mean my suggestions...

...are outmoded or just plain out?


You keep trying, though. Don't give up the ship, so to say.

Captain, captain. I am the medical officer here.

Just what are my duties?

Well, that depends.

On me as an officer, or on me personally?

Well, I have to wonder why after all these years you quit civilian life...

...and came back on active duty. I think the answer is fairly obvious.

Yeah, it is. Knowing your history.

Your wives, divorces. Three, weren't there? Your practice.

Rough going everywhere. So you decided to nip back in here for a while.

No, doc. Your type can be found in every branch of the service.

I don't like them.

Well, I see.

Does that mean I'm to be exiled into a sickbay that just sorts out garbage?

Is that it? Sorry, doc, I've got work to do.


Captain, you are denying me a fair chance.

Even if it's to fail, I want it.

Okay. Study these. You got a lot of catching up to do, doc.

The Bedford's a very complicated ship...

...and about as sturdy as a Christmas tree ball.

Almost everything above the water line's aluminum. You understand?

Sir. One hit and we've had it.

So you see, a sickbay and a doctor...

...they really aren't much use to us, unfortunately.

But you'll understand more when you've read up on it.

General quarters. General quarters.

What's that GQ for?

Be right up.

Good luck, doc.

I get an unidentified aircraft report under these conditions...

I get an unidentified aircraft report under these conditions...

...and that's cause for sounding GQ whether the skipper's here or not.

What's this all about?

CIC reports a bogey, sir.

Lt. Beckman reports the is four miles, bearing...

Come on, Buck.

What have you got, Beck?

I'm sorry, captain, there was a mistake.

Why? What did you see?

The unidentified aerial blip turns out to be a weather balloon.

Oh? Where?

Bearing 1-8-6.

Range: four miles. Altitude: 7000 feet.

Get Lt. Bascombe in here. Aye, aye, sir.

This is Greenland coast, huh? Yes, sir.

What's the range? Ten miles, sir.

Weather balloon...

The Novo Sibursk is 100 miles back.

No other known surface vessels in the area to release that balloon.


Big Red? Yeah.


Oh, Bascombe. You and Beckman get a fix on that balloon.

Track it backwards to its point of release and hurry it up.

Aye, aye, sir.

One opening, check.

Sixty-two fathoms. Sixty-two fathoms.

No sign of anything, Bascombe.

Whoever released the balloon could be anywhere by now.

But I know that the balloon itself was released right here.

You're positive? Yes, sir, I'm positive.

It all checks out, sir.

Hey, what's that?

Buck, take her in closer. Aye, aye, sir.

Fifty-eight fathoms. All engines ahead one-third.

All engines answer ahead one-third, sir.

That's close enough. Hold her parallel. Give me a sounding.

Thirty-five fathoms, sir. Captain!

Over there, sir. Three points off the bow.


There he is, commodore, just going under.

Do you see him?

I see him.

That's it! Light up the sonar. Sound general quarters.

Aye, aye, sir. Start sonar.

Sound general quarters. Aye, aye, sir.

Queffle? Captain, I have a sonar contact.

Bearing 0-0-2. Range: 1-7-5-0.

Good boy, Queffle. Keep on him.

Aye, aye, sir. Bearing 0-0-4. Range: 1-8-0-0.

Opening: slight down-Doppler. Classified: positive submarine.

Got it, Queffle. Buck, what's his position in reference to the coastline?

He's one mile off. Two miles inside Greenland territorial waters.



Very good. And now what?

Fire Control. Sir?

Start feeding target data to all systems. Place ASROC on standby.

Buck, keep clear of the ice ledge.

Con the ships to block any attempt to break for open sea.

Messenger, take down this message for immediate transmission.

Communication, stand by.


Sonar contact at entrance to Jacobson's Fjord.

Classified positive Russian submarine.

Two miles inside. Repeat:

Inside Greenland territorial waters.

Request authority to force sub to surface...

...and withdraw from those waters. That's it.

Bridge. One moment. We're gonna clock him.

