Ice Station Zebra (1968) Movie Review

Director: John Sturges

Writer: Douglas Heyes, Harry Julian Fink (Screenplay) Alistair MacLean (Novel)

Starring: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown, Tony Bill, Lloyd Nolan

Plot: USN nuclear sub USS Tigerfish must rush to the North Pole to rescue the staff of Drift Ice Station Zebra weather station.


Tagline – “Ice Station Zebra”… Remember The Name — Your Life May Depend On It!

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sizzling Tension Filler

Story: Ice Station Zebra starts after a British research facility in the North Pole gets into a position where it requires help, with the snow stopping any flights, Cdr James Ferraday (Hudson) is assigned to captain his nuclear submarine, with specialist David Jones (McGoohan) who is on his own mission to the research facility.

On route to the station the crew pick up Boris Vaslov (Borgnine) and Captain Leslie Anders (Brown), learning that somebody might be trying to sabotage the mission, once they hit the North Pole, the four are joined by a crew to finish the mission on foot across the cold arctic conditions.

Thoughts on Ice Station Zebra

Characters – Cdr James Ferraday is the man assigned with taking the submarine on the rescue attempt, he knows what he needs to, only he is joined with somebody who knows more, he must figure out how to get more information, while become suspicious of everything that he learns along the way, including the extra guests who join the mission, he wants to do the right thing and tries to make sure nobody gets in his way. Boris Vaslov is a Russian that joins the mission, he is friendly to everybody while looking to find the answers. David Jones is the man that joins the mission from the start, he knows what they are looking for and doesn’t want to give away everything unless it will get to a stage of life and death. Captain Leslie Anders joins the mission and is stricter in how he runs the soldiers onboard the submarine.

PerformancesRock Hudson in the leading role is strong, while we do have a well known cast in Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan and Jim Brown that all do a great job with their characters through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a crew of a submarine that must travel to the North Pole to rescue a group of survivors that are in need of rescue, while also waiting to see why other nations are so interested in getting there first. This starts of looking like it is going to be a standard rescue mission, only to turn into a story that revolves around the different nations that are all interested in what could be at the base, while it could have something much bigger for the world’s control over everything. We are kept guessing on who to trust through the film, which is interesting and does keep us on edge, even if most of the moments focus on the almost moments.

AdventureThe film does make us see this as an adventure with the characters needing to go on a journey to rescue people in need, even if not everybody is on the same page.

SettingsThe film is set in two primary locations, first the submarine, which is contained, then the arctic with the station which might be open, but is isolated.


Scene of the Movie – Showdown on the ice.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Doesn’t give us enough answers.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting thriller that feels like it is just ready to burst, only for it to end up fizzling out without getting to the top level we would look to expect it to.

Overall: Fizzling Thriller.

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