User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
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  1. Apr 3, 2013
    8
    Led by strong performances by Greenwood and Culp, Thirteen Days is an interesting and taught political drama, even if the final outcome is known to all (hint we weren't all incinerated by mutual nuclear destruction). In addition to the Kennedy administration, the narrative covers the roles of both the military and US UN representatives in the crisis. I've always thought that the roles ofLed by strong performances by Greenwood and Culp, Thirteen Days is an interesting and taught political drama, even if the final outcome is known to all (hint we weren't all incinerated by mutual nuclear destruction). In addition to the Kennedy administration, the narrative covers the roles of both the military and US UN representatives in the crisis. I've always thought that the roles of military personnel in movies is clichéd in the manner they always push for war, but seeing as this film depicts actual events (according to the source book) it turns out that that is actually the case. In fact, in this case the military chiefs repeatedly undermine JFK's restrained by not cancelling a planned atom bomb test or spy flights close to the Soviet Union.

    The script faithfully recreates actual speeches given by JFK during the crisis, 'not merely peace in our time but peace for all time' and both Greenwood and Culp accurately nail the Boston Irish accent of the Kennedy family. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the film's lead and producer, Kevin Costner. His accent veers from credible to laughable to non-existent during the film and his failings are only highlighted by his co-stars' performances.
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  2. Nov 28, 2012
    7
    Even with its occasional stylistic missteps and pacing issues, "Thirteen Days" still grips the audience and solidly establishes its worth as a tense and morally complex political period drama.
  3. Mar 19, 2015
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Thirteen Days

    Thirteen Days focuses on the Cuban missile crisis; specifically from the United States’ point of view. It gives us an insight of how decisions were made by President Kennedy during those 13 crucial days.
    The movie’s plot follows the Thirteen Days in chronological order. Starting from when the missiles were first discovered and ending when the deal was made. This film is a huge reminder of how close the world was to global annihilation with two great powers pointing weapons of mass destruction threateningly at each other. In addition to showing the danger of the crisis, the film’s plot clearly depicts how only a few people have control. The President has the power to order airstrikes and react to threatening situations such as that of the Soviet Union with the 40 and more missiles, all he has to do is make a call. The scenes in which President Kennedy makes his decision, and has it executed, shows how much power he possesses. One call can change the destiny of the citizens of the United States. This is still apparent today as President Obama is entrusted with controlling the United States along with its people. Even now, few people have the power to deploy weapons of mass destructions, such as the President. The threat of nuclear war, which the Cuban Missile crisis avoided, is still active today as the United States still possesses nuclear weapons.
    This film introduced a number of new things to me. I was not knowledgable of the fact that the generals kept pushing the President to have airstrikes and ultimately invade Cuba. The generals not only suggested this over and over again for the good of the people, they also wanted to redeem themselves from the failure at the Bay of Pigs. The continuously pushed the President, up to the point where he nearly considered it the best option. This invasion would have been the general’s successful second chance if the Cuban blockade idea didn’t come up. In addition to the tension between the generals and the President, I was also not aware of the fact that the President required the unanimous vote of the OAS (Organization of the United States) in order to go ahead with the blockade. He requested for these votes after the pictures of missiles being tested for launch in Cuba reached him. Lastly, I was interested in the fact that there were two letters sent before the deal which ended the crisis happened. The first was, according to the film, from Khruschev himself requesting that a deal could be made. This first letter gave the United States hope that violence was out of the question and that this crisis could finally end by peaceful means. However, the second letter sent was more aggressive. I was surprised with the fact that the administrators with the President suspected a coup during the second letter. Overall, this film helped open my eyes to a lot of the behind the scenes of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    Thirteen days kept me interested and on the edge of my side due to the fact that the President had to make decisions within a short period of time. This is a movie where you can clearly see that time is of the essence. The different opinions and views expressed during meetings with the President helped put the problem in perspective as the President worked step by step. I think the film did this really well as I could see how the gears worked in making a final decisions, I could also see where the President was coming from every time he made a decision. However, one aspect of the movie that confused me were the black and white scenes. I wasn’t sure if it was necessary to have only certain scenes in black and white. As a whole, I enjoyed the movie as it gave me insight into one of the most intense days in United States.
    This movie helped me picture this certain era as being unstable and fragile. There was a lot of pressure on the President from the generals, the administrations, the citizens and the press. Along with the pressure, the tensions between the Navy, the Generals and the President took a toll on every decision made during those thirteen days. The two powers, United States and the Soviet Union, had a tug of war game during this era. The United States had photographs of missiles in Cuba, but the Soviets denied it so the President sent in more surveillance. There was also the incident of one of the US planes being shot down, then to avoid any more violence and war a deal was made. This particular era was depicted clearly as being unstable with a huge lack of honesty as even in the White House some orders between the President and the Generals were not followed. Thirteen Days is an excellent movie and provides the viewer with behind the textbook knowledge on the Cuban Missile Crisis and those fateful 13 days.
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Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 31
  2. Negative: 2 out of 31
  1. 65
    Assiduous, temperate, and a lot more honest about government and politicians than any other Hollywood film of the last few decades, Thirteen Days is nevertheless too little, too late.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    The players don't particularly look like their historical models, but they make us feel their life-threatening pain and puzzlement.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    Reasonably intelligent, well-crafted and dramatically understated.