The Perfect Storm (film)

Last updated
The Perfect Storm
Perfect storm poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Produced by Paula Weinstein
Wolfgang Petersen
Gail Katz
Screenplay by William D. Wittliff
Bo Goldman (uncredited)
Based on The Perfect Storm
by Sebastian Junger
Starring
Music by James Horner
Cinematography John Seale
Edited by Richard Francis-Bruce
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • June 30, 2000 (2000-06-30)
Running time
130 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$120 million [1]
Box office$328.7 million

The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on the 1997 non-fiction book of the same name by Sebastian Junger. The film tells the story of the Andrea Gail , a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands after being caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991. The film stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, William Fichtner, Michael Ironside, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane, Karen Allen and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. [2] It was released on June 30, 2000, by Warner Bros.

Biographical film film genre; dramatizes the life of an actual person or people

A biographical film, or biopic, is a film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and the central character's real name is used. They differ from films "based on a true story" or "historical drama films" in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a single person's life story or at least the most historically important years of their lives.

A disaster film or disaster movie is a film genre that has an impending or ongoing disaster as its subject and primary plot device. Such disasters include natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis or asteroid collisions, accidents such as shipwrecks or airplane crashes, or calamities like worldwide disease pandemics. A subgenre of action films, these films usually feature some degree of build-up, the disaster itself, and sometimes the aftermath, usually from the point of view of specific individual characters or their families or portraying the survival tactics of different people.

In film and television, drama is a genre of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular subgenre, such as "police crime drama", "political drama", "legal drama", "historical period drama", "domestic drama", or "comedy-drama". These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.

Contents

Plot

In October 1991, the commercial fishing boat Andrea Gail returns to port in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with a poor catch. Desperate for money, Captain Billy Tyne convinces the Andrea Gail crew to join him for one more late season fishing expedition. The crew heads out past their usual fishing grounds on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, leaving a developing tropical storm behind them. Initially unsuccessful, they head to the Flemish Cap, where their luck greatly improves. At the height of their fishing, the ice machine breaks; the only way to sell their catch before it spoils is to hurry back to shore. After debating whether to sail through the building storm or to wait it out, the crew decides to risk the storm. However, between Andrea Gail and Gloucester is a confluence of two powerful weather fronts and a hurricane, which the Andrea Gail crew underestimates.

F/VAndrea Gail was a private fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands during the "Perfect Storm" of 1991. The vessel and her six-man crew had been fishing the North Atlantic Ocean out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her last reported position was 180 mi (290 km) northeast of Sable Island on October 28, 1991. The story of Andrea Gail and her crew was the basis of the 1997 book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, and a 2000 film adaptation of the same name.

Gloucester, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Gloucester is a city on Cape Ann in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is part of Massachusetts' North Shore. The population was 28,789 at the 2010 U.S. Census. An important center of the fishing industry and a popular summer destination, Gloucester consists of an urban core on the north side of the harbor and the outlying neighborhoods of Annisquam, Bay View, Lanesville, Folly Cove, Magnolia, Riverdale, East Gloucester, and West Gloucester.

Grand Banks of Newfoundland A group of underwater plateaus south-east of Newfoundland on the North American continental shelf.

The Grand Banks of Newfoundland are a group of underwater plateaus south-east of Newfoundland on the North American continental shelf. These areas are relatively shallow, ranging from 15 to 91 metres in depth. The cold Labrador Current mixes with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream here, often causing extreme foggy conditions.

After repeated warnings from other ships, Andrea Gail loses her antenna, forcing Captain Linda Greenlaw of sister ship Hannah Boden to call in a Mayday. A New York Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopter responds, but after failing to perform a midair refueling with an HC-130 Hercules, the helicopter crew ditch their aircraft. All but one of the Air National Guard crew members are rescued by a Coast Guard vessel, the USCGC Tamaroa.

Linda Greenlaw is a best-selling author of books with maritime themes and the only female swordfishing boat captain on the East Coast of the United States. She was featured in the 1997 book The Perfect Storm and the film The Perfect Storm. She previously captained Seahawk after the previous captain died on board.

New York Air National Guard

The New York Air National Guard is the air force militia of the State of New York, United States of America. It is, along with the New York Army National Guard, an element of the New York National Guard.

Air National Guard Air warfare component of the United States National Guard

The Air National Guard (ANG), also known as the Air Guard, is a federal military reserve force as well as the militia air force of each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It, along with each state's, district's, commonwealth's or territory's Army National Guard component, makes up the National Guard of each state and the districts, commonwealths and territories as applicable.

