On the NAUTILUS men's hearts never fail them.
No defects to be afraid of, for the double shell is as firm as iron,
no rigging to attend to, no sails for the wind to carry away;
no boilers to burst, no fire to fear, for the vessel is made of iron, not of wood;
no cove to run short, for electricity is the only power;
no collision to fear, for it alone swims in deep water;
no tempest to brave, for when it dives below the water,
it reaches absolute tranquility.
That is the perfection of vessels.
TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, 1869
The submarine has influenced more than just the outcome of the wars of the 20th Century. It has become an object of fascination for those drawn to the allure and mystique surrounding the Silent Service. Popular culture has both canonized and damned the submarine and their crews. Movies normally feature cliches such as the claustrophobia of life beneath the waves and dodging depth charges. However, it cannot be denied that the submarine has played a major role in both film and print since its inception 100 years ago. We don't see many of these movies today. Part of the problem with submarine pictures is that "Das Boot" and the "The Hunt for Red October" ruined the genre for everyone else. Once someone makes an excellent film in any particular genre, all other efforts must inevitably measure up or be considered a failure.
Some difficulty is encountered in compiling a list of "submarine movies". Jules Verne's novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" is the prototypical submarine story, and much of the romance of this tale is the submarine itself. Verne's novel "The Mysterious Island" was published in 1874 as a sequel to "20,000 Leagues" and it concerned Civil War soldiers who balloon to the strange island home of Captain Nemo, who has invented a submarine. But in the sequel the submarine makes only a cameo appearance, so "The Mysterious Island" cannot properly be considered a submarine story, nor can its cinematic realizations be considered submarine movies, per se. But for completeness "The Mysterious Island" and other movies in which submarines are part of the supporting cast are included here. In contrast, "20,000 Leagues" - with over half a dozen versions stretching over a century in time - is the submarine movie par excellance, the submarine itself is the star.
Right around the time 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was released the United States Navy launched it's first atomic submarine. In part in tribute to that most popular of French authors with American audiences, the Navy named the ship the Nautilus. A great tribute to a great writer of fabulous tales of imagination. And Walt Disney couldn't have gotten better publicity had he paid for it.
The following is a selection of prominent movies on submarines, submarine history, and the men who made and fought them:
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Biograph, 1905) The 1905 silent version was the first time the novel was made into a film, an 18 minute short film by Wallace McCutcheon. [Admiral McCutcheon was a fictional character in the 1997 television remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea]. Wallace McCutcheon, previously a stage director, was taken on by American Biograph in the spring of 1897, subsequently directing hundreds of short films. In 1903, Biograph released two McCutcheon films, The Pioneers and Kit Carson, both wild-west action stories. These films were the first true movie Westerns. In May 1905 McCutcheon was lured away from Biograph by Thomas Edison, and McCutcheon, one of American cinema's true pioneers, simply disappears from the historical record after 1910.
- 20000 lieues sous les mers (1907) The 1907 silent version of Jules Vernes' 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the second time the novel was made into a film, this time an 18 minute short film by Georges Melies, the special-effects pioneer. Melies made over 500 films, but his most famous was A Trip to the Moon made in 1902. There is a submarine, but Nemo is absent from this film, as are any of the plot elements and dramatic conventions of Verne's story.
- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1916) The third time the novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was made into a film, it was the first time it was made as a full feature film and not a short film. The 1916 silent version of Jules Vernes' 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was "sold" on the basis of its advanced underwater photography, the handiwork of the legendary Williamson Brothers. This production, financed by Universal, would require location photography, large sets, exotic costumes, sailing ships, and a full-size navigable mock-up of the surfaced submarine Nautilus. The film's storyline combines elements from both 20,000 Leagues and the other Verne novel about Nemo, The Mysterious Island. The cost of this film was so astronomical that it could not possibly post a profit, putting the kibosh on any subsequent Verne adaptations for the next 12 years.
- Phantom Submarine U-67 (1931) A U.S. Navy captain searches for a sunken treasure in enemy waters.
- Hell Below (MGM, 1933) Love triangle in World War I.
