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The Finest Hours: A Tale of Heroism and Bravery

The Finest Hours: A Heart-Stopping Tale of Courage and Survival

Based on a true story, The Finest Hours is a gripping drama that tells the story of a daring rescue in the midst of one of the worst storms in New England history. The movie follows the crew of the Coast Guard ship, CG36500, as they brave treacherous waters to rescue the crew of the SS Pendleton, a tanker that has broken in two off the coast of Cape Cod.The movie opens with the crew of the SS Pendleton facing a raging storm that the weather bureau had failed to predict.

As the ship breaks in two, its crew members are left stranded, with little hope of survival. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard Station at Chatham, Massachusetts, receives a distress signal from the sinking tanker and mounts a rescue mission that will become one of the most daring and heroic events in maritime history.

The Rescue

Led by Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a quiet and unassuming man, the crew of CG36500 sets off into the stormy waters, with little more than a compass, a map, and their own courage. They face towering waves, gale-force winds, and a blizzard that makes visibility almost impossible.

Yet, driven by their sense of duty and compassion, they push on, knowing that the lives of thirty-three men depend on them. Their journey is one of intense drama and heart-stopping tension, as they battle against the elements and their own fears.

The crew members on the Pendleton, too, face their own set of challenges, as they struggle to stay alive in the freezing waters, trapped in a tiny lifeboat that threatens to capsize at any moment.


The Finest Hours is more than just a tale of heroism. It is a story of sacrifice, perseverance, and the indomitable spirit of the human heart.

The movie explores the themes of duty, honor, and loyalty, as the crew members of the Coast Guard and the Pendleton risk everything to save the lives of others. It is also a testament to the power of community, as the people of Chatham, who are no strangers to storms themselves, come together to support the rescue effort.


The cast of The Finest Hours includes some of Hollywood’s finest actors, including Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster. They deliver powerful performances that bring to life the bravery and determination of the real-life heroes they portray.


The Finest Hours is a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, as you watch the drama unfold, and the fate of the crew members of the Pendleton and CG36500 hangs in the balance. It is a movie that will remind you of the human capacity for courage and sacrifice, and leave you with a renewed sense of respect for those who serve others.

The Finest Hours: A Heart-Stopping Tale of Courage and Survival

Set in the winter of 1952, The Finest Hours is a movie that tells the awe-inspiring true-story of one of the most daring maritime rescues in history. Based on the book of the same name by Casey Sherman and Michael J.

Tougias, the movie follows the death-defying journey of the crew of the Coast Guard ship, CG36500, as they set out to rescue the crew of the SS Pendleton, a tanker that had broken in two during a powerful nor’easter off the coast of Cape Cod.


The story takes place on February 18, 1952, when a severe nor’easter hits New England, causing havoc in the region. The storm leaves the SS Pendleton, a T2 tanker bound for Boston, unberthed and badly damaged, while the crew of the ship struggles to keep it afloat.

The tanker eventually splits in two, leaving the crew of 33 stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a severely damaged stern. Meanwhile, back onshore, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a quiet, by-the-book Coast Guard coxswain, enjoys a quiet evening with his girlfriend, Miriam (Holliday Grainger).

After their date, Bernie receives a call from his commanding officer, Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana), who informs him of the disaster and orders him to assemble a team to launch a rescue mission in the treacherous waters of Chatham Harbor. Bernie handpicks his team, consisting of Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), and Ervin Maske (John Magaro).

They set out on a 36-foot lifeboat, CG36500, with inadequate equipment, limited navigation aids, and no lights, to save the surviving crew members of the tanker, who are stranded in a small lifeboat half a mile from the wreck. The journey to reach the Pendleton is a dangerous one, as they navigate through a massive nor’easter, battling waves up to 60 feet high, blinding snow, and 70mph gusts of wind that threaten to capsize their boat at any moment.

Still, the young Coast Guard members proceed with the rescue, knowing that the lives of thirty-three men are at stake. As they approach the Pendleton, the crew of the CG36500 faces challenges where they must figure out how to board the disabled vessel and, in the process, put their lives in danger.

At one point, Richard Livesey endangers himself by climbing a makeshift ladder on the side of the ship to attach a line to the lifeboat that will be used to carry the Pendleton’s crew back to shore. Despite the risk, the Coast Guard members successfully rescue the Pendleton crew members, even though they face seemingly insurmountable odds.


The Finest Hours is a well-crafted film filled with suspense, triumph, and a message about the human spirit. The movie’s director, Craig Gillespie, and screenwriters Eric Johnson, Casey Sherman, and Paul Tamasy successfully created an immersive experience that moves beyond the mere retelling of events.

The film uses modern special effects technology to replicate the historic storm and the rescue scene in stunning detail, with compelling performances from the cast. The movie reminds viewers of the immense courage and sacrifice displayed by the brave men of the US Coast Guard and the crew members of the Pendleton.

