K-19: The Widowmaker

Corrected entry: In the beginning of the movie a general refers to Khrushchev and Kennedy (both ruling in the same period) as the actual rulers of both countries. In the propaganda movie however they show Richard Nixon (ruling 6 years after Kennedy was killed) as President.

Correction: Nixon was Vice-president of Eisenhower till Kennedy was elected. The film of Nixon shows him in that capacity, not as president.


Corrected entry: When they are cutting the stainless steel reactor pipe to tie in the new water supply, they are using a cutting torch, only carbon steel, ie. steel that corrodes, can be cut by torch.

Correction: Any ferrous metal can be cut with an oxy-acetylene torch, and most metals in general can be cut with a torch, aluminum doesn't really work however.


Corrected entry: The name of the reactor officer, as mentioned several times in the film, is Vadim Radchenko. Toward the end of the movie, in the cemetery, his gravestone says 'Victor Radchenko'.

Correction: In the cemetery are gravestones of all seven dead crewmen who were working on reactor repairs. On the gravestone is written: Vadim Radchenko and Victor Gorelov (the chief, who took Vadim's place at the first reactor repair).


Corrected entry: The conning tower of K-19 is pressure damaged in the scene where they take the sub to 300m, yet in subsequent scenes the tower is intact and in perfect condition.

Correction: That's coz the moment it ascends above crush depth the pressure on the inside caters for the outboard plates to buckle back out.


Corrected entry: In the scene where the first team is about to go into the reactor chamber to attempt a repair, Harrison Ford bids them well with the phrase "may God be with you". In the 1960's the U.S.S.R was a communist super power and the state's official position was that of Atheism. Throughout the film, Harrison Ford exemplifies the state's objectives in all aspects. Therefore, it is highly unlikely he would ever refer to "God".

Larry Kohut

Correction: The Russian Orthodox Church existed throughout the Communist era. The official atheist stance of the Communist government was most propagated during the 30s and 40s, during which time church membership declined drastically and believers were harassed, some church leaders were killed. By the 60s church attendance and membership actually began to increase. A Russian of the time could still say "God be with you" without it being a religious stance. It would mean nothing more than "good luck." It's the same as in English, the word "Goodbye" was derived from the phrase "God be with ye."


Corrected entry: When the nuclear technician is talking to the commander about what will happen to the reactor, he mentions that the reactor will go into a thermonuclear explosion. This wouldnt happen, as for a thermonuclear reaction to happen a fusion reaction must happen. The reactor is a fission reactor, so would not go thermoneuclear.

Correction: The technicians statement is historically accurate. In the early days of nuclear reactors, many believed a thermonuclear explosion to be a possibility of a reactor melt-down or other malfunction. It's a case of mistaken past beliefs that has later been countered by new knowledge, not a movie mistake.


Correction is wrong: Early technicians and scientists knew that certain elements had to be present to initiate a fusion (thermonuclear) reaction, specifically tritium or lithium6. Those elements are not present in a power reactor nor is the design configuration required to use these elements to boost the reaction for fusion.

Corrected entry: In the first scene in the Naval headquarters where Harrison Ford is told he'll be commanding the sub, there is the sound of a helicopter flying overhead. The same helicopter sound occurs during the courtroom scene at the end. The sound is that of a Bell UH-1, commonly called a "Huey" which was THE chopper used in Vietnam. (I flew them) It has an extremely distinctive sound that any Vietnam vet will well remember and NO Russian chopper sounds anything like a Huey!

Correction: Russian airports do have Hueys, and not necessarily a military aircraft. Some were modified for transporting cargo and people. Some of the Hueys they had during the Cold War were captured, or rebuilt using parts from various crash sites. Therefore, it is possible for a Huey to be flying in Russia.


Corrected entry: In the scene before the crew departs, all the officers are shown having a drink. They all stand up, toast and then drink. Liam Neeson's character stands up to make a speech. As soon as he finishes all the officers stand up again and drink. At no time did they refill their shot glasses nor did a waiter come and fill them.

Correction: Having attended many Russian parties, I can say that not all toasts drain the glass. Usually you take a gulp of whatever you are drinking, and it depends on the person how much is consumed. Some only sip from their drink on a toast.


Corrected entry: The American ship in the background of K19 shows a Canadian Restigouhe destroyer, the ship does not carry a helicopter, and the one flying is a Sikorsky S58.

Correction: It's the (decommissioned) HMCS Terra Nova. It DID carry a helicopter. http://gwardnet.d2g.com/mac/macamodius/


Corrected entry: Towards the start of the movie, Harrison Ford is addressing the crew. He says something like, 'You will all have the honour of being HER crew'. But, the Soviet Navy always referred to their ships and vessels as males (opposite to the U.S. Navy).

Correction: Submarine (podvodnaya lodka) is definitely female. That's because Russian words ending with "a" means female. So, all ships are male and boats female.


Corrected entry: Every on in the movie refers to the submarine as K19 but the Conning tower (Sail) has a different number painted on it. The same it true of the rescue sub it was refered to as "S" and some number but the number painted on it did not match the dialogue.

Correction: The numbers on the conning tower of sub don't indicate their name but several other stuff (like the division the sub belongs to).


Corrected entry: When they're uploading fruits on the sub one of the extras can be seen getting an orange from a basket in secret.

Correction: Not necessarily a mistake - could have been intentional.


Continuity mistake: During the briefing Alexei Vostrikov was receiving from the Generals, he has three stars on his shoulders, but for the most of the rest of the movie he only has two stars on his shoulders.

More mistakes in K-19: The Widowmaker

Captain Alexei Vostrikov: We will not fail.

More quotes from K-19: The Widowmaker

Trivia: When this film was made, many of the original, Russian crew members involved in this historic incident were very upset about the submarine crew being portrayed as drunkards. Oddly enough, one of the promotional items given out at premieres and to executives was a silver K-19 vodka flask.

Lynette Carrington
More trivia for K-19: The Widowmaker

Question: When they fire the test missile it appears to come out of the sail. That would be incorrect, no? (00:49:30)

Answer: The movie is correct on this. The early Soviet ballistic missile subs like this one had the missile launcher in the sail, carrying 3 missiles. Missile tubes integrated into the hull, and the ability to fire while completely submerged, didn't come til later.

More questions & answers from K-19: The Widowmaker

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