- Men Without Women (Fox, 1930) John Ford film about a crew that awaits rescue about sunken submarine S-13. This early "talkie" uses both spoken dialogue and silent-film intertitles - sometimes in the same scene!
- Morgenrot (German, 1933) Suspenseful story about a crew trapped in a sunken U-boat during World War I.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1936). This production by Irving Thalberg was unfinished.
- Submarine D-1 (Warner Bros., 1937) Action film showing a submarine rescue using the McCann Rescue Chamber and Momsen Lung.
- Submarine Raider (Columbia, 1942) Hokey yarn about submarine that fails in its attempts to warn Pearl Harbor of the impending Japanese attack, then sinks one of the carriers that launched it.
- Submarine Alert (Pine-Thomas Productions, 1943) Nazi spies use a stolen shortwave transmitter prototype to broadcast top secret shipping info to an offshore Japanese sub. You can tell this is a War Bond Rally movie because it contains a final scene with one of the leads giving a testimonial to all that is good about America and why we have to defeat the enemy at any cost.
- Submarine Base (1943) Ship engineer Jim Taggert is rescued from a torpedoed tramp steamer by Joe Morgan, an American gangster that found New York too hot for him. Morgan is supplying German U-boat commanders with torpedoes. Everything about this film screams made-in-a-hurry, low buget, no name actors, poor story line, etc.... BUT, it is still worth seeing just for the historical aspect - 1943 - in the thick of the war which was still far from certain who'd win.
- Crash Dive (20th Century Fox, 1943) A U.S. submarine fights the Germans in the Atlantic, while its commander (Dana Andrews) and a lieutenant (Tyrone Power) romance the same woman (Anne Baxter). Won an Academy Award for special effects.
- We Dive at Dawn (British, 1943) Drama about the crew of a British submarine as it stalks the new German battleship Brandenburg in the Baltic. Stars Jon Mills.
- Destination Tokyo (Warner Bros., 1944) Cary Grant stars in this classic wartime adventure about a U.S. submarine on a secret mission to enter Tokyo bay and gather information for the Doolittle air raid against Japan.
- Mystery Submarine (1950) A crime / drama / war film directed by Douglas Sirk, starring Macdonald Carey, Märta Torén, Robert Douglas, Ludwig Donath, and Carl Esmond. MacDonald Carey is Brett Young, a U.S. undercover agent trying to prevent atomic secrets from falling into the wrong hands. Marta Toren is Madeline Brenner, a woman of mystery seemingly in cahoots with enemy agents. The "maguffin" is the top-secret info in the brain scientist Adolph Guernitz (Ludwig Donath). The titular mystery submarine figures into the film's climax, which takes place just off the coast of Mexico. Totally unrelated to the 1963 movie of the same title, neither of which is currently available on DVD.
- The Flying Missile (Columbia, 1950) Glenn Ford stars as a naval commander who develops the means to launch missiles from submarines.
- Morning Departure (British, 1950; released in the United States as Operation Disaster) Richard Attenborough stars in this World War II adventure about a British crew waiting to be rescued from a sunken submarine.
- Operation Pacific (Warner Bros., 1951) Under John Wayne's leadership, the submarine Thunderfish fights the Japanese and rescues nuns and children. This film, the first of a spate of World War II submarine movies released during the 1950s, was loosely based on the true stories of the USS Angler (SS-240) and Growler (SS-215). Admiral Charles Lockwood, the commander of submarine operations in the Pacific, served as technical advisor.
- Submarine Command (Paramount, 1951) William Holden is a Korean War submarine commander who is haunted by his memory of the last day of World War II, when, as an exec, he saved his boat by crash diving while the captain was on the bridge.
- Torpedo Alley (Allied Artists, 1952) William Bendix commands a submarine in this story of Korean War combat and romance.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Paramount, 1952-53) Production unfinished.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Walt Disney Productions, 1954) Classic screen adaptation of Jules Verne's early vision of submarine warfare. James Mason is the mad Captain Nemo, who takes on the warmongering imperialist countries with his submarine Nautilus. Also stars Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre. This Oscar winner (for special effects and set decoration) is a remake of a 1916 silent film.
