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The true story of Shackleton's 1914 Endurance expedition to the South Pole, and his epic struggle to lead his twenty-eight man crew to safety after his ship was crushed in the pack ice.




Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
Kenneth Branagh ...  Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton 2 episodes, 2002
John Grillo ...  Franks 2 episodes, 2002
Paul Humpoletz Paul Humpoletz ...  Man in Audience 2 episodes, 2002
Phoebe Nicholls ...  Emily Shackleton 2 episodes, 2002
Eve Best ...  Eleanor Shackleton 2 episodes, 2002
Mark Tandy ...  Frank Shackleton 2 episodes, 2002
Cicely Delaney Cicely Delaney ...  Cecily Shackleton 2 episodes, 2002
Christian Young Christian Young ...  Raymond Shackleton 2 episodes, 2002
Embeth Davidtz ...  Rosalind Chetwynd 2 episodes, 2002
Gino Melvazzi ...  Head Waiter 2 episodes, 2002
Danny Webb ...  Perris 2 episodes, 2002
Lorcan Cranitch ...  Frank Wild 2 episodes, 2002
Michael Culkin ...  Jack Morgan 2 episodes, 2002
Mark McGann ...  Tom Crean 2 episodes, 2002
Abby Ford Abby Ford ...  Marcie 2 episodes, 2002
Ron Donachie ...  Keltie 2 episodes, 2002
Corin Redgrave ...  Lord Curzon 2 episodes, 2002
Robert Swann Robert Swann ...  Freshfield 2 episodes, 2002
Chris Larkin ...  George Marston 2 episodes, 2002
Elizabeth Spriggs ...  Janet Stancombe Wills 2 episodes, 2002
Peter Cartwright ...  Judge 2 episodes, 2002
Ben Silverstone ...  Very Young Applicant 2 episodes, 2002
Shaun Dooley ...  Hubert Hudson 2 episodes, 2002
Nicholas Rowe ...  Thomas Orde-Lees 2 episodes, 2002
Richard Cant ...  First Lieutenant 2 episodes, 2002
Mathew Ashwood Mathew Ashwood ...  Second Lieutenant 2 episodes, 2002
Mark Williams ...  Dudley Docker 2 episodes, 2002
Roger May Roger May ...  Cavalry Officer 2 episodes, 2002
Hal Cruttenden Hal Cruttenden ...  Bearded Applicant 2 episodes, 2002
Kevin McNally ...  Frank Worsley 2 episodes, 2002
Joseph Long ...  Oddenino 2 episodes, 2002
Matt Wilkinson Matt Wilkinson ...  Assistant Director 2 episodes, 2002
Robert Hardy ...  Sir James Caird 2 episodes, 2002
Bruce Byron Bruce Byron ...  Harbour 2 episodes, 2002
Pip Torrens ...  James McIlroy 2 episodes, 2002
Nicholas Hewetson Nicholas Hewetson ...  Alexander Macklin 2 episodes, 2002
Ingar Helge Gimle ...  Whaleman 2 episodes, 2002
Jamie Lee Jamie Lee ...  James Wordie 2 episodes, 2002
Christian Steel Christian Steel ...  Leonard Hussey 2 episodes, 2002
Ken Drury ...  Henry McNeish 2 episodes, 2002
Craig Cheetham ...  Walter How 2 episodes, 2002
Ian Mercer ...  Ernest Holness 2 episodes, 2002
Hugh Simon Hugh Simon ...  Equerry 2 episodes, 2002
Rupert Frazer Rupert Frazer ...  King George V 2 episodes, 2002
Matt Day ...  Frank Hurley 2 episodes, 2002
Paul Bigley Paul Bigley ...  Charles Green 2 episodes, 2002
Nigel Whitmey Nigel Whitmey ...  William Bakewell 2 episodes, 2002
Celyn Jones ...  Perce Blackborow 2 episodes, 2002
Sven Nordin Sven Nordin ...  Jacobsen 2 episodes, 2002
Rolf Arly Lund Rolf Arly Lund ...  Capt. Thoralf 2 episodes, 2002
Angus Barnett ...  Wounded Soldier 2 episodes, 2002
Hugh Ross ...  Marsh 2 episodes, 2002
Claudia Coulter ...  Italian Maid 2 episodes, 2002


The true story of Shackleton's 1914 Endurance expedition to the South Pole, and his epic struggle to lead his twenty-eight man crew to safety after his ship was crushed in the pack ice.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


On the brink of death - courage was his only weapon.


