Ships for some obscure reason just dont seem to make very good movie stars, or should I say, very few directors ever do them justice. There are lots of really bad ship movies out there, ruined by continuity people who "just dont care..." I am hoping to add in some of them in here for those that wish to explore ships in the cinema, and revel in the lemons and stare in awe at the truly great ones.... Text links open up at the Internet Movie Database, image links open in a larger version of the cover


Bring on the stars..... (Non war movies)

The Poseidon Adventure (1975)
One of my personal favourites, based on the book by Paul Gallico, it starred the Queen Mary and had some excellent shots of her. Not a great movie, but at the time it was awesome.

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979)
A short of luck type of tug master goes back into the abandoned SS Poseidon to seek his fortune and then proceeds to bore us all to tears. Definitely not a worthy successor to Poseidon Adventure.

Poseidon (2006)
The least said about this ripoff of the original Poseidon Adventure the better! The only redeeming feature is that image of the "ship" being trashed by the wave. They didn't even use a real ship! A weak story line and poor characters make this movie a definite "not worth wasting money on"

Juggernaut (1974)
A very clever movie which was shot on board the Maxim Gorky. Great story line and an interesting mix of stars on board too. Wonderful shots of the ship at sea and in roughish weather.

Voyage of the Damned (1976)
A tragic story filmed on board the Irpina, some wonderful shipboard views, but the subject matter is very emotive so you do forget that it all takes place on board a ship.

Goliath Awaits (1981)
The passenger liner Goliath is sunk by a U Boat during World War 2 and sinks. A number of passengers and crew are trapped inside the hull which has remained airtight. Unable to escape, they build a new world for themselves inside the ship. Their world is discovered by divers many years later who see a womans face behind a porthole while diving on the wreck.... A surprisingly interesting made for televison movie, portions of the film were filmed on board the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

Sinking The Lusitania (2001)
Not really a movie, but a documentary about the loss of the Cunard liner Lusitania during World War 1.

Britannic (2000)
A spy is on board the hospital ship HMHS Britannic, sister ship to the ill fated Titanic. The spy is also out to have the ship sunk and there are those on board who must thwart the plan. This movie is a surprisingly good watch, just for the ship alone, forget about the love story. Quite a lot of work went into the ship and it is interesting to see this cgi version of the Britannic.

The French Line (1954)
Hi-jinx on board a French Line passenger liner when an heiress decides to take a trip to Paris, swopping identities along the way. I havent seen the film but apparently it was filmed on board the Liberte.

The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro (1989)
One of 2 movies about this act of terror from 1985. Unfortunately one of these is shot on board an unnamed bulker and what looks like a restaurant. IMHO it is not even worth watching

Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair (1990)
The 2nd of the 2 movies about the hijacking of the Achille Lauro and was actually filmed on board the Achille. Lots of onboard shots as well as exterior ones. But the subject matter is not a very pleasant one. Its better to see this movie than the previous one as it does have more credibility to it.

A Night to Remember (1958)
Based loosely on the book by Walter Lord, this BW classic tells the story of the sinking of the Titanic as roughly as portrayed in the book of the same name. It is a wonderful movie and is well worth watching even though it was not filmed on board a ship at all, but rather on a sound stage. (See about getting the documentary about the making of the movie).

SOS Titanic (1979)
This attempt tells the story more from a passengers point of view, but fails dismally when it comes to shiplike views. Overall a weak movie with not much going for it.

Raise the Titanic (1980)
Based on the book by Clive Cussler, the movie is a damp squib with none of the suspense or story of the book. Shot on board a derelict ship in Greece, as well as using extensive models, the story just drags on until you wish it was over. There are however many memorable scenes, and apparently a lot of the good stuff was cut out.

Titanic (1997)
This movie has its critics and fans and I definitely a fan. It has everything in it, love, disaster, tragedy, excellent model work, some stunning reproductions of the Titanic's interior and a great story (in a soppy sort of way). The real ship that the basis of the story takes place is actually a Russian research vessel Akademik Kayldesh, but most was filmed on board a huge sound stage with an almost complete ship built in a large water tank. It is doubtful that anybody will ever better this movie, if they do then I will be amazed.

Titanic (1953)
A not so famous version of the story of the sinking of the Titanic. This movie centres around the story of a woman and her children that board the ill fated ship to escape from their upper crust father.

