Top 6: Boat Movies

Posted in Top 6 at 8:30 am by Sam

We’ve covered trains and planes. Now it’s time for boats. In Episode 45, Stephen and I compile lists of our favorite boat movies. What are yours?

As always, we recommend listening to the episode before reading further.

  1. Jaws (1975)
  2. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
  3. Apocalypse Now (1979)
  4. The Lady Eve (1941)
  5. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
  6. The Caine Mutiny (1954)
  1. Lifeboat (1944)
  2. The Sea Hawk (1940)
  3. Mister Roberts (1955)
  4. The African Queen (1951)
  5. Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)
  6. Mutiny On the Bounty (1935)


  1. Jeffrey (84) said,

    August 7, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Some alternates: Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Blood, Titanic, The Bedford Incident, A Night To Remember, Fitzcarraldo, Run Silent Run Deep, Dead Calm, Open Water, and Knife In The Water.

    And just for fun: Muppets Treasure Island, and Hot Shots! Part Deux for the part where Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen pass by each other on river boats and say “I loved you in Wall Street!”

  2. joem18b (231) said,

    August 7, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Drama on the water:

    1. Lakeboat (2000) - Autobiographical Mamet, with a show-stopping monologe by Robert Forster.

    2. The Cat’s Meow (2001) - Bogdanovich, still working. Eddie Izzard plays Charlie Chaplin. Takes place on William Randolph Hearst’s yacht in 1924.

    3. Show Boat (1951) - Music on “The Cotton Blossom.” (With a nod to Maverick (1994) for the riverboat genre.)

    4. The Impostors (1998) - Cruise ship in the ’30s.

    5. Ship of Fools (1965) - Low-budget cruise ship. Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Lee Marvin, Jose Ferrer, Oscar Werner, Elizabeth Ashley, George Segal, Jose Greco, Michael Dunn are among the fools.

    6. The Crimson Pirate (1952) - One of the top five of my youth. Lancaster the former trapeze artist.

    Honorable mention: The Perfect Storm (2000), for the big wave; Wake of the Red Witch, for the old-fashioned diving suit and deadly octopus; Ghost Ship (2002), for a horror entry; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), cause how do you leave off The Nautilus?

    Learning history the easy way:

    1. Midway (1976)

    2. The Vikings (1958)

    3. The New World (2005) - Malick.

    4. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) - Depardieu as Columbus. Sigourney Weaver as Queen Isabella…

    5. Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) - Puzo the screenplay! Brando as Torquemada! Tom Selleck, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio Del Toro. What’s not to like? One of these two Columbus movies also had a bevy of playboy-bunny-type Native Americans but kept its PG-13 anyway.

    6. Noah’s Ark (1998) - Jon Voight off the Runaway Train and into the ark; Mary Steenburgen, to help repopulate the world; and James Coburn as the peddler.

    A few military boats:

    1. Sink the Bismarck! (1960) - By the author of the Hornblower books.
    2. In Harm’s Way (1965) - John Wayne entry.
    3. Flat Top (1952) - Before CGI there was U.S. Army footage.
    4. The Battle of the River Plate (1956) - Pursuit of the Graf Spee.
    5. Das Boot (1981) - Standing in for all those submarine movies.
    6. The Sand Pebbles (1966) - The boat my father served on from 1926 to 1930.

    Honorable mention:. PT 109 (1963) - Need one with a U.S. president.

  3. Outatime (13) said,

    August 8, 2007 at 3:15 am

    Cape fear

    oh, and Titanic

  4. wintermute (157) said,

    August 8, 2007 at 7:59 am

    No-one mentioned Under Siege or Down Periscope? Not even Sinbad of the Seven Seas?

    For shame.

  5. Grishny (156) said,

    August 8, 2007 at 9:03 am

    What about The Poseidon Adventure and it’s recent remake Poseidon? The original is better but I like both. Also, if subs are allowed, then The Hunt for Red October and K-19: The Widowmaker would both make my short list.

  6. Sam (405) said,

    August 8, 2007 at 11:49 am

    joem, you get negative brownie points for mentioning Noah’s Ark. I’d rant about it, but a friend of mine has already done so on RinkWorks: It’s a Bad Bad Bad Bad Movie: Reader Review: Noah’s Ark.

    A lot of the other titles mentioned in this thread so far were on my lengthy short list. As with the Trains list, I wound up excluding a lot I didn’t like to. Captain Blood is a particularly great movie. I made myself choose between Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk. Others, like The Crimson Pirate, also just had to be squeezed out to make room for a broader range of selections.

    I disqualified submarine movies from consideration just to make the selection process manageable. Stephen didn’t disqualify them but didn’t wind up with any anyway. I think my Top 6 sub movies would have to include “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” even though so little of it takes place on the sub. I always liked Crimson Tide, too.

    I wouldn’t include K-19, although it was good enough, but I’d be tempted to, because I’ve been on the sub that was filmed on. It’s docked in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (not far from where the Mayflower II is docked) and is open to the public for a modest admission. I recommend it for those of you who are anywhere near that are. It’s a real Russian sub, though not a nuclear sub, and was captured by the Americans during the Cold War. I had a blast walking through it and imagining what life must have been like on it. The sub looks claustrophobic on film, but it looks so much smaller in real life. The detail that fascinated me the most was how the tiny table in the dining area doubled as the surgeon’s operating table.

  7. wintermute (157) said,

    August 8, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    I’ve been on the USS Pampanito which is moored on a pier in San Francisco, and after I mentioned Down Periscope above, I looked at its IMDb trivia page, and discovered it was filmed on that very same submarine.

    Now that’s a small ship.

  8. Jeffrey (84) said,

    August 9, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Dare I say it…..Waterworld.
    Well, at least I didn’t say Captain Ron or Speed 2: Cruise Control.

  9. joem18b (231) said,

    August 9, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    I was thinking that it might be fun to try and come up with a top-six boat list with a higher total IMDB viewer rating than either Sam or Stephen’s. Not that such a list would mean anything, the IMDB viewer ratings being as idiosyncratic as they are, but still…

    However, when I checked out the ratings for the Sam and Stephen lists, I realized that I probably couldn’t do it, and it turns out that without using Victory at Sea (8.9), I couldn’t. The best I could do was a tie, and for that I had to use POTC. The IMDB viewers failed me on Tugboat Annie and Little Toot, both of which I was counting on. (Bogart is the man for highly rated boat movies.)

    Sam Stephen Other

    Mutiny 7.9 Caine Mutiny 8.1 Fitcarraldo 8.1
    Hornblower 7.5 Master and Commander 7.5 Das Boot 8.5
    African Queen 8.1 Lady Eve 8.1 L’Atalante 8.1
    Mr. Roberts 7.8 Apocalypse Now 8.5 POTC: COTBP 8.0
    The Sea Hawk 7.7 Aguirre 8.1 To Have/Have Not 8.1
    Lifeboat 7.9 Jaws 8.3 Captains Courageous 7.8

  10. LaZorra (60) said,

    August 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Even though most of it has nothing to do with boats.

  11. Stephen (221) said,

    August 12, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    In what crazy bizarro universe is the Pirates of the Caribbean movie rated higher than Master and Commander? Sigh. Sometimes I hate you, movie-going public.

  12. wintermute (157) said,

    August 13, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    In this crazy, bizzaro universe, Stephen.

    Better get cracking on that wormhole generator…

  13. Nyperold (116) said,

    August 13, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Me am shocked, too. Only not.

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