The Perfect Storm (film): Wikis


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The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm Theatrical poster
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Produced by Gail Katz
Written by Sebastian Junger (book)
William D. Wittliff
Bo Goldman (uncredited)
Starring George Clooney
Mark Wahlberg
Diane Lane
John C. Reilly
William Fichtner
Music by James Horner
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) June 30, 2000 (USA)
Running time 130 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $120,000,000 (est.)
Gross revenue $325,756,637

The Perfect Storm is a 2000 sea-faring action film adapted from the book of the same title by Sebastian Junger. The film was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and features George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, William Fichtner, John C. Reilly, Allen Payne, John Hawkes, Diane Lane, Michael Ironside, Karen Allen and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.[1] The film was released on June 30, 2000 by Warner Bros. Pictures.



In September 1991, the swordfishing boat Andrea Gail returns to port in Gloucester, Massachusetts with a poor catch. Desperate for money, Billy Tyne (the captain) convinces the Andrea Gail's crew to join him for one more late season fishing expedition. They head out past their usual fishing grounds, leaving a developing thunderstorm behind them. Initially unsuccessful, they head to the Flemish Cap, where their luck improves. At the height of their fishing the ice machine breaks; the only way to preserve their catch is to hurry back to shore. After debating whether to sail through the building storm or to wait it out, the crew decide to risk the storm. However, between the Andrea Gail and Gloucester is a confluence of two powerful weather fronts and a hurricane, which the crew of Andrea Gail underestimate. After repeated warnings from other ships, the Andrea Gail loses her antenna, forcing a fellow ship to call in a Mayday. An Air National Guard rescue helicopter responds, but after failing to perform a midair refuel, the helicopter crew ditch the aircraft before it crashes, and all but one of the crew members are rescued by a Coast Guard vessel, the Tamaroa. The Andrea Gail endures various problems: with 40-foot/12-meter waves crashing on to the deck, a broken stabilizer ramming the side of the ship, and two men thrown overboard. The crew decide to turn around to avoid further damage by the storm. After doing so, the vessel encounters an enormous rogue wave (possibly 100 - 130 feet/30 - 40 meters high). Captain Tyne tells Bobby to apply full power to ride over the wave, it seems that they may make it over, but the wave starts to plunder and the boat flips over. Only Bobby manages to get out of the boat; however, he has no chance of surviving. He is last seen all alone among the waves. Back at shore a memorial ceremony is carried out while friends and family worry and wait for a ship that never comes home.[1]


George Clooney as William "Billy" Tyne, captain of the Andrea Gail, a sword-fishing boat. Billy is a divorced father of two daughters who is determined to make one last fishing trip before the end of the season to make up for a poor catch.
Mark Wahlberg as Robert "Bobby" Shatford, the youngest and most inexperienced of the crew of the Andrea Gail. Bobby is the son of Ethel Shatford, the owner of the Crow's Nest, and boyfriend to Chris Cotter. He reluctantly signs on for one last trip.
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Linda Greenlaw, the female captain of the Hannah Boden, Linda has romantic ties to Billy Tyne. She is concerned about Billy and his crew going out in what she considers dangerous weather. Linda is the last to speak to the Andrea Gail.
Diane Lane as Christina 'Chris' Cotter, girlfriend of Bobby Shatford. She spends her time during the last fishing trip decorating an apartment she has rented as a surprise for Bobby. She did not want Bobby to go because of a bad feeling she had about the trip.
John C. Reilly as Dale "Murph" Murphy, crewmember on the Andrea Gail. Murph is a veteran fisherman who is divorced with a son with whom he's very involved. Murph has an on-going antagonism with Sully.
William Fichtner as David "Sully" Sullivan, crewmember on the Andrea Gail. He signed on for the trip at the last minute when another fisherman declined the position. Sully and Murph do not get along.
Michael Ironside as Bob Brown, owner of the Andrea Gail.
Bob Gunton as Alexander McAnally III, owner of the Mistral, a yacht caught in the storm.
Karen Allen as Melissa Brown, crewmember on the Mistral.
Allen Payne as Alfred Pierre, one of the crew of the Andrea Gail.
John Hawkes as Michael "Bugsy" Moran, a member of the Andrea Gail crew.

Box office and critical reception

The film opened at #1 at the North American box office raking in $41.3 million USD in its opening weekend. The film grossed $182,618,434 in the United States and another $143,138,203 internationally for a total gross of $325,756,637. It holds a 47% approval rating on critic site Rotten Tomatoes.


The film is based on Junger's non-fiction book of the same title. The book itself has sometimes been accused of factual errors (e.g., misspelling of a person's name), one-sided research (e.g., initially not interviewing the skipper and owner of the yacht Satori) and bias against the fishing industry (e.g., role of drinking among fishermen); the author and, according to him, also fishermen have defended the book. The film leaves out many of the book's technical details, including its contested parts about the stability (resistance to capsizing) of the Andrea Gail.

The film only claims to be "based on a true story." It differs in many ways from the book, starting with the fictionalization of the material into a "story." The film also continues to narrate the story of the Andrea Gail after its last radio contact. As the boat and the bodies of the crew were never found, these final events (e.g., the decision to change course, the 360° knockover, etc.) are obviously entirely fiction.

Most names were not changed for the fictional film. The families of certain crew members of the Andrea Gail sued the producers in federal district court in Florida, claiming that their names were used without their permission, and that facts were changed.[2] The district court held that 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. On April 21, 2005, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the district court's interpretation of Florida law and remanded the case to the 11th Circuit, which then affirmed the district court's original decision to dismiss the case.

An exception is the portrayal of the yacht whose crew was taken off-board by the US Coast Guard. Its story is clearly based on the events surrounding the Satori, which are also dealt with in Junger's book; Junger's version of the event, however, is contested by the owner and skipper of the yacht, who was initially not interviewed for Junger's book. The film highly fictionalizes the story of the Satori; it renames the boat into Mistral, however, and leaves its crew anonymous, thereby making no explicit claims about the "true" identity of the boat.

According to the son of the owner, the Satori never made a 360° turn (which would likely result in severe damage to the boat's rigging), although it had two knockdowns, during which it lay on its side for about 30 seconds (capsizing). The Satori owner indeed wanted to continue to sail whereas his two female crewmembers panicked and sent off a Mayday call over radio. Still according to the son of the owner, the Coast Guard ordered everyone off-board--including the unwilling owner--and first tried to take them on board via an inflatable boat. Only after the inflatable boat was damaged when trying to approach the Satori did the Coast Guard send a helicopter. The helicopter did not try to lower rescue gear onto the yacht (as shown in the film, where it gets entangled with the mast), but rather asks the Satori crew to jump overboard to meet a pararescuer in the water; after the Satori crew was on board the helicopter, the crew of the damaged inflatable boat were rescued. Different from the film's narrative, this helicopter was not identical to the helicopter, which later had an emergency landing on water and lost a crew member. Still according to the son of the owner, the Satori was later found unharmed at a Maryland beach, having sustained no damage after the crew left her.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b Berardinelli, James, The Perfect Storm Film Review –, 2000 (Retrieved on 2007-01-25)
  2. ^ Unger, Howard M. (2002-05-31). "Judge sinks 'Perfect Storm' lawsuit". Sarasota Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  3. ^ copy of the materials (copied together onto one page) from the son's no longer existing website on Westsail (retrieved January 1, 2010)
    copies of the original pages hosted by the internet archive (retrieved January 1, 2010)

External links



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