Ghost Ship (2002)
A derelict ship with a spooky crew. Not even shot on board a real ship, however it has some great interior shots which have a definite shiplike feel about them. The ship is supposedly based loosely on the Andrea Dora and some of the scenes of the ship leave you wondering. Not a great movie, but an OK movie.

The Memory of Eva Ryker (1980)
Loosely based on a book by Donald Stanwood, this movie has some of the worst continuity I have ever seen in a ship movie. The story is about a woman who was traumatised by the sinking of a fictional ship. Truly an awful movie.

The Last Voyage (1960)
Filmed on board the French liner Ile De France, it caused a major outcry amongst purists about the so called desecration of this vintage ship. Apart from some very wooden acting, weak plot and on overall strange crew, this is actually an excellent movie to watch, just to see the interiors and exteriors of this vintage liner.

Doctor at Sea (1955)
Based on a book by Richard Gordon, the story is about a young bachelor doctor that gets a post on board a ship which is ruled by a slightly eccentric Captain.

Bring on more stars..... (War movies)

The Cruel Sea (1953)
Based on the book by Nicolas Monsarrat, this book tells the story of the men who served about a Flower Class corvette, and later a Castle Class corvette. Filmed on board real warships its a wonderful and poignant tale and is well worth having as a collectors item.

In Which We Serve (1942)
A wartime naval epic which does not really do itself justice. But, its watchable and does have some footage of real warships. Its interesting to see how often Noel Coward actually smiles.

The Battle of the River Plate (1956)
A wonderful movie with lots of ships and action. Dealing with the pursuit of the commerce raider Graf Spee, it features real British cruisers and an American cruiser as its main star. Lots of big name British stars are in it and its well worth having.

The Yangtse Incident. The story of HMS Amethyst (1957)
Based on what has become known as the Yangtse Incident, this movie tells the tale of HMS Amethyst and her crew that were stranded in the Yangtse River in 1949 by Chinese shore batteries and their efforts to escape. The movie even features the real HMS Amethyst.

The Final Countdown (1980)
A nuclear powered aircraft carrier gets stuck in a time warp and arrives just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. They have the chance to massively influence the war but sanity sort of prevails. Actually a great movie, filmed on board USS Nimitz.

Mister Roberts (1955)
A petty tyrant ruins life on board an American support vessel stationed in the Pacific during WW2.

The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Based on a novel by Herman Wouk, the story revolves around a Captain that endangers his ship and who is relieved of his command by this first officer.

The Enemy Below (1957)
An escort and submarine fight it out in a battle of wits.

Western Approaches (1944)
A wartime drama which pays tribute to the merchant navy.

Sink The Bismark (1960)
Based on the book by CS Forrester, this is a portrayal of the sinking of the German battleship Bismark.

Bring on the underwater stars..... (Submarine movies)

Above Us The Waves (1955)
The story of the attempt to sink the German battleship Tirpitz by crews of miniature submarines during WW2. Based upon actual events, it is not a bad story but it does leave a few unanswered questions.

Das Boot (The Boat) (1981)
One of the only war movies that tries to convey the life on board a German U Boat during WW2. Quite a good movie, but seems to be missing something. Well worth watching though as it is fascinating viewing.

The Hunt for Red October (1990) A maverick Russian submarine commander wants to defect... based on a novel by Tom Clancy, its a good watch and has some excellent moments of suspense in it. Unfortunately how much is shot on board an actual submarine is debatable.

We Dive At Dawn (1954)
All leave is cancelled for the crew of the British submarine Sea Tiger which is tasked to sink the German battleship Brandenburg.

K19 - The Widowmaker (2002)
The story of a Russian nuclear submarine that suffers a serious "nuclear incident" at sea and the attempts by the crew to get her home. An excellent story based on a real event.

Gray Lady Down (1978)
An American submarine goes down and the race is on against the clock to save the crew.

U571 (2000)
A weak story about the capture of a German U boat so as to obtain a highly secret Enigma machine.

Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)
An American submarine commander has a vendetta against a Japanese escort vessel and forgets about his duty towards his crew. Interesting shots of an American fleet submarine, but some very wooden acting by Clark Gable.

© DR Walker 2007-2013. Views expressed here are my own and do not reflect any official reviews or comment about these movies, books or documentaries. This list is for interest only.