It is an inspiring story of ordinary individuals who overcame impossible odds to overcome adversity and save lives. Their bravery, determination, and selflessness, in the face of danger, has become part of American folklore and serves as an inspiration today, nearly seventy years after the event.

The Finest Hours is a triumph of the human spirit and a reassurance of the courage, honor, and compassion that exist in all of us. The Finest Hours: A Heart-Stopping Tale of Courage and Survival

The production of The Finest Hours was a massive undertaking in which the filmmakers aimed to recreate the historic events of the rescue as accurately as possible.

Director Craig Gillespie went to great lengths to ensure that the film was authentic and true to the story, while also captivating audiences with stunning visuals and nail-biting action sequences.


One of the most critical aspects of the production process was the casting of the actors who would portray the real-life heroes of the rescue mission. Chris Pine plays the role of Bernie Webber, the mild-mannered Coast Guard coxswain who leads the rescue effort.

Casey Affleck plays Ray Sybert, a chief engineer on the SS Pendleton, who assumes command after the ship is split in two. Other notable cast members include Ben Foster, who plays Richard Livesey, a member of the Coast Guard crew, and Holliday Grainger, who plays Miriam, Bernie’s girlfriend.

Gillespie chose his cast members carefully, looking for actors who could embody the characters’ personalities while bringing emotional depth to their portrayals.

Sets and Locations

The sets used in The Finest Hours required meticulous attention to detail, as the filmmakers aimed to recreate the time period accurately. The crew went beyond aesthetics, making sure that the sets were functional and could withstand the physical demands of the storm sequences.

The interior of the CG36500 featured movable props and a flexible layout to accommodate the needs of the camera crew. The film’s on-location production in Massachusetts, where much of the story took place, presented the biggest challenge.

To simulate the enormous storm at sea, the filmmakers used tanks, which allowed them to shoot scenes in a controlled environment. The filmmakers also incorporated practical effects, such as water cannons that simulated breaking waves and wind machines to create the feeling of an intense storm.

Special Effects

The Finest Hours rely heavily on visual effects to create the illusion of a massive storm and to make the rescue sequences as realistic as possible. The film’s visual effects team worked with the filmmakers to create realistic simulations of the massive waves that the Coast Guard crew had to contend with on the night of the rescue.

The visual effects team used a combination of computer-generated imagery (CGI), practical effects, and miniatures to recreate the storm and other elements of the movie. The Computer-generated ocean and storm simulations were added to the plates, making it seem like the actors were fighting massive waves and horrendous weather conditions.

Sound Design and Musical Score

Sound design and the musical score for The Finest Hours are also significant parts of the production process. The sound design team aimed to make the audience feel like they were in the middle of the action, intensely experiencing the storm’s roar and the crashing of the waves.

The score by Carter Burwell uses a combination of orchestral and electronic music to create a sense of danger and urgency.


Through the use of excellent location shooting, detailed sets, special effects, and stunning visuals, The Finest Hours successfully captures the intensity of the rescue. The production team, led by director Craig Gillespie, was meticulous in their attention to detail, ensuring the authenticity of the historical events that unfolded on-screen.

They took no shortcuts, only using the best in computer-generated visual effects, practical effects, audio, and set production. The result is a powerful and evocative movie that brings the viewer right into the heart of the storm and the heroic rescue effort that took place.

The Finest Hours: A Heart-Stopping Tale of Courage and Survival

The release of The Finest Hours on January 29th, 2016, marked the culmination of years of hard work by the cast and crew and represented an opportunity for the public to see the incredible true story of the Coast Guard’s daring rescue mission in New England in 1952.


Disney, which produced the film, launched a marketing campaign that sought to highlight the movie’s action-packed sequences and its historical significance. The campaign included television, print, and online advertisements, along with interviews with the cast and crew.

Disney also held screenings at various locations across the country and worked with veterans’ organizations and Coast Guard groups to promote the film. The studio made use of social media to spread word of the movie, creating buzz around the hashtag #FinestHours.

Box Office

The Finest Hours received positive reviews upon its release, with many critics praising the film’s technical achievements and its cast. However, the film did not perform as well as hoped at the box office, grossing only a fraction of its $80 million budget.

One possible reason was the film’s limited target audience and its proximity to other high-profile releases such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

International Release

The movie was released worldwide, although it fared better in some countries than in others. The Finest Hours was released in the UK in the same month as its US release but did not perform as well, leading to a much lower box office gross.

Nevertheless, it was lauded by audiences and critics alike as a thrilling and emotional film. DVD, Digital, and Blu-Ray Release

The Finest Hours had a strong afterlife on home media after its release on DVD, Digital, and Blu-Ray.

Disney promoted the home release with promotional advertising, coupled with the previous marketing strategies. The home release included bonus features such as behind-the-scenes documentaries, interviews with the cast and crew, and deleted scenes.

