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The Final Countdown (9-Jul-1980)

Director: Don Taylor

Writers: David Ambrose; Gerry Davis; Thomas Hunter; Peter Powell

Music by: John Scott

Producer: Peter Vincent Douglas

Keywords: Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, Time Travel, WWII

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Kirk Douglas
9-Dec-1916   Spartacus
Charles Durning
28-Feb-1923 24-Dec-2012 The Muppet Movie
James Farentino
24-Feb-1938 24-Jan-2012 The Final Countdown
Lloyd Kaufman
Film Director
30-Dec-1945   The Toxic Avenger
Ron O'Neal
1-Sep-1937 14-Jan-2004 Youngblood Priest in Superfly
Soon-Tek Oh
29-Jan-1943   Frequently on M*A*S*H
Katharine Ross
29-Jan-1940   Elaine Robinson in The Graduate
Martin Sheen
3-Aug-1940   The West Wing


Kirk Douglas   ...   Capt. Matthew Yelland
Martin Sheen   ...   Warren Lasky
Katharine Ross   ...   Laurel Scott
James Farentino   ...   Cmdr. Richard Owens / Mr. Tideman
Ron O'Neal   ...   Cmdr. Dan Thurman
Charles Durning   ...   Sen. Samuel Chapman
Victor Mohica   ...   Black Cloud
James C. Lawrence   ...   Lt. Perry
Soon-Tek Oh   ...   Simura
Joe Lowry   ...   Cmdr. Damon
Alvin Ing   ...   Kajima
Mark Thomas   ...   Cpl. Kullman
Harold Bergman   ...   Bellman
Dan Fitzgerald   ...   Navy Doctor
Lloyd Kaufman   ...   Lt. Cmdr. Kaufman
Peter Douglas   ...   Quartermaster
Ted Richert   ...   Tideman's Assistant
George Warren   ...   Tideman's Bodyguard
Gary Morgan   ...   Helicopter Crewman
Phil Philbin   ...   Admiral
Robert Goodman   ...   Enlisted Man
Richard Liberty   ...   Lt. Cmdr. Moss
Neil Ronco   ...   Harvey
William Couch   ...   Durrell
Jack McDermott   ...   Wynn
Masayuki Yamazuki   ...   Togawa
George H. Strohsahl, Jr.   ...   Air Boss
Ronald R. Stoops   ...   Navigator
Kenneth J. Jaskolski   ...   Assistant Air Boss
Sergei M. Kowalchik   ...   Crewman
Jake Dennis   ...   Helicopter Pilot
Jim Toone   ...   Helicopter Co-Pilot
Edward J. Deats   ...   Chief
Robert L. Huffman   ...   Radio Officer
James R. Augustus   ...   Jr. Officer of the Deck
Sam P. Baldwin   ...   Lee Helmsman
Ronnie J. Ellis   ...   Captain's Aide
Timothy W. Gersbacher   ...   Enlisted Man
Wayne L. Flesher   ...   Enlisted Man
William S. Frost   ...   Enlisted Man
David H. Signor   ...   Enlisted Man
USS Nimitz Crew Actors
Tommy Abel   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Andrew Akerson   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Edward Andrews   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Nick L. Anelli   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Frank R. Arko   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Emory W. Brown   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Michael K. Balint   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
James Bulick   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Andris Dambekaln   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
John T. Davis   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Michael A. Davis   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
James A. Dennis, Jr.   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Frank DiRamio   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Jerry D. Elliott   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Richard Farrell   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
James W. Houston   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Richard M. Johnson   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Ronald Kissel   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Michael J. Kubat   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Raymond P. Langley   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Eric Lofquist   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Kermit L. McCorble   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Robert K. Miller   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
William H. Miller   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Gerry Mountcastle   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
William McCluskey   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Alan Mullen   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Charles F. Myers   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Jeffery L. Myers   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Randy M. Olin   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
David F. Person   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Raymond M. Reynaud   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Daniel C. Rockwell   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Francis Ross   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Trevor R. Sandison   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Gregory T. Swarney   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Andrey Swystun   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Christopher V. Totis   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Mark Trenor   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Brian Tyndall   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Peter D. Vogt   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
David Wanamaker   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Stephen G. Weaver   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Jan P. Werson   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Steven G. Williams   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Aaron B. Wilson   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
Michael Wilson   ...   USS Nimitz Crew
David E. Young   ...   USS Nimitz Crew


