Ten Best Submarine films~~ {{{((DIVE....{{{(Dive... {{(dive

Aug 4, 2004 (Updated Oct 27, 2005)

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The Bottom Line Everything from Clark Gable to Denzel Washington. Here's ten movies worth watching at least once!

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of viewing several outstanding films concerning submarines. Although not too many submarine movies have been made recently, most of them are pretty decent films and some good entertainment. So here’s my list of the top ten submarine films.



# 10 K-19 - The Widowmaker (2002)

K-19 - The Widowmaker is about a Soviet nuclear submarine that is on it’s maiden voyage when things go drastically wrong. The sad, and scary part is this film is based on a true story that actually took place during 1961. A very serious malfunction occurs in the cooling system of this new Soviet submarine, which cools the reactor core. The resourceful Captain Vostrikov (Harrison Ford) tries everything he and his crew can think of to keep the core from a melt down.. The crew was not geared up to handle this sort of emergency. They are forced to work on the core with substandard equipment, and this has deadly consequences. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson work together great in K-19 Widowmaker.


# 9. Run Silent - Run Deep (1958)

Run Silent - Run Deep stars Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster as well as the young, Don Rickles. The film about a Japanese destroyer and a US submarine and it’s Captain, Commander Richardson (Clark Gable). Commander Richardson had had command of his own submarine once before only to have it sank by a Japanese Destroyer. He also lost a lot of men to the attack. After quite some time Richardson was able to get command of another submarine to exact his revenge. Getting command of another submarine meant he’d stepped on some toes, the toes he stepped on were connected to his new Executive Officer, Captain Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster). This early submarine film has an all-star cast and is worth watching once.

Captain Richardson: A fleet boat of the Navy, with most of her fighting capability intact! And you'd take her back to Pearl, I don't believe it!


# 8. Torpedo Run (1958)

Torpedo Run is a film about the commander of a US submarine fighting against the Japanese Empire during World War II. The commander of the US Submarine has to make some extremely tough calls. The Japanese are moving fright and supplies and using American prisoners of war to prevent their ships from getting fired on. Torpedo Run stars Glen Ford and Ernest Borgnine.


# 7. The Enemy Below (1957)

Enemy Below was one of the first movies to try and portray the harsh lifestyle of a wartime submarine crew. Considering the film was made in 1957, Dick Powell did a splendid job making the film with the resources of the time. Enemy Below is about a US Destroyer verses a German U-boat during the World War II era. The film shows both sides, both commanders, both of their predicaments, and both boats. The ultimate game of chess with a twist of anti-war stirred. Robert Michum and Curd Jurgens played the opposing Captains, and both did an excellent job acting.

Captain Murrell: That there's no end to misery and destruction. You cut the head off a snake, and it grows another one. You cut that one off, and you find another. You can't kill it, because it's something within ourselves. You can call it the enemy if you want to, but it's part of us; we're all men.


# 6. U-571 (2000)

U-571 is a film concerning how the Allies captured the secrets to the German Enigma machine during World War II. When the Allies learn that a German U-Boat is in distress, they scramble to capture the German vessel intact. The trick is to get it before the Germans can rescue her and get close enough to board her without the enemy crew scuttling the boat. The US refits one of our submarines to look similar to a German U-Boat. The only problem is that the mission is top-secret and no one can know, including the US commanders in the Atlantic. The movie is fast paced and very enjoyable. Matthew McConaughey and Bill Paxton make an excellent team together.

Major Coonan: How far down does this ship go?
Lt. Commander Dahlgren: Oh, she'll go all the way to the bottom if we don't stop her.


# 5. CSS Hunley (1999)

The film CSS Hunley was made for TV in 1999 by Turner Network Television and stars Donald Sutherland. The film like most other TNT civil war films was historically accurate. CSS Hunley is about a Confederate made submarine during the American Civil War era. The problem with this is that there were no submarines in that era. The CSS Hunley was one of the first submarines ever made. The losses that occurred during the developmental stages were crazy! The thing was little more than a round tube with a propeller on one end, and a long shaft on the other where an explosive charge could be placed. There were nine volunteers inside pedaling on the crank the made the propeller work. The idea was to blast the Union blockade out of the water. The CSS Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship (Housatonic) in combat. Even for folks that are not fans of civil war movies, this film is worth watching once. Another great American civil war movie that was backed by Ted Turner.


# 4. The Hunt For Red October (1990)

The Hunt For Red October is based on one of Tom Clancy’s novels in the Ryan series. This film is an excellent piece of work. It is about the Soviet Unions top submarine commander Captain Ramias, (Sean Connery) who is commanding the pride of the Soviet submarine fleet, The Red October . He is deadheading towards the United States in the deadliest and stealthiest nuclear submarine ever made. Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) is a top man from the CIA who had studied Captain Ramias in some detail. The two play cat and mouse in a deadly game of chess. Furthermore this is another outstanding piece of directing by John McTiernan.

Captain Ramias: We will pass through the American patrols, past their sonar nets, and lay off their largest city, and listen to their rock and roll... while we conduct missile drills.


# 3. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)

The first submarine movie that I seen as a child was 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea . Although I wasn’t able to comprehend the sub-plots in the film, I recall enjoying the movie nonetheless. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is based on Jules Verne’s novel and was Walt Disney’s first major motion picture. The film has a bit of everything in it for everyone. The genius Captain Nemo has turned his back on society and lives off of the sea and in the sea. He manages to do this aboard an awesome submarine called the Nautilus. Kirk Douglas and James Mason were excellent. Even at 50 years old the film is still entertaining.

Captain Nemo: there is hope for the future. When the world is ready for a new and better life, all this will someday come to pass, in God's good time.


# 2. Crimson Tide (1995)

Crimson Tide was an excellent movie that could make the top ten lists in several categories. A cast with Denzel Washington, and Gene Hackman is hard to beat. The two work together fantastically. Crimson Tide is about one of the most powerful men in the world, the commander (Gene Hackman) of a nuclear submarine. His Executive Officer Hunter, (Denzel Washington) have completely different views on the world, war philosophy and current events. Things heat up very fast when a break-away faction in the former Soviet Union get it’s hands on some nuclear missiles along with the launch codes. To make things even more interesting their submarine looses radio contact with it’s command, then comes under attack by a Russian AKULA class attack submarine. Tony Scott is at his best with Crimson Tide.

Hunter: In my humble opinion, in the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself.


# 1. Das Boot (1981)

Das Boot is hands down, the best submarine film that I have ever seen. The directing of Wolfgang Petersen could not have been much better, the realism was astounding. After watching this two and a half hour long movie, you feel like your cramped in the boat and a part of the crew. Das Boot is a film about a German U-boat and it’s crew during world war II, in the Atlantic. Petersen takes us along on the suicidal missions and attacks of a U boat. The endless hours, days and months of sheer boredom sitting below the surface of the sea. Then in a split second they are in battle and maneuvering for their lives. The depth charges that a submarine crew must endure are nerve shattering. The tactics that the captain (Jürgen Prochnow) uses are innovative and unique, otherwise the boat would have no chance. War time submariners endure all kinds of hell. They live, eat and sleep in a grimy, confined, noisy, treacherous tube filled with the stench of diesel fuel. The acting and dialog were also excellent! The film comes to a close and leaves one thinking about it for quite sometime.

Lieutenant Werner; They made us all train for this day. "To be fearless and proud and alone. To need no one, just sacrifice. All for the Fatherland." Oh God, all just empty words. It's not the way they said it was, is it? I just want someone to be with. The only thing I feel is afraid.

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Thanks for the read,

©2004 Joe McMaster

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