He's got 2 4 hours. Captain, it's Mr. Munceford.

Munceford? What the hell does he want? Captain speaking.

About this GQ. Is this another one of your rehearsals?

How long do you think it's gonna last? You see, I was interrupted... the middle of something very important, and I would like to finish it.

Why, I wouldn't dream of interrupting the creative process, Mr. Munceford.

You just keep up the good work.

However, it's no fun down here when you pull that full security routine.

You know, I mean, the hallway is blocked and the water is turned off...

...and it's all very realistic, you know what I mean?

Well, you missed a very nice photograph a few minutes ago.

It's too bad.

The view of the Russian submarine violating international law... Greenland territorial waters was breathtaking.

The official photographer got some nice shots.

I'll have him save you a print.


Buck, after about half an hour...

...tell the security watch in wardroom country to let Mr. Munceford come up.

Aye, aye, sir.

Stick with it, Queffle.

That sub commander must like it under the ice.

I can't figure why he doesn't cut for the open sea.

He is testing you. You think so?

Captain, sir. Yes.

Mr. Munceford requests permission to enter CIC.

All right, bring him in. Aye, aye, sir.

He's running all out at less than 40 fathoms.

Not even trying to hide his sounding gear.

He's got the best underwater charts anybody ever heard of or he's crazy.

Well, Mr. Munceford. Captain.

You finish your creative labors?

Yeah. Well, I just took another shower.

No. Just a rinse.

A man's got to keep neat and tidy. It helps.

Captain? Yes, Hacker. Is that it?

Yes, sir. From commander, NATO, North Atlantic.

Good. Come on, read it. Yes, sir.

"Reference your message 1-2-1-0-2-8 Zulu.

Take no action other than tracking until further orders.

This passive course of action dictated by a critical political situation."

Sonar contact bearing 3-0-1 steady.

Range: 1-2-5-0 steady. Depth: 0-7-5 steady.


All right, that's all, Hacker.

You have been relieved of a very dangerous decision.


Do we secure?

What? Do we secure battle stations, sir?


Submarine bearing 0-3-4 steady. Range: 1-3...

Message from COMNATONORTH, sir.


Yes, sir. Any change in sub course or speed?

No change, sir. Thank you.

Who saw this? Just Communications.

I don't want the rest of the crew to know.



I've been planning to switch back to a pipe.

I'm afraid I'd have bitten the stem off by now.

Don't they know we've got him in a spot?

He might as well be on the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

Why don't they know that?

Captain. Big Red 's changing course, sir.

Right. Commodore.

Bearing 0-5-5, drifting right. Slight up-Doppler.

He's turning right. New course.

He's killed his sonar. Big Red's heading for the open sea.

Follow him around, stick right on his tail.

Captain, he's crossed into international waters.


I suppose he figures that's the end of it.

Is it not? It is not.

Not by a damn sight.

Bearing 0-7-0. Mark up-Doppler. Right to course 0-6-5.

Speed: 6 knots, drifting right. New course: 0-8-0.

Hey, Queffle. You're going to knock yourself out.

You'd better have somebody take over for a while.

Oh, no, sir. I'm running the ship from here.

Steer course: 0-9-2. Okay.

Excuse me, captain. What?

Did Lt. Krindlemeyer tell you about the shrimp schools?

No. I spotted three of them yesterday...

...all big ones. You did?

We could make a fortune in the fish business.

Well, I think you'd better stick to this business for now, Queffle.

But thank you. Very kind of you. Yes, sir.

Submerged time: 18 hours. That's right, captain.

Headed due north.

Well, he can't go under the icecap, because he's not nuclear.

And he can't make it back to Russian waters without surfacing for air.

And when he does surface, we'll be there. Right there.

Pretty dull, huh, Mr. Munceford?

How does the commodore stand it out there?

Well, you see, he's not really out there, Mr. Munceford.

He's about 200 feet below the surface with that sub.

Good night. Oh, captain.

Could we have our talk now? Well, it's pretty late, Mr. Munceford.

