MovieChat Forums > The Missiles of October (1974) Discussion > This is a landmark presentation-Where is...

This is a landmark presentation-Where is everybody?


This is such a terrific dramatization of a very chilling event in American history! I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more attention. Willian Devane's portrayal of JFK is right up there with Scott's Patton and Duvall's Eisenhower. Unfortunately, I think Ralph Bellamy was miscast as Adlai Stevenson. We always expect him to be Roosevelt! I thought that E.G. Marshall was in the cast, but apparently not, however, that's who I think would have been a very good choice to play Stevenson.
I don't know if the DVD only being available in one region is for the Americas, but something should be availble, so that this could be a part of the syllabus for a Modern American History class at the high school and/or college level. Mustang p51b

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I agree, terrific rendition. This depiction was made 14 years after the incident. A lot of the information about Russian military officers in Cuba having authority to launch came out after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Good thing they didn't launch, or Cuba and Russia would still be glowing. Half of our B-52s were always in the air armed with nukes ready to fly to the target, ala Fail Safe.

And even though the Jupiter missiles were "obsolete" they still could have flown to the target inside the USSR.

That is why Kruschev backed down. We had nuclear superiority and he knew it. And he knew that our government was filled up with ex and career military people who had fought in WWII, just like he had.

This was as significant as when Ronald Reagan was asked what he thought we should do in the cold war and he answered, "Win it." Which we did.

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I had the EXACT SAME THOUGHT about the casting of Ralph Bellamy as Stevenson, and the W.G. Marshall casting you're confusing is when he played Joseph P. Kennedy in the martin Sheen movie about Kennedy. He was perfectly cast there and would have been an EXCELLENT choice as Stevenson, though I think Dann Florek could be great as Stevenson sometime. I'm happy to say I have recorded this on VHS from local (Boston) TV when it was shown in its entirety.

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I'm here.

The Missiles of October is one of the greatest TV movies I have ever seen.

Devane is nothing less than brilliant.

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Wait a minute... who am I here?

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E.G. Marshall

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I was in second grade when the Missile crisis hit. My brother and I had conversations about bothering to do homework or not. A neighbor dug a bunker in his back yard. In '74 I'd just gotten my first apartment when this was presented on TV. I had an old 19" B&W set that worked just fine. I remember waiting the second night for the conclusion and just as it came on a storm came along and knocked out the power. I had to wait until 10 years ago to see the whole thing when the VHS version came out.

As far as Ralph Bellamy is concerned, I always felt he was miscast. John Dehner was excellent as Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

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I saw it years ago on cable and thought it was very good. They way JFK handled himself was terrific.

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My uncle was in the Marines at the time.

When JFK made his announcement, we figured that was it for him.

Luckily, it was not.

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Wait a minute... who am I here?

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Of course, it looks like Bellamy is wearing a tupee, when Stevenson himself was bald!

If you had a choice to watch this or 13 DAYS, I would go for this one. Eventhough we see some action in 13 DAYS, MISSLES OF OCTOBER just feels more intense, and of course, William Devane is outstanding. Plus you don't have Kevin Costner's Kenny O'Donnell as the man with practically all the answers!

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I enjoyed both 13 Days and Missiles of October. Michael Fairman who played Stevenson in 13 Days really does a superb job of playing Stevenson more so than Bellamy. I agree that when you see Bellamy that you think he is suppose to be playing Franklin Roosevelt.

I enjoyed both William Devane and Bruce Greenwood in their performances of JFK. I think Stephen Cup was a bit better as RFK than Martin Sheen but I thought they both did a good job. I really enjoyed both of the movies and recommend them highly.

PS: Kenny O'Donnell wrote a personal memoir on working with JFK that I recommend called 'Johnny- We Hardly Knew Ye'. There are many interesting anecdotes about JFK and his political career.

Frank: Just a man.
Harmonica: An ancient race.

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I agree with your assessment. I saw "Missiles" when it first aired in October of 1975, (I suppose that gives something away doesn't it? Well, I was 13 when the events actually took place, to end the speculation), and I was riveted then and the experience remains the same. I find '13 days' just as compelling but for different reasons--lots more of the outside the office tension that the country as a whole felt is portrayed, as well as the courage of the service members--the U2 pilot in particular. I have both films and have used them to help my children understand what the world was like before 1989.

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This is one of my all-time favorites!! I watched it on DVD last night. While I was sitting there, I was thinking that it is SUCH a shame that they don't make TV shows like this anymore. NO, the networks want to shove crappy "reality" shows down our throats!! This works out well for them, because those shows are SO cheap to produce, & the average slob sitting in front of the teevee,today, don't like to think too much...

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I'm going to have to voice the dissenting view here. I was a huge JFK fan growing up as the Kennedys were very aggrandized and held in high regard during the late 60s and early 70s and most agree the Cuban Missile Crisis was JFK's finest hour. When I saw the ads for this movie I couldn't wait for it air on Dec 18, 1974. What a disappointment. I found Devane's JFK and Sheens RKF way over the top and those "hollow" echoe-y sets that ABC had in the early 70s made their movies feel empty and cold. I couldn't sit through it when it came on. I'm not one of those people who requires gratuitous violence and sex to keep me entertained, to the contrary I'm a big fan of history and facts but I found this movie too slow-paced for my liking. I've seen it a few times since and have never been able to sit through the whole thing. In the early 70s the Kennedys were portrayed as deities and saints to be worshiped and this movie contributed to that. Nine years later Sheen would portray JFK in the mini-series (remember those? they had them before reality TV took over network television) "Kennedy" which was a much better (in my opinion of course) TV dramatization. I remember seeing the ads for "Kennedy" back in 1983 and when I saw that Sheen was going to portray JFK I knew I wouldn't be watching. "Kennedy" was rerun a few years later and I did watch it and found it very good so when I saw TMOO was going to be rerun I watched it again and was just as disappointed with it as I was when I first tried to watch it. I couldn't watch to the end. I'm glad people remember this one and I do agree it is certainly better than much of what the networks have offered us in the last decade, but as someone who read about and studied the Kennedys, I found the portrayals in this movie disappointing.

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It's my guess that one reason why E.G. Marshall didn't play Adlai Stevenson is that he was busy with his weekly CBS Radio Mystery Theater at the time. It started in January of 1974. I can remember listening to him announce each weeks show back then (I turned 4 in December of that year) and I enjoyed the programs. Most of them weren't really scary (or maybe I was still too young to see them as such. Anyway that's why I think he probably didn't play in the movie. Other comittments. :)

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