The 10 best Submarine movies of all timeJun 11, 2004 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Submarine movies are always great for their characters and their deeply dramatic stories. Here is my list of the 10 best of all time.
Now when it comes to submarine movies, I am a big fan of the genre. The tight spaces, the fact that there is nowhere to run when trouble strikes, and the everyday drama that comes with it adds to the tension of every situation aboard a sub. The decisions made by commanders on the subs in war times, are what make heroes out of people. The inherent drama between the characters whether they are on the same page, or at each others throats in these movies helps add to the tension of things. Sometimes the star is the story, but lots of times its the actors that help carry these movies, and burn them into our memories.
Without further conversation, here is my list for the 10 best submariner movies ever. I took into consideration the stories, the acting, the drama, and the believability of the storylines in considering which movies would make my list, and which ones would be left off.
10. Ice Station Zebra (1968) -- Starring Rock Hudson and Ernest Borgnine
A submarine and its Commande (James Ferraday) are sent to get a British civilian from a North Pole Ice Station on the drift. The ice station is called Zebra, and rather than an easy search and find, more than meets the eye starts to take place. It seems that someone does not want the mission to succeed and that they will stop at nothing to stand in the way. As the twists to the film take part, it becomes more and more dramatic to see if anyone will be returning home. Good acting and a good story make this a strong film.
9. The Bedford Incident (1965) -- Starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier
In a twist on war-time submarine movies, Sidney Poitier plays a reporter given the chance to conduct the story of a life-time: he is allowed to ride in a destroyer manned by a captain played by Richard Widmark. Only, he is in for more then he signed up for. Soon, the captain discovers he is near a Soviet Submarine in the depths of the ocean, and what begins to unfold is a relentless pursuit by a captain crazed at getting the sub. Pushing his crew to the limits, the unthinkable happens, and a confrontation occurs that was unexpected earlier in the film. With great acting, and a great story, this one was an easy choice to make the top 10 list.
8. The Enemy Below (1957) -- Starring Robert Mitchum and Curd Jurgens
In the battle of good vs. evil in WWII, an American Destroyer takes on a German Submarine. The acting is done quite well, and the storyline keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times. Rather than ship against ship, this turns into a man against man duel between Captain Murrell (played by Robert Michum) and Von Stolberg (played by Curd Jurgens). In a time where submariner movies were coming out all over the place, this one took up a niche as one of the best confrontational submarine movies. A one-on-one battle where there can only be one winner.
7. 20,000 leagues under the sea (1954) -- Starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason
In the great Jules Vern tale brought to life, Douglas stars as Ned Land, who while investigating ships being sunk comes actors the famed Nautilaus. Captain Nemo (played by James Mason) is at the helm, and together they go through several harrowing adventures including dealing with some creatures from the deep. Unraveling the mystery that they set out to solve proves more deadly than they could have imagined, in what many consider to be one of Disneys best films. At the time the movie was filmed, this was truly considered a masterpiece, but over time, and with the increase in technology, this movie has lost a lot of its allure. Still, the acting performances are quite good, and the story-line, which still makes movies today (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) is strong.
6. U-571 (2000) -- Starring Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, and Harvey Keitel.
U-571 revolves around an American team of naval officers, that must take a German submarine that has been damaged out at sea. On board is the Enigma, which is a code machine that the Germans are using to communicate between each of the U-Boats. It is extremely important that the U.S. take the sub, and gain control of the code machine in the hopes of turning the tide of the war. This movie is chock-full of great special effects, and the sound that goes along with the movie knocks your socks right off. The acting is well done, and the setting within the sub is done with stark realism.
5. Torpedo Run (1958) Starring Glenn Ford and Ernest Borgnine
In a dilemma filled movie, the commander of this American submarine is forced to make decisions that will affect him for the rest of his life. The target that he is after, is a Japanese ship that has captured many prisons of war, and are using them as protection against Americans sinking the ship. They chase one of the carriers that attacked Pearl Harbor, and a twist is thrown into the plot. On the ship is his wife and children. He is now torn between duty, and protecting his family. This is a great movie that shows how the human spirit perseveres even under the worst of circumstances.
4. Run Silent Run Deep (1958) -- Starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster
It is WWII, and a submarine is sunk. The captain is given a desk-job, until finally he gets a second chance to captain another submarine. That captain is played by Clark Gable, and his first officer is played by Burt Lancaster. Gable becomes obsessed with finding the specific submarine that had sunk him before and he will stop at nothing to take them down. This includes ignoring Lancaster, and not taking into consideration the safety or well-being of his own crew. The acting in this movie is great, as the duties of a captain that is out for revenge are called into play by the First officer who thinks his captain has gone over the edge.
3. Das Boot (1981) -- Directed by Wolfgang Peterson
Das Boot (or The Boat) came out in 1981, and shows WWII from the point of view of German U-Boats and their crews. It is a terrifying view of what went on in German U-Boats, and the harsh conditions that they were forced to work under. It also shows how people on the boats were forced to deal with the boredom and the unkempt areas of a submarine that is out to sea. This film is original in that it shines a positive light on the German crews, and rather than vilifying them, gives them some humanity and dignity. This is a great film, with a current Directors cut that has been released. If you are interested in a movie from the German perspective, then this is the one to see.
2. The Hunt for Red October (1990) -- Starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin
A Russian sub commander (Sean Connery) violates orders and heads his sub towards the United State. He is piloting their newest submarine, which is capable of running silent in the water, and is considered the best sub commander that the U.S.S.R. has. What the U.S. must figure out is what he is attempting to do, and if his actions are warranting a war-like response. Alec Baldwin plays Jack Ryan, in the first movie based on a character in Tom Clancy novels. He serves as a CIA Historian, who is thrown into risky situations to prove his theories correct. This movie is very intense, and with actors Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, and Scott Glenn also in the mix, there is a lot of great acting going on. The movie takes you for a ride, and remains exciting from the beginning to the very end.
1. Crimson Tide (1995) -- Starring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington
In a Tony Scott film, Hackman and Washington serve as the Captain and Executive Officer of the submariner Alabama. This is a nuclear sub, and they are sent out to sea to deal with an uprising that is taking place in Russia. The biggest fear, is that they will end up having to fire their missiles on the mainland of Russia, and in effect start WWIII. The worry is that rebel forces are taking control of Russian launch-codes, and that the result could be them firing on the United States. The Alabama represents the first, and last, line of defense for the U.S.
The movie is superbly acted, and the chemistry between Hackman and Washington is something that comes along only on rare occasions. Hackmans character is a fly-by-the-seat of your pants type commander, and Washington serves as an Ex-O who wants everything done by the book. When their two styles clash, the sparks fly, and the acting comes out with 5 out of 5 stars. Throw in some action sequences involving hostile submarines, and you come up with the best submarine movie ever made.
Well there is my list of the top 10 submarine movies ever made. I hope you enjoyed the list, and if you have any opinions about it, please feel free to comment.
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