- Submarine Attack (1954) Italian with subtitles in English. When an Italian U-boat torpedoes a Danish freighter in the treacherous seas of the North Atlantic, the captain of the sub makes the noble decision to bring the ship's survivors onboard. Not a bad movie if you are really interested in submarines.
- Monster from the Ocean Floor (1954) "Terror Strikes from Below the Ocean Waves!" Starring David Garcia, Jonathan Haze, Anne Kimbell, and Inez Palange. The female lead, apparently a tourist, works alone to try to solve the mysterious disappearances of humans and animals off a coastal Mexican village, while receiving nothing but ridicule from her new-found marine biologist boyfriend. The boyfriend finally realizes there is a monster, and returns in time to rescue her, and his hero status, with a neat human-propelled miniature submarine. This is a really good example of why producer Roger Corman always made money with his films. Fortunately the film only runs 64 minutes.
- Hell and High Water (Twentieth Century Fox, 1954) Two reliable genres--submarine adventure and the threat of World War III--come together. The plot, deviously plotted schoolboy fiction involving the Chinese's dastardly plan to incite a nuclear conflagration and blame the US, is preposterous; yet the special effects, considering the relatively primitive state of that art at the time, are not bad.
- Above the Waves (1956) Judging by the number of times it has shown up on TV, Above Us the Waves may be American viewers' favorite British war film. Most of the film is set in a British midget submarine, commandeered by John Mills. The sub's mission (together with its "fellow" vessels) is to sink the German battleship Tirpitz. This will be accomplished by the midget sub fleet sneaking into Norwegian waters, floating beneath the Tirpitz, then planting explosives. Only Mills' sub manages to complete the mission. Based on a true-life 1943 incident, Above Us the Waves takes a revisionist approach by showing the German officers and seamen to be human beings rather than faceless minions of Hitler.
- Hellcats of the Navy (Columbia, 1957) Based on Admiral Charles Lockwood's book Hellcats of the Sea, this is a fictionalized account of the submarine attack group that entered the Sea of Japan in 1945 to ravage Japanese shipping. This film is the only one in which Ronald and future wife Nancy Davis appeared together.
- The Enemy Below (20th Century Fox, 1957) Robert Mitchum and Curt Jürgens star in this story about the pursuit of a wily German U-boat by a U.S. destroyer during World War II. Won an Academy Award for special effects.
- Run Silent, Run Deep (United Artists, 1958) A submarine skipper (Clark Gable) single-mindedly pursues the notorious Japanese destroyer "Bungo Pete," which sank his previous boat. This adaptation of the best-selling novel by former sub commander Ned Beach also stars Burt Lancaster and Don Rickles.
- Torpedo Run (MGM, 1958) Glenn Ford is a submarine commander who is forced to sink a Japanese transport carrying American prisoners and his own family because it was being used to shield an aircraft carrier. He then seeks his revenge. Ernest Borgnine also stars.
- Up Periscope (Warner Bros., 1959) James Garner stars in this World War II action yarn about a submarine on a secret mission to photograph a Japanese code book.
- Operation Petticoat (Universal-International, 1959) Comedy about a damaged World War II submarine seeking a yard for repairs. Along the way, it takes on five stranded Army nurses and is painted pink (the only color the crew could find). Stars Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. Remade as a TV movie and series in 1977.
- On The Beach (United Artists, 1959) Moving story of a U.S. submarine crew that finds itself stranded in Australia in 1964, after a nuclear war has destroyed the rest of the world. As the radioactive residue closes in, the captain (Gregory Peck) and crew must decide whether to go back home. Not a submarine actioner but a thought-provoking film based on the novel by Nevil Shute.
- The Atomic Submarine (1959) The U.S.S. Tiger Shark, the most powerful nuclear sub in the fleet, uncovers an alien life form that threatens to wipe humans off the face of the earth. This 1959 low-budget sci-fi flick deals with "atomic power" as a menace--and protector--of mankind. The movie has everything a fan of 50's sci-fi B-movies would want.
