In 1943, the United States tests an anti-radar system to make US Navy ships invisible to the enemy.
Dr James Longstreet uses his experiment on the destroyer escort USS Eldridge and the ship disappears from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Virginia.
This cinematic retelling of the urban legend takes the original rumoured incident – a favourite of conspiracy theorists who cite the lack of evidence as proof of a cover-up – and fictionalises it to add a time-travel element.
Sailors David Herdeg (Michael Pare) and Jim Parker (Bobby Di Cicco) jump ship in the middle of the experiment and find themselves transported forward to Nevada, in the year 1984.
There they meet Allison Hayes (Nancy Allen) and try unsuccessfully to contact their base.
Jim’s physical condition deteriorates to the point where he ceases to exist and just disappears in a hospital.
Allison helps David to visit Jimmy’s wife Pamela (Louise Latham), but Jim – who, it is revealed was somehow able to return to 1943 – refuses to see him.
David eventually stays in the year 1984 and gradually falls in love with Allison.
The US Navy did not support the making of the film, as it did not wish to be associated with the allegedly “true” events surrounding the events of the Philadelphia Experiment. The USS Eldridge in the movie was actually the USS Laffey.
Dr James Longstreet
Bobby Di Cicco
Adjutant / Andrews
Mary Lois Grantham