It'll only take a few minutes.

All right, come on.

How does the commodore feel about all this?

How does the commodore feel about all this?

I wouldn't ask if I were you. What's your guess?

Well, he's the old U-boat man.

He's riding with the hounds, but his heart is with the fox.

Waiting for when we close. Close?

Close for the kill, is that what you mean, captain?

Mr. Munceford.

Let's get one thing straight. What's that?

Don't ever put words in my mouth.

All right?

I'll try my best.

Good. Sit down.

Look, maybe this isn't a good time. You must be tired.

Oh, it's as good a time as any. Go ahead, sit down.

All right, fire away.

Before you get started, I'd like to ask you a question.

Go ahead.

Why did you pick my ship?

It wasn't your ship, captain. It was you.

Oh? Why me?

You looked like an interesting subject.

Really. Now, whatever gave you that idea?

I saw a film clip of you being interviewed just after the Cuban deal.

Yeah? I thought I recognized something.

Something rare. An individualist. A man not afraid to speak his mind.

I consider that provocative and interesting.

I see.

With that bit of flattery, you hope to pull a few rash statements out of me.

Make good copy, is that it?

Well, frankly, I hadn't thought of that. But since you've mentioned it...

I'm sorry if I sound cynical, Mr. Munceford.

But you see, it's been my experience with the press...

...that they ignore truth for sensationalism.

Excuse me, but isn't that a generalization that's only valid...

...depending on which side of the fence you're on?

You're right. You're quite right.

I've been anxious to meet an exception. It could very well be you.

Thank you. I thank you on behalf of myself and my colleagues.

Don't mention it.

Cigarette? No, thank you.

Crew cooperating with you all right? Fine.

Good. Accommodations comfortable?

Anything you need? Fine, not a thing.

Very good. Anything you want, you just sing out. I'll be glad to help.

Now then, sir, about that television interview.

What about it?

There was something about it that puzzled me.

Something personal that relates to your record.

I don't care to talk about it. In looking up your record...

...I found out that... What did you find?

Nothing derogatory. Far from it. That's not what I meant.

But what struck me as a curious coincidence...

...was the fact that it was right after Cuba...

...that you were passed over for admiral.

I wondered if there was any connection there.


Most of the statements made then were cautious.

Nobody came out and said anything, except you.

You were very outspoken, even critical, you might say.

You advocated using greater force.

Well, that's your interpretation. I don't think so.

But I wondered whether the Pentagon resented that view...

...and that's why you were passed over for admiral.

Now, there you are.

Right there.

A clear example of the press putting its own interpretation on the facts.

Your words seemed unmistakable.

I have never made a public statement that did not go right down the line...

...with government policy. What about your private views, sir?

What? I have none.

Do you believe the military should have more say in government policy?

I've never said that.

Taking the situation you're in now, as you send messages to Command...

...and they reply: "Hold still, do nothing."

I'd say from your reaction you don't hardly agree.

You're guessing again.

You're interpreting me. And you're wrong, Mr. Munceford.

You're dead wrong.

I'm only trying to get clear exactly what your views are, sir.

Now, if you could help me.

All right, I'll give you my views.

First, you'll have to concede I'm not a fool.

I like my job with the government. I wouldn't consciously jeopardize it.

It demands more than most jobs, a man's life even...

...and for that you need a higher sense of Ioyalty.

I'm proud to be an old-fashioned patriot...

...and I'd destroy any enemy if it meant saving my country.

Now, what in the hell is wrong with that?

But how far would you go? All the way.

Does that mean all-out nuclear attack?

I didn't say that. But you implied it.

You implied. I said nothing.

Could you make a statement about the action you're engaged in now?

In terms of purpose and so forth?


Our purpose is to prevent by threat a certain course of action by the enemy.

You mean a genuine threat? We're not bluffing, Mr. Munceford.

But the outcome is certain. You're sure that nothing will happen.

If a deterrence is successful, aggression does not take place.

Well, I must say... certainly has a nice ring to it anyway.

