22 user 4 critic

A Glimpse of Hell (2001)

PG-13 | | Drama | TV Movie 18 March 2001
A Navy officer tries to set the record straight after the Navy blames a 1989 explosion aboard the USS Iowa on a homosexual affair between two sailors.



On Disc

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1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. (j.g.) Dan Meyer
PO Dale Mortensen
Admiral Langlett
Dashiell Eaves ...
MCPO Ziegler (as Alan C. Peterson)
Bill MacDonald
Ken James ...
James Bulliard ...


USNavy Ensign (Lieutenant junior grade) Dan Meyer feared a non-flying officer's career prospects -like his- aren't brilliant but tries to excel at his assignment, in charge of gun turret 1 on the battle ship USS Iowa, which sees action in every major war. When the crew tell him the budget never goes to necessary repairs and improvements on the 50 years old ship, he takes his Navy-retired father Donald's advice to file a detailed report above the well-connected captain Fred Moosally's head. When master chief Skelley, the ship's liaison with HQ, asks Meyer to execute artillery experiments which can impress the brass he eagerly accepts against objections from the crewmen, especially Petty Officer Dale Mortensen; the first test successfully sets a record. Alas the second, in turret 2, goes terribly wrong: an explosion destroys the turret and kills 47 sailors, which seals the fate of 16 inch-guns till further notice. Meyer protests in vain when evidence is willfully destroyed 'to spare the... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Tragedy. Cover-up. Truth.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing images of explosion aftermath, thematic elements and some language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

18 March 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La versión del oficial  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The battle ship in the movie is supposed to be the USS Iowa. The call number on the Iowa is BB-61. Throughout the movie, when the camera is panning the ship out at sea, it clearly shows "63" on the bow of the ship. That number is assigned for the USS Missouri (Mighty Mo). The crew members are all wearing hats that show BB-61 on them, so it is obvious that the ship used to portray the Iowa is not the real Iowa. See more »

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User Reviews

Superior made for TV movie
20 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was on shore duty at the time of the Iowa disaster and I remember thinking something stank about blaming the turret 2 explosion on an allegedly suicidal, allegedly homosexual gunner's mate. The true cause fell on the shoulders of the Reagan Administration's lust for antiquated platforms (the battleship went out with Burma Shave signs back in the early 50's) while caught up in their irrational enthusiasm for a 600-ship Navy (which never materialized, incidentally). The then recently-elected George Bush would wisely decommission these dinosaurs. The true blame for the turret 2 disaster was old unstable and overloaded powder. The shame the Navy has to live with is the cover-up that followed. A Glimpse of Hell is a superior TV movie that probably deserved to be produced as a major motion picture. The performances are very good (James Caan and Daniel Roebuck are excellent)--- my only minor gripe is the interior shots of the 50-year old Iowa look phony (Roebuck has a stateroom as an E-6? I doubt it guys... and the boat would've been home to cockroaches the size of Buicks) and the ubiquitous sounds of the 1MC I recall are missing. The actual explosion and special effects are well done. Now if only I could only get the A&E Channel to cut back on commercials every 92 seconds...

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