After Andrea Gail endures various problems, the crew struggles to sail through pounding waves and shrieking winds, while friends and family worry and wait for a ship that never comes home. The vessel encounters an enormous rogue wave. They attempt to drive the boat over the wave but it crests before it can get to the top and is overturned; Billy elects to go down with his ship, the rest of the crew are trapped inside and only one, rookie fisherman Bobby Shatford, manages to get out. He surfaces and watches as Andrea Gail rights herself before sinking stern-first into the Atlantic. As Bobby silently says his goodbyes to his loved ones, the rapidly rising swell carries him away.

Rogue wave Relatively large and spontaneous ocean surface waves that occur at sea

Rogue waves are unusually large, unexpected and suddenly appearing surface waves that can be extremely dangerous, even to large ships such as ocean liners.

The captain goes down with the ship Maritime tradition

"The captain goes down with the ship" is a maritime tradition that a sea captain holds ultimate responsibility for both his ship and everyone embarked on it, and that in an emergency, he will either save them or die trying. Although often connected to the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912 and its captain, Edward J. Smith, the tradition precedes Titanic by at least 11 years. In most instances, the captain forgoes his own rapid departure of a ship in distress, and concentrates instead on saving other people. It often results in either the death or belated rescue of the captain as the last person on board.

There are no survivors; Linda reads the eulogy at the memorial. Later, as she heads out to sea again, she remembers Billy soliloquising about what it means to be a swordboat captain.

Cast

George Clooney American actor, filmmaker, and activist

George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, filmmaker and businessman. He is the recipient of three Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, one for acting in Syriana (2006) and the other for co-producing Argo (2012). In 2018, he was the recipient of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, at the age of 57.

Mark Wahlberg American actor, television producer and rap musician

Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg is an American actor, producer, businessman, model, rapper, and songwriter. He is also known by his former stage name Marky Mark, from his early career as frontman for the group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, with whom he released the albums Music for the People and You Gotta Believe.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio American actress and singer

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is an American actress and singer. She made her Broadway debut in the 1980 revival of West Side Story, and went on to appear in the 1983 film Scarface as Al Pacino's character's sister, Gina Montana. For her role as Carmen in the 1986 film The Color of Money, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her other film roles include The Abyss (1989), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), and The Perfect Storm (2000). In 2003, she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha.

Historical accuracy

The Andrea Gail

Hurricane Grace on October 28, 1991, when the Andrea Gail went missing. Hurricane Grace (1991).JPG
Hurricane Grace on October 28, 1991, when the Andrea Gail went missing.

A ship similar to Andrea Gail, Lady Grace, was used during the filming of the movie. [3] [4] Most of the names used were not changed for the fictional film, but in response two lawsuits were later filed by certain families of the crew members. The film only claims to be "based on a true story", and differs in many ways from the book starting with the fictionalization of the material into a "story". The events shown in the film after the Andrea Gail's last radio contact are pure speculation, as the boat and the bodies of the crew were never found.

<i>The Perfect Storm</i> (book) nonfiction book written by Sebastian Junger

The Perfect Storm is a creative nonfiction book written by Sebastian Junger and published by W. W. Norton & Company in 1997. The paperback edition (ISBN 0-06-097747-7) followed in 1999 from HarperCollins' Perennial imprint. The book is about the 1991 Perfect Storm that hit North America between October 28 and November 4, 1991, and features the crew of the fishing boat Andrea Gail, from Gloucester, Massachusetts, who were lost at sea during severe conditions while longline fishing for swordfish 575 miles (925 km) out. Also in the book is the story about the rescue of the three-person crew of the sailboat Satori in the Atlantic Ocean during the storm by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa (WMEC-166).

Contrary to the movie's storyline, Captain Linda Greenlaw says she did not place a distress call on behalf of Andrea Gail. "Without a distress call (directly) from the imperiled vessel, the Coast Guard will not initiate a search until the vessel is five days overdue in port," Greenlaw said. The 1993 U.S. Coast Guard's investigative report said that Andrea Gail was experiencing 30-foot waves and winds from anywhere from 50 to 80 knots (58 - 92 MPH) around the time of the last communication. The conditions, though threatening, were probably not unfamiliar to Tyne, who had been a successful fisherman for about a decade on other vessels, taking trips to the Grand Banks and fishing off Florida, the Carolinas, and elsewhere. [5] In addition, Hurricane Grace (1991) was described by a weather forecaster as a category 5 storm in the movie, though it never achieved those wind speeds. In the movie, Tyne and his crew agreed to head into the dangerous storm in order to save their fish from spoiling. Greenlaw acknowledged that Tyne did mention having ice problems, but that was not unusual. "My one gripe about [the] movie was how Warner Brothers depicted Billy Tyne and his crew as making a very conscious decision to steam into a storm that they knew was dangerous," said Greenlaw. "That is not what happened. Andrea Gail was three days into their steam home when the storm hit. Whatever happened to Andrea Gail happened very quickly." [5]