I'm glad you approve.

Now, if you'll excuse me. Of course.

Thank you for the interview. Anytime. It's been most stimulating.

For me also.

Mr. Munceford.

I did not say, "Close for the kill."

Eric Finlander watched the brooding ex-U-boat officer...

...whose heart lay with the unknown enemy in the icy darkness below...

...and said laconically:

"His heart is with the fox waiting for when we close."

Sub has been down for 20 hours.

According to Commodore Schrepke, they're about to run out of air.

Have not been able to get any information from crew or Finlander...

...whether keeping sub down for 20 hours... routine action in these circumstances or unduly severe.

Nobody talks.

Everybody cooperates, but nobody talks.

Except the doc.

How's it going?

Swell. You? Check.

What do you say you and me jump ship?

Baby, it's cold outside.

Well, I'm so burned I wouldn't even feel it.

It's that bad? Yeah, it's that bad.

What the hell am I doing sitting in a corner with a lot of homework?

I'm a qualified doctor. I don't want to learn a new trade.


For crying out loud. You want to know my theory?

My theory is that he hates doctors.

Now, you give him a plain, humble scientific genius, but don't stop there.

Make sure that he can stand watch, navigate and man a battle station.

But that's the new Navy, doc.

Yes, I know times have changed, but this is a floating IBM machine.

Can you see any of those guys...

...singing "Anchors Aweigh," for example?

Old nostalgia's got you, doc. It's not funny, Ben.

Have you ever seen these boys playing poker? They never relax.

Well, they can't. He's sounding GQ every two minutes.

This man is playing at war. How long do you think he can keep it up?

He's got the crew going at fever pitch.

They're triggered up. They're geared to shoot and they can't.

They're frustrated. Now, that's abnormal.

It's inhuman, and it's dangerous.

Did you talk to him about that? Well, not exactly.

I have in a...

...sort of a roundabout wa...

What's the use? I can't cut it with a guy like that, I never could.

I guess I'm just a born loser.

Turn on sonar. I want to hear Big Red.

Well, you're up late.

Didn't want to miss anything.


Commodore? Come in.

Well, you think this sub can do it?

The man is desperate, but he no doubt thinks his chances are better.


Do what?

Find a path through the icebergs only a submarine could get through.

Would you like some fresh coffee...? Quiet!

Queffle, listen only.

Hazelwood, take the con. Aye, aye, sir.

Try him now, Queffle.

Yeah. He's back again.

Mr. Ralston, you turn from that panel once more, I'll confine you to quarters.

Aye, aye, sir.

He's trying to find a path through the bergs.

And we'll follow him. Double the lookout watch.

We're on condition two now. Then sound GQ again.

Sound general quarters. Aye, aye, sir.

Your life preserver.

You don't think we're going to hit one, do you?

I doubt if we'll hit any above water, my friend.

Why'd you give me this? You're not wearing one.

I thought you might find it reassuring. Actually, it is of no use whatsoever.

How's that?

Immersion in these waters means instantaneous shock and paralysis.

Absolute der Tod in less than four minutes.

Big one bearing 0-1-0. Range: 4-0-0.

Looks to be about a quarter-mile deep, sloping shelf. Can't tell how shallow.

I'm only giving you the nearest 10 degrees. You got that?

Got it. Iceberg to starboard...

...Iooks to be about... Holy smokes!

Maybe it goes down 100 fathoms.

One thing is sure. The sub won't get under it.

Iceberg in sight. Close to port, captain.

Is the submarine pinging now?

Turn on sonar. Aye, aye, sir.

There you are.

What's the sub's range? Six hundred yards, sir.

Close up another 100 yards and hold at 500.

Queffle, one just flipped on the starboard beam.

You'll probably pick up a bounce from its wave.

Yes, sir.

There's one coming that looks like Mt. Everest.

How is it below the water line? You should clear it.

The sub made it. Right.

Come left 10 degrees.

Left 10 degrees rudder, sir.

She struck! The sub struck!

