The Ten Best Sailing Movies

By Kathleen Brooks


Whether it's curling up on a rainy day in front of the television to view a film classic, or venturing out to the cinema to soak up atmosphere from the other moviegoers, there's nothing like an adventure at sea. One of the most popular types of film are sailing movies. These may be subdivided into several different categories.

One genre of nautical flicks is those with a military theme. One such specimen is 2003's, "Master and Commander, " starring Russel Crowe. Here, we see Crowe as the British captain pushing his ship and his crew to their limits in pursuit of a French warship during the Napoleonic Wars. Nominated for six Academy Awards and starring Klaus Wennemann, Jurgen Prochnow, and Herbert Gronemeyer, "Das Boot, " released in 1981, was mesmerizing viewers, both in English or in the original German with English subtitles.

Another category of sailing film includes stories about hapless souls having misadventures at sea. Excellent examples include, "Adrift, " a nail-biting thriller from 2006 about a group of men and women who go diving off their boat without making sure there was a ladder or other means of getting back on board. In "White Squall, " set in the 1960s, a group of teenage boys embark on the sailing trip of a lifetime, only to confront the storm of a lifetime.

The perennially popular five-feature film franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean, " began with the "Curse of the Black Pearl, " and concludes (or does it?) in 2017 with, "Dead Men Tell No Tales." A sixth film is under consideration. The series is masterminded by the legendary Jerry Bruckheimer, the brains behind television hits such as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, " and adventure movies, "The Rock, " "Con Air, " and "Top Gun."

Aging fishermen never seem to lose their appeal as leading characters. Ernest Hemingway's fishy tale, "The Old Man and the Sea, " has been released twice, four decades apart. Both films starred eminent actors Spencer Tracy (1958) and Anthony Quinn (1999) in the starring role. It has also been made into an animated cartoon lasting 20 minutes.

Those who enjoy harrowing drama should view "All is Lost, " a 2013 release featuring Robert Redford. There is no dialogue, which is hardly surprising. Redford has his hands full coping with the aftermath of a collision with a shipping container while battling a fierce storm.

"Dead Calm, " offers levels of terror similar to those found in "All is Lost, " but from a different angle. Grieving couple, Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill go on a romantic cruise to put their lives back together. It's all going swimmingly until the psychopathic shipwrecked sailor comes along.

The sea provides a stage for all types of stories, from war films, to romance and psychological thrillers. Pirate movies are in a genre all their own. Sometimes, the most dramatic stories take place with a small handful of characters, making them perfectly suitable for the claustrophobic confines of a seagoing vessel. The combination of confined spaces and minimal casts enables the director to fully develop the characters of the individuals and the way in which they interact with one another.




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