1 9 8 2 (USA)
2 x 100 minute episodes
This gripping mini-series was a major event when it screened. It told the hypothetical tale of a Russian military unit moving into Alaska and sparking off World War III between the United States and the Soviets.
It is December 1987. 40 Soviet paratrooper’s equipped with artillery and atomic weapons land in a remote area of Alaska, under cover of a fierce snowstorm. The attackers plan to destroy 50km of the Alaskan pipeline, thereby doubling the United States’ dependency on foreign oil and weakening an American grain embargo that has caused starving Russians to riot in the streets of Moscow following repeated domestic crop failures.
The Russians are discovered, but the bad weather prevents more than a handful of American National Guardsmen, led by Colonel Jake Caffey (David (Starsky and Hutch) Soul), from blocking the Soviet attack by taking up positions in a valve station along the pipeline.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States (Rock Hudson) begins negotiations with the Soviet Secretary (Brian Keith) at a secret meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland. Both men are anxious to preserve peace and know that any armed conflict between the two superpowers could escalate quickly to World War III and the destruction of the planet.
But both men stand tough. The Secretary refuses to recall his soldiers until the President agrees to lift the food embargo. The President, meanwhile, refuses to continue negotiations until the Soviet Premier withdraws his troops from US soil.
At the Alaskan valve station, the American National Guard unit begins hand-to-hand combat with the Russian commandos in a small, personal war of attrition that will decide the fate of the world. If the Soviets take the station, the American Government will feel compelled to escalate the conflict into a full-scale war. If the Americans defend the station. world peace can be maintained.
The battle drags on and in the Crisis Room under the White House, the President and his generals prepare for the worst: they order a nuclear red alert.
In the War Room at the Kremlin, the Soviets also prepare for nuclear war.
Director Boris Sagal was killed early in the production, in a helicopter accident near Mt Hood in Oregon. All the Alaskan snow scenes were shot on a stage at Zoetrope Studios.
Colonel Jake Caffey
Major Kate Breckenridge
Cathy Lee Crosby
Colonel Alexander Vorashin
General Aleksey Rudenski
President Thomas McKenna
Admiral Vernon Blanchard
Major George Devery
Brigadier General Gard Roberts
Sgt. Johnny Parson
Marcus K. Mukai
Major Nicolai Saamaretz
Dr Jules Farber