Was it head-on, Queffle?

No, sir. It was more like glancing along a wall. Blang!

And then what? I don't know. I've lost sonar contact.

I'm not getting anything but the iceberg.

All engines stop. Rig for silent ship.

All engines stop. Rig for silent ship, sir.

Now kill sonar. Just listen. Rig for silent ship.

Keep quiet above the decks and all lower deck spaces.

She's silent too, sir. No sonar, no engines, no nothing.


Everything all right, captain? Fine, fine. No problems.

From the silence, I gather you have lost your sonar contact.


Twenty-one hours.

Down there, the stink begins. I hope so.

It means so much to you, then? Yes, it means so much to me.

Commodore, what do you think he's up to?

He could have done one of three things:

Wedged himself up against the ice and surfaced... you would lose your contact.

He could have scraped the ice on his way to the bottom...

...where he is lying right now completely silent.

And what's the third?

He could be on the other side of the berg.

If that is the case, I'm afraid you have lost him.

I don't think he's on the other side.

But you don't know, do you?

Let's find out.



You still feel that...

...Big Red might have had a chance to get under that ice to the other side?


Well, I still don't think so. I'm convinced he's right around here.

You must be convinced, captain. You have no choice.

What do you mean, I have no choice?

If he cleared the berg, the sub could have gone in any direction.

To start a new search pattern on the other side would take hours.


All right, what do you think we should do?

You are the hunter, the one who stalks.

Correct? Yeah, yeah. Go on, go on.

If I were hunting, at this point...

...considering he cannot breathe much longer, I would do nothing.

Wait for the animal to make the next move.

Okay, we wait.

Till sunup.

This is the captain speaking.

I know you're all tired and disgusted right now.

Maybe you even think that Big Red has been making fools of us...

...and those commies are laughing at another humiliation... add to the many endured by our country in this cold war.

Personally, I doubt it. They have too little clean air left for a laugh.

Anyway, I'm gonna hang on here.

And when our rat decides it's safe to come out of its hole...

...we'll be there to grab him.

Now, that sounds simple enough...

...but you all know it'll mean more hours of waiting...

...of uncertainty and of doubt.

Well, just sit tight. And above all, sit silent.

I want every man to listen, to concentrate...

...and to keep his whole being so alert...

...that this ship will tingle like an animal about to attack.

And if the Russians down there suspect our presence at all...

...let it be because they sense this.

And then let's see if they come up laughing. That's all.

Any comment, commodore?

Were you speaking to me?

I wondered whether you'd care to comment on that glockenspiel?

Sorry, I paid very little attention.

But you recognize the tone, though.

Stirring, keep the men fired up. Sieg Heil.

Young man, I am too weary to follow your satirical wit this morning.

Excuse me, sir.

It's my own uneasiness I'm knocking, not your country.

My stomach's tied up in knots.

I'm as whacked up as everybody else around here.

Do you mind?

I'd like to ask you some questions.

For your story? No, no, no, off-the-record. For me.

For instance, what is going on?

Why ask me?

You and the captain are the only two onboard who know, and he won't talk.

Nor will I. But why not?

I promise. Off-the-record.

You waste your time with me.

My feelings are very deep.

Twenty, 25 years ago, I was involved.

But no longer.

No longer.

Tell the captain. Message from COMNATONORTH.

Permission granted.

Swell. This is one hell of a time to get permission.

That's all, Hacker.

CIC, any information? Negative, sir. No contact.

Looks like you could be right, commodore.

Start radar and sonar search to maximum range...

...and somebody take Queffle's comic book away from him.

I heard that, sir. Let's get chopping.

Mr. Thresher? Sir.

Wind her up. Stand by for maximum speed.

Aye, aye, sir.

Well, what do you think? He has gone, your submarine.

Let it go, Eric. You will find only trouble in this obsession. Let it go.

Come right to new course: 1-3-5, true.

Speed: 5 knots. Aye, aye, sir.

Steer: 1-3-5, true. Steer: 1-3-5, true.