- Mysterious Island (1961) Starring Michael Craig, Joan Greenwood, Michael Callan, et al. Jules Verne's classic adventure is matched with Ray Harryhausen's timeless movie magic in Mysterious Island. Based on Verne's sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Verne's novel doesn't include any gigantic creatures, but Harryhausen's version features giant oysters, bees, a prehistoric Phororhacos (a giant chickenlike bird!), an undersea cephalopod, a giant crab, and enough danger to keep its resourceful ensemble on constant alert. Captain Nemo (Herbert Lom, ably filling James Mason's shoes) is a third-act hero, pursuing an ill-fated dream to save humanity from hunger and war.
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961 movie and 1964-to-1968 ABC television series) Admiral Nelson takes a brand new atomic submarine through its paces. When the Van Allen radiation belt catches fire, the admiral must find a way to beat the heat or watch the world go up in smoke.
- Mystery Submarine (1963) Directed by C.M. Pennington-Richards and starring Edward Judd, Laurence Payne, Joachim Fuchsberger, and Arthur O'Sullivan. A routine wartime drama set at sea and involves a British convoy trying to elude a group of German U-Boats. After one of the U-Boats is singled out and captured, the British admiral in charge of the current operation hits upon an ingenious but almost suicidal way of defeating the Nazi boats. He orders Lt. Commander Tarlton (Edward Judd) and a group of men to get in the captured U-Boat and then join the other U-Boats. Totally unrelated to the 1950 movie of the same title, neither of which is currently available on DVD.
- Around the World under the Sea (1966) Ivan Tors Productions, the firm responsible for such aquatic TV delights as Sea Hunt and Flipper, was the prime mover behind MGM's Around the World Under the Sea, starring Lloyd Bridges, Shirley Eaton, Brian Kelly, David McCallum, Keenan Wynn, Marshall Thompson, and Gary Merrill. This film centers on the perfect plan to unite the world in the prediction of undersea earthquakes. Sub commander Bridges (who else?) heads into the depths to find out the cause of the disturbances. A series of undersea detectors planted on the ocean bottoms take you "Around the World Under the Sea". The process of collecting the perfect group of scientists were probably some of the best scenes. Shirley Eaton made this adventure film right after Goldfinger, and David McCallum, right after Man from UNCLE. Formulaic to the extreme and seemingly written by committee.
- The Bedford Incident (Columbia, 1966) Richard Widmark stars as a destroyer commander who discovers and pursues a Soviet submarine during the Cold War. Also stars Sidney Poitier.
- The Russians Are Coming! (Mirisch Corp., 1966) Popular comedy about a Soviet captain who unintentionally provokes panic among Maine locals while seeking a tow for his grounded submarine.
- You Only Live Twice (1967) The film boasts the best of the Bond title songs (this one sung on a dreamy track by Nancy Sinatra), but the movie itself is one of the weaker ones of the Sean Connery phase of the 007 franchise. The story concerns an effort by the evil organization SPECTRE to start a world war. M's Submarine in this James Bond movie acts as a covert mobile headquarters for M in the vicinity of Hong Kong and Japan. On-board, M is seen in uniform (and he is of course an admiral), as is Miss Moneypenny. The name of the submarine is never given, though it has the penant number M1, but this is fictional presumably reflecting its occupant, given that all RN submarines at the time had S numbers.
- Yellow Submarine (MGM, 1968) A broad, feather-light allegory set in idyllic Pepperland, where the gentle citizens are threatened by the nasty, music-hating Blue Meanies and their surreal arsenal of henchmen. "Young Fred" manages to escape the attack in the Yellow Submarine, which takes him to England. He recruits the Beatles to return with him to Pepperland. If you don't like the Beatles music, or are bored by animation, stay away.
- Ice Station Zebra (Filmway/MGM, 1968) Cold War story about the nuclear submarine Tigerfish, on a mission to rescue the crew of Drift Ice Station Zebra at the North Pole. Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, and Patrick McGoohan star. Based on a novel by Alistair MacLean.