An Air National Guard helicopter was dispatched from Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base on Long Island, New York, but not in response to the Andrea Gail or Satori (Mistral in the movie). The helicopter departed mid-storm on a mission to help save a lone Japanese fisherman from a sinking sailboat 250 miles off the New Jersey coast. Unsuccessful and running low on fuel, the Air National Guard HH-60G helicopter was compelled to attempt a mid-flight refueling maneuver. The zero-visibility conditions thwarted their efforts, however, and lacking enough fuel to make the flight back to the Long Island base, the crew were forced to ditch the helicopter. After a search by Tamaroa, four of the HH-60's crew were picked up; one was never seen again. The Japanese yachtsman was later rescued by a Romanian cargo ship. [5]

When asked about the portrayal of "Sully" in the movie, Cathy Sullivan Mustone, an older sister of David "Sully" Sullivan, said she was disappointed. "They made my brother's character out to be a hothead," she said. "I guess every movie needs a villain, but my brother was a funny guy with a loud laugh and a big smile. He had a lot of guts and he loved fishing." In fact, David's bravery and quick thinking made headlines on a different boat—Harmony. One night during a winter fishing trip, Harmony began taking on water while tied to another boat. The crew of Harmony yelled for help, hoping to wake the nearby crew. No one woke, so David dove into the icy water, pulling himself on the ropes that tied the boats together. As a result of his bravery, Harmony's crew was saved. Mustone said, "At least in the movie, they did represent my brother's bravery in a water rescue scene. He was a good man. And I just know he is at peace in heaven, safe with our Dad." [5]

The Satori

The crew members of Satori (renamed Mistral in the movie) were not rescued by an Air National Guard helicopter, but rather a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. The helicopter was changed in the film after the Air National Guard had issues consulting with the movie producers. According to the owner's son, Satori never made a 360° roll, although it had two knockdowns, during which it lay on its side for about 30 seconds. [6] In response to requests by the crew, Captain Ray Leonard permitted the two crewmembers to make a position report over radio, during which they made an unauthorized Mayday call. One of those crewmembers reported that she was so convinced that she was going to die that she wrote her name down and put it into a plastic bag so that her body could be identified when it was finally found.

There is controversy over whether the Captain was drunk, as charged by the women in the book, with Leonard objecting to this characterization. Out of compassion for the expected loss of his boat, the Coast Guard did not test his blood alcohol levels at the time. The Coast Guard declared the voyage manifestly unsafe and ordered everyone off-board, including the unwilling skipper. [6] The Coast Guard first tried to take them on board via an inflatable boat, but after it was damaged when trying to approach Satori they sent a helicopter, which is a much riskier approach, as a rescue swimmer must jump into dangerous seas. The Coast Guard helicopter did not try to lower rescue gear onto the yacht (as shown in the movie, where it gets entangled with the mast), but rather asked the crew of Satori to jump overboard to meet a rescue swimmer in the water. Leonard eventually complied with the request.

After the storm, Leonard searched for the "Satori", hoping to find her still afloat, but in spite of his attempts she was found a few days later washed ashore on a Maryland beach, a bag of personal belongings still on deck. Leonard paid for a 60-foot fishing vessel to drag her off the beach, helped by a channel dug by Park Rangers who had been guarding the boat. He continued to sail the boat until 2000, and she remained in use with a new owner as of May 2000. [6]

Reception

The Perfect Storm received mixed reviews from critics, with a 47% approval rating on critic site Rotten Tomatoes with a consensus of, "While the special effects are well done and quite impressive, this film suffers a lack of any actual drama or characterization. The end result is a film that offers nifty eye-candy and nothing else." [7]

The Perfect Storm was a box office success. On its opening weekend, it debuted with $42 million ahead of Sony's The Patriot and eventually brought in over $182.6 million in the United States, and $146.1 million around the world to a total of $328.7 million worldwide. [8]