Free streaming services such as Amazon prime and Netflix also featured The Finest Hours, giving it a wider audience and earning it more recognition.


Despite its poor box office reception, The Finest Hours earned several nominations and wins for its technical achievements. The film was nominated for a Visual Effects Society award for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature, as well as the Hollywood Post Alliance’s Outstanding Visual Effects – Feature Film award.

The score, composed by Carter Burwell, was also nominated for a World Soundtrack Award in the Public Choice category.


Despite The Finest Hours’ underwhelming box office performance, the film has become a memorable entry in Disney’s film library and an excellent representation of the skill and bravery of the United States Coast Guard members. The movie’s realism and attention to detail combined with brilliant technical achievements showcased the crew’s heart-stopping rescue.

Additionally, The Finest Hours serves as a tribute to the heroic efforts of the United States Coast Guard and the survivors of the SS Pendleton. The Finest Hours: A Heart-Stopping Tale of Courage and Survival

The soundtrack for The Finest Hours is one of the film’s standout features.

Composed by Carter Burwell, the score perfectly captures the intensity and emotion of the film’s dramatic rescue scenes while also providing nuanced character themes and a sense of place.


Carter Burwell is an accomplished composer known for his work in many acclaimed films, such as Twilight, Fargo, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. For The Finest Hours, he blended orchestral and electronic music to create a score that accurately represents the action on screen.

Burwell explained that he approached the score as if it were a microcosm of the movie’s sound design, utilizing electronic elements, natural sounds, and orchestral instruments to create the film’s leading urgency. For example, the score’s exaggerated percussion becomes the sound of the storm, with strings and brass representing the characters’ harrowing journeys through the rough seas.


The Finest Hours’ musical themes play an essential role in underscoring the emotions of the characters and the magnitude of the maritime disaster, while also expressing the many facets of the film’s narrative. The different themes serve as musical signposts for the various personalities in the film.

The opening theme introduces a heroic motif in an extensive orchestra that represents the notion of the Coast Guard, which can be heard throughout the film; the audience hears it during character-building scenes to heavy rescue situations. In contrast, the Pendleton theme has a more somber tone to it, conveying the weight of the situation, emphasizing the daunting nature of what the crew had to face.

Meanwhile, Miriam’s theme offers a soft, romantic melody, reminding the audience of the love story element of the film, which plays out alongside the storm’s destructive forces.


The Finest Hours’ soundtrack is an essential component that enhances the film’s drama and impact. Burwell’s work on the score adds an emotional depth to the already visually stunning film, developing the different themes that complement the story of heroism, sacrifice, and human courage in battle plus maritime life.

During particularly tense scenes, such as the rescue mission’s climax, every note of the score adds to an already gripping story, elevating the audience’s adrenaline levels further. It transports viewers into the story and enhances the audience’s emotions, further drawing them into the film.


Carter Burwell’s score for The Finest Hours was generally praised for its great use of atmospheric sounds and adaptation of the orchestral style of music. The score was also nominated for multiple awards, including the World Soundtrack Award in the Public Choice category.

The score remains a compelling listen even outside the context of the film. It captures the narration of The Finest Hours’ emotion in a manner that transcends passing moments within the movie and is an impressive composition on its merit.

Consequently, the soundtrack has been available for audiences to enjoy as a stand-alone album. Its independent substance got Carter Burwell a separate fanbase outside a bunch of films where he wrote the music.


The soundtrack for The Finest Hours remains the film’s unsung hero, underscoring the action and emotion of this true-life disaster and heroism story. Carter Burwell blends electronic and orchestral music to craft a score that appropriately captures the depths of the dangerous weather conditions the sailors faced and the determination of the rescuers.

The film’s score takes listeners beyond the screen, as Burwell’s compositions are an enjoyable listen that complements the film’s heroic tale. In conclusion, The Finest Hours is an inspiring film that tells the story of an extraordinary rescue mission carried out by a courageous group of men in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, and beautifully captures the indomitable spirit of the human heart.

The film offers a glimpse into a pivotal event in American history and reminds us that human beings are capable of incredible acts of bravery, even in the midst of great tragedy. Here are some FAQs to help you gain a deeper understanding of the film:


Is The Finest Hours a true story? Yes, the film is based on a true story of one of the most daring search-and-rescue missions in Coast Guard history.

2. Who directed The Finest Hours?

Craig Gillespie directed the film, while Eric Johnson, Casey Sherman, and Paul Tamasy wrote the screenplay. 3.

When was The Finest Hours released? The film was released on January 29th, 2016, by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

4. Who starred in The Finest Hours?

The film starred Chris Pine as Bernie Webber, Casey Affleck as Ray Sybert, Ben Foster as Richard Livesey, Holliday Grainger as Miriam, among others. 5.

Did The Finest Hours receive any accolades? Yes, The Finest Hours was nominated for multiple awards, including a Visual Effects Society award and a Hollywood Post Alliance award, while the score

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