A new film depicting one of the most epic U.S. Coast Guard rescues in the history of the service is set to arrive in theaters this January.
“The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue” stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck and tells the tale of a save during 1952 when two tanker ships circa World War II are each split in two during a storm, leaving crew members stranded and with mere hours to live before the ships succumb to the sea.
The trailer for the new film was released last month, and is based on a book by Michael Tougias. The movie revolves around coxswain Bernard C. Webber and his crew Andrew J. Fitzgerald, Richard P. Livese and Ervin E. Mask—who would later receive the service’s highest decoration for heroism, the Gold Lifesaving Medal.
“This event was—and still is—the greatest and most daring sea rescue ever performed by the Coast Guard, and it happened right here off the New England coast,” Tougias said. “I felt this episode of heroism and tragedy needed to be told in its entirety because it’s an important piece overlooked history.”
A Washington Post article describes the historical narrative of the 503-foot SS Pendleton that night, beginning when the ship “burst apart with a series of explosive cracking noises in the early hours of the morning while traveling from New Orleans to Boston. The captain and seven men in the bow of the ship at the time were left without power, and wouldn’t make it out alive.”
The daring rescue found the ship overcoming a snowstorm, raging waves and an overcrowded rescue boat, and yet, the mission was a success, with only one man—George “Tiny” Myers—losing his life during the attempt, when he was crushed between the Coast Guard boat and the Pendleton after falling from the rope ladder.
“The Finest Hours” will release in theaters on Jan. 29, 2016.