1-8-0 revolutions. 1-8-0 revolutions.

Secure from general quarters but maintain full watertight integrity...

...and double the lookout watch.

That, Mr. Ralston, means secure Fire Control.

Yes, captain.

Secure from general quarters, set condition three. On deck, section one.

Trussed, tied and nailed to the wall, but those idiots down in Norfolk...

...decided it'd be more sporting this way.

Big Red...

You like that, don't you? Like what, captain?

When I speak disrespectfully of the high command.

Sure. Brings out that individuality.

Bridge, CIC. We have a small radar pip...

...bearing 0-8-5. Range: 1500 yards.

Queffle, do you hold sonar contact?

Queffle! Queffle!

It... I don't know, captain.

It sounds like... Bridge port lookout.

I don't know. Snorkel on the port bow.

Range: 1000 yards.

Come left 20 degrees. Left 20 degrees, sir.

All engines ahead two-thirds. All engines ahead two-thirds, sir.

Sound general quarters.

Snorkel bearing 0-9-0, 500 yards. Snorkel bearing 0-9-0.

Commodore, how much air did he get?

I doubt he had time to start his air blowers.

Good. Good. Queffle, let's sit on him.

Well, now, gentlemen, this is more like it.

You're lucky, my captain. Yes, Wolfgang, I'm lucky.

I'm very lucky. Queffle?

Queffle! I don't know what's wrong.

I just couldn't read it.

What's the trouble? I couldn't read the sub, sir.

Get the doctor. I don't know what's wrong.

I heard sounds and they didn't make sense.

You'll be all right. Sit here. I couldn't tell what they would be.

It just didn't make any sense. That's all right, Queffle.

You just take it easy. Watch him. Okay.

Lucky or not, we've got him. Yeah.

The squeeze play is on.

Captain. I want him to...

Doc, take a look at Queffle.

Take him to my cabin and fix him up. I want him back in shape in two hours.

Can't be done, captain.

What do you mean, "can't"?

This man's had it. He's finished.

It was nutty, sir. He's young, he can snap back.

Lf you push him any harder... Look, just do what I said.

I know that this is very important... You know nothing, doc.

This isn't one of your lousy ulcer cases. Now get him below.

You dirty bastard.

What did you call me? I called you a dirty bastard.

What do you think I am? Some kind of joke?

I've been a Navy officer for 20 years.

I've saved more men than you have on this ship.

Who are you to tell me how to run my business? I'm a doctor.

Anything else? Yes.

As I said before, this man's finished.

When you've done as ordered, don't sedate him.

I want him back here sharp.

Aye, aye, sir.

You'll have him back. It's your order, your responsibility.

Come on, son. Come here.

All right.

If you don't mind, Mr. Munceford, the bridge is secured.

Captain, I would like to stay...

I'd appreciate it very much, Mr. Munceford, if you'd get below.

Beckman! Sir.

Prepare for underwater transmission and get up here with a translator.

Aye, aye, sir.

Mr. Munceford!

I have no more time or patience. Would you please get below?

That permission specifically said, "If the sub is still in territorial waters."

Is that not so? A matter of interpretation.

But the Russian is in international waters.

The ocean is free, my captain. Yes, so it is.

So you have lost your opportunity. It was magnificent...

If I catch a man robbing my house... I let him go just because he got to the sidewalk?

You oversimplify, captain. All I'm going to do is challenge.

On what grounds? When he surfaces, I'll tell him.

Not only will he not surface, he'll not even acknowledge your challenge.

You will accomplish nothing. But I already have. Add it up.

He didn't surface during the night. We must've been directly over him.

So he's out of breathing air.

Staying down, he couldn't charge his batteries, so he can't run.

And there he is.

So you see, commodore, we've accomplished the most important step.

We've made him desperate.

He's certainly desperate.

That is the danger. You're dealing with a desperate force.

And we're a determined force.

You are in the power here, Eric.

It is not a force. There's just you.

You mean you're trying to say that you consider me desperate.