Review by Walter Frith (posted on 7-Jun-2007)

Time travel movies probably need more proof reading than any other type of scripts. To try and prevent contradictions, errors in the paradox and overall phoniness is a challenge. Some of the best are, of course, the 'Terminator' films and the 'Back to the Future' trilogy. Large commercial films that everyone talks about but the smaller films are sometimes ignored and or not distributed enough to be seen by a large segment of the population. 'The Final Countdown', when it was released in 1980, was mainly relegated as the second feature at drive-ins (where I saw it), and it was quickly shuffled to home video as one of the first pre-recorded tapes in the stores when the home video market took off in the early 1980's. It also appeared on pay television and through these alternative mediums, it became a cult favourite. It wasn't exactly a masterpiece of film making but what it did do was take a lighter approach to the classic time travel genre. It looked like a television movie in parts with some of its production values and its director Don Taylor got his start in television in the late 1950's doing television shows like 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', 'The Rifleman' and 'Dennis the Menace'. 'The Final Countdown' stars Kirk Douglas as Captain Matthew Yelland, a naval officer in charge of the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier the USS Nimitz. Others in the mix are Commander Richard Owens (James Farantino), a feisty history buff who is very protective of his privacy, and Warren Lasky (Martin Sheen), a civilian observer of the ship's proceedings. These three characters, along with the other crew of the ship and the carrier itself are transported back to early December 1941, just a short time before the Pearl Harbor attack which drew the United States into World War II. This scene is really quite remarkable. They are transported through a large tunnel that looks like a black hole surrounded by flashing streams of light which stops the ship's radar equipment, rings loudly, almost deafening the crew and throws them through a shock wave of rippling effects. They encounter Senator Chapman (Charles Durning) and his personal assistant Laurel Scott (Katharine Ross) in the middle of the Pacific after their pleasure boat is shot up by Japanese pilots and they are rescued by the Nimitz. They are brought back to the ship and have strange feelings about where they are, unaware that they are on a high tech vessel of the future. Each of the major characters directly involved with making a choice in the film have a chance to change their fate and the fate of millions of people along the way and there is much discussion as to whether or not history should be tampered with. At one point, Captain Yelland makes the point that it is his job to defend the United States at ANYTIME and that he intends to do his duty. But does he keep his word? Does he consider how history might turn out if he changes things? Perhaps for the better. Perhaps not. Personally, I've often wondered what would happen if history changed. Does everything indeed happen for a reason? All of the people murdered or who have died unnatural deaths in our lifetimes. Is there a reason for this? Maybe one of these people might have found a cure for cancer. But on the other hand, would one of these people have been responsible for starting a nuclear war? Martin Sheen's character talks in a hypothetical fashion in the film about meeting his own grandfather in the past, getting into and argument with him and killing him. He states: "Now if this happens, how will I ever be born?" Einstein might have enjoyed living into the modern age of film to see how his theory of relativity has been put forward by the movies. At a relatively short running time of 103 minutes, 'The Final Countdown' knows its limitations and doesn't try to be a fancy epic of scientific proportions. The acting is solid, the writing entertaining, the direction a little short sighted but still admirable. It has exciting moments of tension, is low on action and uses its dialogue in a most intelligent manner. I enjoyed this film a lot and it's a shame that it hasn't been more widely available to the public. There is talk of it coming on DVD at some point in the future so keep your fingers crossed. It may just be a matter of..........time! : - ) [Visit Film Follow-Up by Walter Frith]

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