The film was nominated for 2 Academy Awards, Best Visual Effects (Walt Conti, Stefen Fangmeier, John Frazier and Habib Zargarpour) and Best Sound (John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, David E. Campbell and Keith A. Wester), but lost both to Gladiator . [9]

Lawsuits

After the film was released, the families of two crew members sued the film makers for the fictionalization of events which happened prior to the loss of Andrea Gail. [10] In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the family of Captain Tyne by a 6–2 vote. Some unnamed families also sued the producers in federal district court, claiming that their names were used without their permission, and that facts were changed. [11] The district court, which is also located in Florida, dismissed the case, as in their opinion the defendants' First Amendment right to freedom of speech barred the suit. The plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which could not decide how to interpret the Florida law at issue and certified the question to the Florida Supreme Court. In the end, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the district court's interpretation of Florida law, and thereupon the 11th Circuit affirmed the prior decision to dismiss the case. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

USCGC <i>Tamaroa</i> (WMEC-166)

USCGC Tamaroa (WAT/WMEC-166), originally the United States Navy Cherokee-class fleet tugUSS Zuni (ATF-95), was a United States Coast Guard cutter. Following the U.S. Coast Guard custom of naming cutters in this class of ship after Native American tribes, she was named after the Tamaroa tribe of the Illiniwek tribal group.

Flemish Cap landform

The Flemish Cap is an area of shallow waters in the north Atlantic Ocean centered roughly at 47° north, 45° west or about 563 km east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

<i>The Guardian</i> (2006 film) 2006 film by Andrew Davis

The Guardian is a 2006 American action-adventure drama film directed by Andrew Davis. The film stars Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher and Melissa Sagemiller. The title of the film refers to a legendary figure within the film which protects people lost at sea: "the Guardian". The film focuses on the United States Coast Guard and their Aviation Survival Technician program. The Guardian was released on September 29, 2006.

1991 Perfect Storm Category 1 Atlantic hurricane in 1991

The 1991 Perfect Storm, also known as The No-Name Storm and the Halloween Gale/Storm, was a nor'easter that absorbed Hurricane Grace and ultimately evolved back into a small unnamed hurricane late in its life cycle. The initial area of low pressure developed off Atlantic Canada on October 29. Forced southward by a ridge to its north, it reached its peak intensity as a large and powerful cyclone. The storm lashed the east coast of the United States with high waves and coastal flooding before turning to the southwest and weakening. Moving over warmer waters, the system transitioned into a subtropical cyclone before becoming a tropical storm. It executed a loop off the Mid-Atlantic states and turned toward the northeast. On November 1, the system evolved into a full-fledged hurricane, with peak sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km/h), although the National Hurricane Center left it unnamed to avoid confusion amid media interest in the precursor extratropical storm. It later received the name "the Perfect Storm" after a conversation between Boston National Weather Service forecaster Robert Case and author Sebastian Junger. The system was the twelfth and final tropical cyclone, the eighth tropical storm, and fourth hurricane in the 1991 Atlantic hurricane season. The tropical system weakened, striking Nova Scotia as a tropical storm before dissipating.

<i>Deadliest Catch</i> television program

Deadliest Catch is a documentary television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. It portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab, opilio crab and bairdi crab fishing seasons.

<i>Captains Courageous</i> (1937 film) 1937 film by Victor Fleming

Captains Courageous is a 1937 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer adventure film. Based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, "Captains Courageous: A Story of the Grand Banks", it had its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. The movie was produced by Louis D. Lighton and directed by Victor Fleming. Filmed in black-and-white, Captains Courageous was advertised by MGM as a coming-of-age classic with exciting action sequences.

<i>Survival Island</i> 2005 film by Stewart Raffill

Survival Island, also known as Three, is a 2005 erotic thriller film written and directed by Stewart Raffill and starring Kelly Brook, Billy Zane and Juan Pablo Di Pace.

FV Pelican was a party boat, or head boat, operating out of Montauk, New York, which capsized on September 1, 1951, killing 45 passengers and crew, including the captain Eddie Carroll.

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod is a United States Coast Guard air station located on Joint Base Cape Cod formerly known as Otis Air National Guard Base in Sandwich, Massachusetts. It operates from New York City to the Canada–US border. It was founded in 1970 as a replacement to Coast Guard Air Station Salem.