- Submarine X-1 (MGM, 1972) With "first-class underwater photography" (Variety) and taut suspense, this tale of heroism paved the way for films like The Hunt for Red October. Three experimental miniature X-1 subs, each manned by a crew of only four, are on a mission to sink the mighty battleship Lindendor.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Television - "Festival of Family Classics", 1972) T.V.-Video, Animated Cartoon Inc., 30 minutes.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Television - "Famous Classic Tales", 1973) Australia Broadcasting Commision, Sydney, Animated Cartoon, 60 minutes
- The Neptune Factor - An Undersea Odyssey (1973) Directed by Daniel Petrie and starring Ben Gazzara and Walter Pidgeon. An underwater sea lab is caught in a seaquake, and disappears down a deep ocean trench. The surface crew desperately tries to rescue the men trapped below, calling in divers and even a submarine, all to no avail. Then, with time running out, an experimental small super-sub is pressed into service.
- The Land that Time Forgot (1975) This movie is based on a trilogy of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, with a storyline similar to Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World." In June of 1916, as the Great War is waged at sea, a German submarine controlled by Captain Von Schoenvorts (John McEnery) spots a British warship and torpedos it. The survivors watch the submarine come out of the water and row the lifeboats over to the sub and successfully take the German crew hostage. Tyler commands the crew to sail due West to the United States, but the Germans had placed a magnet next to the compass, and they are actually near South America. They find an island surrounded on all sides by ice and rock. Once inside the island, the crews realize that it is a lost world of dinosaurs and cavemen.
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) The best of the James Bond adventures starring Roger Moore as tuxedoed Agent 007. Bond teams up with yet another lovely Russian agent (Barbara Bach) to track a pair of nuclear submarines that the nefarious Stromberg (Curt Jürgens) plans to use in his plot to start World War III. HMS Ranger was one of the RN's nuclear submarines. While under the command of Captain Talbot it was hi-jacked by Stromberg during a routine patrol in the Norwegian Sea, along with the 16 Polaris ballistic missiles it was carrying.
- The Return of Captain Nemo / The Amazing Captain Nemo (CBS-TV/Warner Brothers TV, 1978) Typical 1970's lightweight pseudo-science-fictional fare, this movie was the pilot for a very brief action series. Modern-day US Navy scientists discover the legendary Nemo (an apparently underemployed Jose Ferrer) in suspended animation aboard his Nautilus at the bottom of the ocean.
- Gray Lady Down (Universal/Mirisch, 1978) The Navy seeks to rescue the crew of USS Neptune, which sank off the coast of Connecticut after a collision. Stars Charlton Heston, Stacy Keach, Ned Beatty, and David Carradine. This is a fine submarine movie which boasts fine performances. "Gray Lady Down" was Charlton Heston's last movie as an action lead, and it is a much more pleasing film than some of the other 70s disaster films he appeared in.
- The Sea Wolves (1981) Retired British military men become the unlikely heroes of a World War II search-and-destroy mission. German merchant ships are relaying information to U-boats as to the whereabouts of Allied war vessels. Starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, Roger Moore, Trevor Howard, and Patrick MacNee. A great war story, based on actual events.
- Das Boot (German, 1981; dubbed in English as The Boat) Gritty and gripping portrayal of the U-boat war in World War II, seen from the German perspective. The film follows the crew of a U-boat as it attacks Allied shipping and endures ASW attack. Nominated for six Oscars.
- The Abyss (1989) Starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, et al. A nuclear sub has been ambushed and sunk, under mysterious circumstances, in some of the deepest waters on earth. One diver (Ed Harris) soon finds himself on a spectacular odyssey 25,000 feet below the ocean's surface where he confronts a mysterious force that has the power to change the world or destroy it. Meticulously crafted but also ponderous and predictable, James Cameron's 1989 deep-sea close-encounter epic reaffirms one of the oldest first principles of cinema: everything moves a lot more slowly underwater.
- The Hunt for Red October (Paramount, 1990) Screen adaptation of the Tom Clancy thriller, starring Alec Baldwin as a U.S. intelligence agent tracking the maiden voyage of the new, secret Soviet submarine Red October. Sean Connery is the Soviet sub commander, who is up to something .... Oscar winner for sound effects editing.
