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Azorian: The Raising of the K-129

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Public Broadcasting Service
  • Release Date: Feb. 8 2011
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • ASIN: B0047H7PYQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,393 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

In 1968 the Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 sank in the Central North Pacific. American intelligence located it within weeks of its demise. The CIA crafted a secret program to raise the submarine in 1974. Now after much secrecy, this story can be told, by the men who made it happen and with never-before-seen footage of the actual salvage attempt, and new evidence of the project’s successes and failures.

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Top Customer Reviews

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Having woked in Military intelligence and grown up on the frontline of the cold war, I have a great interest in some of the multi-million dollar achievements our Government's have made; yet could not speak about because of secrecy. Azorian, for the first time, actually gives us the this amazing story of the CIA's attempt to raise a sunken Russian submarine from a depth greater than the Titanic. The story has been written about several times, but this documentary actually interviews Engineers who designed and operated the machinery needed to achieve this amazing feat. For the first time, actual stock footage of the sub and its retrieval are shown. There has been a lot of conjecture made by historians regarding the success of project Azorian. Did they bring the nuclear missiles to the surface?, or were they lost part way through the recovery operation?. In Azorian we hear first hand accounts of this story, coupled with excellent graphics to fully explain the working of the capture vehicle, and how the sub was retreived from the seabed. This documentary does not give the complete story, nor can it, as full details are still not available. It ends however, with the Glomar Explorer and capture vehicle returning to San Francisco in 1974; and the CIA and it's associates vowing to return to finish the job under the title of Project Matador. No details exist of Matador - the follow up project to azorian. I know, for instance, that the deep submersible Trieste 2 was operating in the North Central pacific in 1978, at a depth of 16,500 feet - the general location and exact depth of Project Azorian. Yet all this is still highly classified and may or may not be released to the public. The documentary was excellent and I plan to buy this for my Father, as I know he will find it just as fascinating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa5ef72d0) out of 5 stars 639 reviews
88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5f73650) out of 5 stars It Would Be Unbelievable If It Weren't True Feb. 28 2011
By Terry Sunday - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
On February 25, 1968, Soviet submarine K-129, a diesel boat carrying three 755-nautical-mile-range ballistic missiles each armed with a 1-megaton thermonuclear warhead, sailed from its base on the Kamchatka Peninsula bound for its patrol station on a 60-day mission. The 324-foot, 3,610-ton submarine never made it. On March 11, the K-129 sank in the northern Pacific Ocean in 16,400 feet of water, about 1,600 nautical miles northwest of Hawai'i. All 98 men aboard perished. For months, Soviet Navy search teams looked for the wreckage, but never even came close to finding it. The U.S., on the other hand, had sophisticated undersea acoustical monitoring equipment that the Soviets lacked, and knew exactly where the K-129 went down. The CIA soon hatched an audacious plan that would give America an incalculable intelligence coup--a plan to raise the K-129 from the ocean floor.

The PBS DVD "Azorian: The Raising of the K-129" tells the full, almost unbelievable story of the boldest American clandestine operation of the Cold War (at least of those the public knows about). In the summer of 1974, the operation secretly attempted to salvage the forward 136 feet of the K-129 (which had broken off from the stern section). The U.S. stood to gain enormously valuable insights into Soviet naval equipment, capabilities and operational procedures. CIA intelligence analysts drooled at the thought of the information they expected the K-129 to yield--cryptographic hardware, code manuals, communications systems, torpedoes and one or more missiles with their thermonuclear warheads. The operation would be scandalously expensive, technically challenging, unprecedentedly complex, extremely risky, probably illegal and not at all certain to succeed. But if it did...

"Azorian: The Raising of the K-129" covers the operation in great detail, and a fascinating story it is. Project Azorian cost about as much as an Apollo mission to the moon, and involved equipment and hardware that to this day remain marvels of innovative marine engineering. With cost practically no object, the CIA, through a series of "front" companies including Lockheed, Hughes and Honeywell, built the huge salvage ship "Hughes Glomar Explorer," a remote-controlled "claw" to pick up the K-129 and an enormous barge to conceal parts of the operation from observation. Using interviews with surviving participants, including the ex-Soviet Navy officer who dispatched the K-129, archival photos and motion picture footage and, especially, stunning computer graphics, "Azorian" reveals the whole story in exceptional detail. CGI animations of the design and operation of the hardware are extremely well-done, and make all parts of the operation very clear to the viewer.