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Parents Guide:

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UK | Australia


English | Norwegian | German

Release Date:

7 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shackleton See more »

Filming Locations:

Greenland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The scene in which Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton threatens to throw his gloves overboard if the crewman doesn't take them is based on a true incident. In actuality, it was Frank Hurley who wouldn't take them. See more »


When the men start hauling their boats over the ice, we see the name "J. Caird" clearly painted on one of them. A few minutes later Shackleton announces he has decided to name the boats and unveils the painted names for the first time. See more »


[on repairing ice damage to the Endurance]
Henry McNish: I can make it waterproof, but no' iceproof.
See more »


Featured in Shackleton: Breaking the Ice (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

5 April 2002 | by laishersSee all my reviews

NOTE: Contains brief plot summary!

If this was a fictional story you watched in the cinema, you would leave thinking how unrealistic it was. You would know, after all, that keeping twenty-eight men alive in the wastelands of Antarctica, stranded and starving, is an impossible task, particularly set at the beginning of the twentieth century with the limited technology available. However, this is fact. This story did happen. And this is one of the most accurate films depicting the story of the "Endurance" expedition that you could hope for.

The story of Shackleton has passed on into legend. His attempt to cross the Antarctic continent on foot ended in disaster; his ship, the Endurance, crushed by the ice fields, leaving its crew on the ice sheet. Determined to survive, and displaying all the valour and courage he had demonstrated in his previous expedition (the "Nimrod", in which he turned back less than 100 miles from the pole in order to save the lives of his men), he began an incredible journey to the uninhabited Elephant Island, before having to contemplate a trip to South Georgia: a trip of 800 miles in a lifeboat...

This wonderful two-part adventure is accurate to almost every detail. A lot of research went into this film, consulting books, articles, experts, and even the diaries of the men themselves. And it doesn't make the mistake of solely confining itself to the story of Shackleton's heroism; indeed, the first two hours concentrates largely on the effort Sir Ernest put into forming the expedition, and the many obstacles that stood in his path - financially and emotionally.

Directed by award-winning Charles Sturridge, the casting is superb, particularly in the case of the protagonist, who - it must be said - looks a little like Shackleton himself. Well done, Celestia Fox! From Kenneth Branagh, a resourceful and irresistible Ernest Shackleton, down to to ex-Coronation Street's Ian Mercer as the simple Holdness, every character is brought into the 21st century with as much life as they had on the frozen shores of Elephant Island, thanks partly to a bombastic score of Adrian Johnston's invention.

There are only a couple of criticisms that one could make; for example, there continue to be references back to England, but there is no reunion at the end of the film between Shackleton and Emily, which could have been a way of saying "I'm back". I feel, however, that this continues to give "Shackleton" more character, as Sir Ernest only felt comfortable when exploring; never when at home with his family.

Another slight flaw is that there is next to no mention of the fate of the Aurora expedition, the crew assigned the task of aiding Shackleton to the other side of the continent (had the expedition gone to plan, of course!) However, this does not really relate to Shackleton himself, and indeed Sir Ernest seemed to forget about them until his men were brought over from Elephant Island.

Really, there is nothing major wrong with this film. It fully deserves 10 out of 10, and despite the DVD having no extras whatsoever, it is still worth the £15 for the pure entertainment you are given for the most enjoyable four hours of the small screen.

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