L'Acadien II was a Canadian-registered fishing vessel that capsized and sank on March 29, 2008. The vessel was being towed by Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Sir William Alexander off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia at the time of the incident. Two of the crew of six were rescued and four men died in the incident. Recovery efforts have not located the sunken trawler nor the missing crew member who is now presumed dead. Canadian authorities have launched independent investigations into the incident.

The Big Valley was a 92-foot crabber boat. The vessel capsized and sank Saturday, January 15, 2005, in the Bering Sea in an area 70 miles (110 km) west of Saint Paul Island, Alaska. Only one member of the crew survived: Cache Seel, 30. Skipper Gary Edwards, 46, of Kodiak, Alaska; Danny Vermeersch, 33 of Belgium; Josias Luna, 48, of Anchorage, Alaska; Aaron Marrs, 27, of Louisville, Kentucky; and Carlos Rivera, 35, of Uruguay all perished.

Coast Guard Station Gloucester

United States Coast Guard Station Gloucester is a United States Coast Guard station located in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It is located on Harbor Loop on the Mainland. The first successful US Coast Guard Air Station was located on Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Harbor.

<i>Swords</i> (TV series) television series

Swords: Life on the Line was a reality television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series documents the events aboard New England fishing boats fishing for Swordfish. See Longline fishing.

Hurricane Grace Category 2 Atlantic hurricane in 1991

Hurricane Grace was a short-lived Category 2 hurricane that contributed to the formation of the powerful 1991 Perfect Storm. Forming on October 26, Grace initially had subtropical origins, meaning it was partially tropical and partially extratropical in nature. It became a tropical cyclone on October 27, and ultimately peaked with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h). The storm had minor effects on the island of Bermuda as it passed to the south. A developing extratropical storm to the north turned Grace eastward; the hurricane was eventually absorbed into the large circulation of the larger low pressure system. Fed by the contrast between cold air to the northwest and warm air from the remnants of Hurricane Grace, this storm became a large and powerful nor'easter that caused extremely high waves and resulted in severe coastal damage along the East Coast of the United States.

<i>Lets Go Collegiate</i> 1941 film by Jean Yarbrough

Let's Go Collegiate is a 1941 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Jean Yarbrough.

CCGS <i>Cape Hearne</i>

The CCGS Cape Hearne is one of the Canadian Coast Guard's 36 Cape class motor life boat. She as christened in 2005, at the Canadian Coast Guard Station at Kingston, Ontario. According to Peter Milliken, the local member of Parliament: "Kingston, with its long-standing history with fishing, maritime trade and recreational boating fully understands the clear need for search and rescue capacity on our Great Lakes. Assigning these new state-of-the-art lifeboats to coastal communities demonstrates the federal commitment to providing the highest levels of safety to ensure the ongoing prosperity and enjoyment of our aquatic riches."

Operation Dawn of Gulf of Aden Military operation

Operation Dawn of Gulf of Aden was a naval operation by the Republic of Korea Navy against Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea. The operation was spurred by the pirates' seizure of the South Korean chemical tanker Samho Jewelry. In response, the South Korean government sent a destroyer and 30 naval commandos to retake the ship and rescue its crew. After trailing the tanker for several days and fighting a preliminary engagement that neutralized four of the pirates, the South Korean forces retook the ship by force on January 21, 2011 in a successful boarding action that resulted in the death of eight and the capture of five out of thirteen pirates.

References

  1. Welkos, R.W., 2000. Prepare for Good, Sick Fun. Los Angeles Times , [internet] 7 May p.4. Available at http://articles.latimes.com/2000/may/07/entertainment/ca-27305 (page4) [Accessed 11 August 2010].
  2. Berardinelli, James, The Perfect Storm Film Review – reelviews.net, 2000 (Retrieved on 2007-01-25)
  3. "The Perfect Storm'sAndrea Gail Comes Home to Massachusetts". Warner Bros. July 14, 2000. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  4. Candus Thomson (June 23, 2000). "Ocean City boat sails off to stardom". The Baltimore Sun . Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  5. 1 2 3 4 What really happened to the Andrea Gail?
  6. 1 2 3 "Satori - Perfect Storm". Westsail Owners Association. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  7. The Perfect Storm on RT
  8. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=perfectstorm.htm
  9. "The 73rd Academy Awards (2001) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  10. "Court Revives 'Perfect Storm' Lawsuit". St. Petersburg Times Online. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  11. 1 2 Unger, Howard M. (2002-05-31). "Judge sinks 'Perfect Storm' lawsuit". Sarasota Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2007-11-06.