No, captain. To be frank...

...I consider you frightening.

Captain. Snorkel in sight.

Captain? Oh, Beckman, let's go.

Williams. Yes, sir.

All hands. This is the captain.

What you are about to hear, the enemy commander will be unable... censor or screen from his crew.

The sound waves will hit the sub's hull.

They'll get it straight.

Ready? Yes, sir. Sonar speaker on.

All set, Williams? Yes, sir.

To captain of unidentified submarine...

...from commander of most immediate surface vessel.

Cannot understand your refusal... acknowledge request that you surface and identify yourself.

Our respective powers are not at war.

Repeat request.

Surface and identify self.

Unless I receive an immediate answer...

...I disclaim responsibility for the consequences.

End of message.

All right, that's all. Thanks. Yes, sir.


He's got his air blowers going full blast.

How much longer before it does him any good?

One hour. It'll only prolong the agony.

Is that it? Sir, that's the Novo Sibursk.

She must be about 50 miles off.

So she'll arrive, and it will end. Thank God.

Switch back to the sub.

Nothing, sir.

All right, get back to your station. Aye, sir.

No answer.

Okay, if that's how he wants it.

I'll take the con. Aye, aye, sir.

All ahead full. All engines ahead full, sir.

Head directly for the snorkel. Directly for the snorkel.

Those are men. Men answer.

Take her just enough off the bow to miss our sonar.

Aye, aye, sir. How shall I log it, sir?

Designate it "unidentified floating object."

Aye, aye, sir.

In the interest of journalistic accuracy, Mr. Munceford...

...our ship will pass safely over the sub.

We won't touch it.

Engines ahead two-thirds! Engines ahead two-thirds, sir.

Bring her about the starboard.

Buck, take the con. Aye, sir.

Take position 2000 yards on the sub's quarter.

Aye, aye, sir. How's the sonar?

Sonar operating.

Fire Control. Sir.

Report! All systems in automatic control, sir.

Ready for firing when armed... You're not chasing whales now!

You're pushing him too far. He's right. Stop this madness.

So you still think I'm frightening, commodore?

That captain and his crew will act now like animals, fighting for survival.

This is my job. It's not your job!

Break off this action, or you'll force him to fight.

So you think he's going to fire at us, do you?

I would in his place. So would you.

CIC. Sir?

What's the target aspect? Minimum surface area. Bow on.

Thank you.

Fire Control. Sir?

Arm number one ASROC.

Aye, aye, sir.

Armed and ready, sir. Captain, you are a fool!

Finlander, leave it alone. Take it easy, Ralston.

All systems in automatic control, sir. Weapons armed and ready.

Take it easy. Fire Control, A-Okay, sir.

All systems armed and ready. This is insane!

Oh, don't worry, commodore. The Bedford will never fire first.

But if he fires one, I'll fire one. Fire one.

Did you disarm it? I don't know.

Back to your stations! All engines stopped.

Back to your stations!

All hands! All hands!

Remain at general quarters.

Remain at general quarters.

Sonar. Sir.

We tried to disarm the warhead in time, but we don't know.


Keep listening. Yes, sir.

I'm tracking the torpedo now, sir. Touched down pretty close.

Holding contact, captain.

It's funny but I'm picking up... Jeez!

Sonar. Sir.

Keep ranging. Yes, sir.

Captain? Yes.

Captain, there's... Oh, my God.

What is it? Torpedoes!

Range: 2000 yards. Closing.

Right full rudder! All ahead flank! Allison, actuate countermeasures!

Aye, sir! Right full rudder, sir!

All engines ahead flank, sir!

Torpedoes approaching bearing 1-3-0. Four of them at intervals.

He must have fired as soon as the ASROC broke the surface.

What's the range? 1500. Coming straight on.

Range: 1300. Speed: 40. Closing.

You have a torpedo evasion plan, haven't you?

Well, have you or haven't you?


Come on, you knew there was this chance! Do something!

Range: 800 yards. Closing.


Answer me, damn you!