- Das letzte U-Boot (German TV, 1990? 1993?) [The Last U-Boat] Near the end of the war a lone U-Boat - U234 - is sent from Germany to Japan. In March 1945 it leaves Germany bound for Japan. Its cargo includes an ME262 jet fighter and V2 rocket components, together with over 500 KG of uranium. This movie is based on this true story. In this fictionalized account, during the long sail, the officers hear from the radio that Germany had lost the war and Hitler had killed himself. The crew split between the Nazi party members who wish to continue to Japan and those who wish to surrender. In the real world, after the surrender of Germany, the crew decides to surrender to the Americans.
- Seaquest DSV (TV, 1993) An enormously ambitious [and largely forgotten] television series from executive producer Steven Spielberg and series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon (Farscape, Alien Nation), seaQuest DSV made a valiant attempt to present a thoughtful and socially conscious science-fiction series on par with Star Trek to a '90s audience, but struggled with mediocre scripts and special effects for most of its three seasons (1993-96). Captain Nathan Bridger (Roy Scheider) commands the high-tech battle submarine seaQuest and its diverse and eclectic crew. Along for the ride are a roster of stellar guest stars, including Charlton Heston, William Shatner, Seth Green, Kellie Martin and Kent McCord.
- Crimson Tide (Hollywood, 1995) A thriller about the fictional ballistic missile submarine Alabama during a crisis in the post-Cold War Russian Far East. A dispute over the meaning of a partially recovered flash message-does it order a missile launch?-leads the XO (Denzel Washington) to mutiny against his captain (Gene Hackman). You can almost hear the studio pitch meeting echoing throughout Crimson Tide like the sonar on the soundtrack: "It's The Cain Mutiny on a nuclear submarine!"
- Down Periscope (20th Century Fox, 1996) Slapstick comedy about a crew of misfits on board the old diesel submarine Stingray, which is competing against a modern nuclear submarine in a wargame. Stars Kelsey Grammer as Stingray's ambitious captain.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (TV movie, 1997) Hallmark's made for TV movie version starring Ben Cross, Richard Crenna, Julie Cox and Paul Gross, and directed by Michael Anderson, suffers from the producer's need to rewrite the story to entertain the widest possible audience. The ships in the film look very period - including the Nautilus. The interior of the ship is where this version of the Nautilus shines, with nice interior visuals, but the inside of the submarine is too modern and probably way too large compared to exterior views.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ( ABC TV 3 hour mini-series, 1997) The submarine Nautilus is commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo (Michael Caine). Admiral McCutcheon (Peter McCauley) of the Abraham Lincoln swears revenge on the mysterious craft that crippled his ship. The model work done for the Nautilus is good, but it is too big and technologically advanced for what Verne describes. This is not the ultimate Jules Verne adaptation, and is stretched to a mini-series length by adding a lot of clichés.
- Hostile Waters (TV, 1997) Account about the accidental sinking of a Soviet nuclear submarine off the coast of Bermuda in 1986, based on the 1996 book of the same name.
- Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) An evil media mogul aims to use his communications network to lure a British submarine off course, steal its nuclear warheads, and ignite a war with China. Pierce Brosnan once again plays James Bond, with Teri Hatcher and Michelle Yeoh co-starring.
- The Hunley (TV, 1999) True story of the Confederate submarine Hunley, which became the first sub to sink a ship when it destroyed USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor in 1863.
- U-571 (Universal, 2000) Matthew McConnaughey and Bill Paxton star in this World War II action film, in which a U.S. submarine captain undertakes to recover an Enigma decoding machine from a stranded German U-boat. Based-on-fact story (although it was actually the British who recovered the decoder).
- Submarines (2002) During a routine training exercise the American submarine Manta collides with a Russian craft and Captain William Arlington faces a court-martial upon his return to the US. An insult to the Submarine Service with so many errors it would be hard to count them all.
- K-19: The Widowmaker (New Films International, 2002) In 1961 on the Soviet nuclear submarine K-19 an exposed reactor core nearly resulted in a nuclear catastrophe. A fine addition to the "sub-genre" of submarine thrillers.
