K-19: The Widowmaker

K-19: The Widowmaker is a 2002 historical submarine film directed and produced by Kathryn Bigelow, and produced by Edward S. Feldman, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Christine Whitaker and Matthias Deyle with screenplay by Christopher Kyle. An international production of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, the film takes place in 1961 and focuses its story on the Soviet Hotel-class submarine K-19.


In 1961, the Soviet Union launches its first ballistic missile nuclear submarine, the ''K-19'', commanded by Captain Alexei Vostrikov, with executive officer Mikhail Polenin, the crew's original captain. Vostrikov is alleged to have been appointed through his wife's political connections, as well as Polenin's tendency to put crew morale and safety before Soviet pride. Discovering the reactor officer drunk and asleep on duty, Vostrikov fires him, receiving a replacement, Vadim Radtchenko, fresh from the academy. The launch is plagued by misfortune; the medical officer is killed by a truck and the inaugural bottle of champagne fails to break on the bow.