When real-life stories are turned into books, and those books are turned into movies, there's always a chance that the original tale could get butchered in the process.
Michael J. Tougias, who spent years researching and writing the definitive account of the Coast Guard's greatest small-boat rescue, says that the movie got it right.
"Oh, I loved it," he said of the film version of "The Finest Hours," released by Disney on Jan. 29. "You know what? I've seen it three times now and I liked it more each time."
It was the winter of 1952 and a hurricane-force storm was barreling toward New England. Off the south coast of Cape Cod, the oil tanker SS Fort Mercer split in two, so the majority of the region's cutters and air assets went to help.
Hours later, the SS Pendleton also split in two, off the cape's southeast point. All the Coast Guard could spare in the raging 20-foot seas was one 36-foot life boat and four junior enlisted men.
The film stars Chris Pine as Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Bernard Webber and Casey Affleck as Pendleton crew member Ray Sybert, with Eric Bana as Station Chatham, Massachusetts' commanding officer Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Cluff and Holliday Grainger as Webber's fiancée, Miriam Pentinen.