This DVD is a must-have for anyone interested in Cold War history, ocean engineering, Howard Hughes, intelligence operations or many other subjects. Even if you have the latest book on the subject, "Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of K-129," by Norman Polmar and Michael White, you should still buy this DVD. This stunning visual record of the project complements the book perfectly. Still photos and text descriptions simply can't equal the impact of seeing the project unfold in motion picture form. I recommend "Azorian: The Raising of the K-129" most highly.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa60638e8) out of 5 stars Outstanding documentary May 5 2011
By Dwayne A. Day - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding documentary. Not only does it include many informative interviews with people involved in the program, it also features a lot of great footage and photographs from the event. This includes a lot of footage of the actual recovery effort and photographs of the Russian submarine. And it is all tied together with very well-done computer graphics. The story is riveting and engaging and relatively easy to understand. At a time when so many documentaries about technology and historical events are lazy efforts, often filled with inaccuracies, this one is an impressive piece of work.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa60acab0) out of 5 stars The ULTIMATE Cold War Spy Mission... March 13 2011
By Lee - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A excellent documentary detailing one of the greatest technological wonders of the 20TH Century, The "Glomar Explorer" and her mission to raise a sunken Soviet submarine, without the world even knowing. Considering what modern marvels that we take for granted today such as GPS, iPods, and laptop computers, this was attempted when people were still listening to 8 track tapes! Very highly recommended!!! I would also recommend reading the book "Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of the K-129" by Norman Polmar & Michael White for an even more detailed look at the events that happened.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5e1fdbc) out of 5 stars Azorian: The Raising of the K129 (DVD) July 1 2011
By Vahe H. Yessayian - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD is excellent! The authors had a lot more, and higher quality, material than I've read in other books or seen in other videos. A lot of erroneous information was also corrected. The one that really caught my attention was that the Jennifer Project was the wrong name---It was called Project Azorian! The media pulled up the name, "Jennifer", which referred to a small part of Azorian & just ran with it.

There were a number of photos I had never seen before. I was impressed in the way they explained and showed the lifting of the K-129 and the dropping of a number of parts & and sections. I also liked the views of how all the arms worked. The Moon Pool, the "Barge" the grabbers were all presented very clearly.

Imagine 4,000 people involved without any secrets about the true mission of Azorian getting out until the K-129 parts were safely delivered to the USA. Think of the special machinery they had to invent and and fabricate for this task! Think of the valuable info we captured from what we were were able to salvage off the K-129! I'd like to see an actual movie of this adventure. I can't think of a sea story that could beat it.

This whole adventure is something this country should be proud of! Yet when word of this got out, many people throughout the world and many in this country condemned what we had done. The Glomar Explorer became synonymous with dirty deeds.

If you're interested in high adventure videos of true events, I think you'll love this DVD.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5e5a87c) out of 5 stars Nearly beyond belief Aug. 10 2011
By Cap'n Doc - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nowadays, while the younger generation seems self-absorbed in their facebook walls and social networking instead of actually making something, the superb mechanical engineering and project management that was involved in "Azorian" is nearly beyond belief.

This documentary merely scratches the surface of what was involved in raising a sunken submarine from the deep ocean, and doing it in secrecy. The best line in the story is, "...we didn't know you couldn't do that!" So, they went ahead and did it. With so much naysaying these days, and complaining that something is too hard to undertake, I recommend this DVD as a case study for Engineering, Project Management and even espionage students. For history buffs the DVD will also be a jaw dropper.

Azorian is a thoroughly mesmerizing story from the Cold War era. You will need to watch the story through a couple of times because Sherm Wetmore and Vance Boulding almost make it sound like it was easy.

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