- Below (2002) On what should be a routine rescue mission during World War II, the submarine USS Tiger Shark picks up three survivors of a U-boat attack. But for the crew -- trapped together in the sub's narrow corridors and constricted spaces -- the unexpected visitors seem to spark a series of chilling, otherworldly occurrences.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) The heroes of 1899 are brought to life with the help of some expensive special effects in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. From the pages of Victorian literature come Dr. Jekyll (and his alter ego Mr. Hyde), Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, an Invisible Man, Mina Harker (from Dracula), the hunter Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery), and Captain Nemo. Naseeruddin Shah as Captain Nemo returns Nemo to his original characterization by Verne as a Sikh. Shah's Nemo was a welcome variation to previous Nemos, providing a sense of command, control and honor in comparison to those others. Some of the special effects are very good, such as the bizarre image of the Nautilus sailing the canals of Venice.
- In Enemy Hands (2004) The crew of the U.S.S. Swordfish, prisoners of war aboard U-boat 429, find their loyalties put to the ultimate test when they're forced to join their German captors to fight for their very lives. Not the Barry Lyndon of U-Boat movies.
- Submarine 707R (Geneon, 2004) Japanese with English subtitles. A pedestrian mishmash devoid of interesting characters or any real plot. The animation is outstanding; the submarines look exceptionally realistic, as do the underwater special effects.
- Jules Verne's Mysterious Island: The Complete Miniseries (Hallmark Channel, 2005) A TV miniseries was produced in two parts, starring Kyle MacLachlan, Patrick Stewart, Danielle Calvert, et al. The story-line and major characters are similar to that of 1961 movie, so this TV miniseries has little relationship to the book. This is a B-movie - Jurassic Park meets Pirates of the Carribean - with chintzy CGI rendered giant animals; a weak, implausible story; and gangsta' rappers travelling back in time. The Nemo related sets needlessly copy other films -- e.g., the electric fence of Jurrasic Park and the submarine of Disney. Recommended for monster movies fans who loved Jurassic Park.
- Submerged (Geneon, 2005) Steven Seagal, the free world's most "independent" anti-terrorist agent, is going under - not to foreign ports but submerged, under the sea, where waves of deceit are set to torpedo his command permanently. Submerged' has a wide assortment of terrible actions and vapid shoot-outs, plus incomprehensible story no one can understand, and as if they are not enough, very bad acting too.
- Depth Charge (2008) Veteran naval Commander Krieg (Eric Roberts), who has commandeered his own prototype stealth submarine with the help of mercenaries. It falls to Corbin Bersen to get them off his ship. One by one he takes them out and sabotages their plans to nuke Washington DC.
- The Land That Time Forgot (2009) A modern "interpretation" of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic fantasy tale. The screenplay isn't even loosly based on the previous movies The Land That Time Forgot  / The People That Time Forgot  which contained FX of mediocre laughable quality, but which at least made an attempt to use the source material. Travelers on a small boat encounter strange circumstances during a storm and land on a small island. It has the Bermuda Triangle, dinosaurs, marooned Nazis from a WWII submarine, unresolved plot threads, and a relatively happy ending. For a low budget movie with cheesy special effects, it really isn't too bad.
- Silent Venom (Fox, 2009) Ever since Snakes on a Plane, there have been numerous rip-offs, from Snakes on a Train, to this movie, Silent Venom. The title should be Snakes On A Submarine though. The plot with a US submarine in Chinese waters filled with magic snakes is forgettable.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (2012 ?) David Fincher who was busy filming "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", is also attached to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He said he wanted it be like a "Gigantic steampunk science fiction movie from 1873." Writer Randall Wallace (Braveheart, SECRETARIAT) said "They were developing it ... in a way that had more heart and a more realistic lucidness than what we would think of as the normal fantasy fare." The project was previously titled Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and was setup with a script by Bill Marsilli's (Deja Vu), with rewrites by geek screenwriter Justin Marks (Masters of the Universe, Super Max) and Randall Wallace (Braveheart).
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (2012 ?) Fox is prepping its own version of the classic Jules Verne tale with an equally pedigreed filmmaking team. Producers Ridley and Tony Scott and their Scott Free Prods. are developing a "Leagues" project for the studio with a script by "Clash of the Titans" co-writer Travis Beacham.
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