Greatest boat movies of all time

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Vote for the boat movie you think is the greatest of all time

Greatest boat movies of all time
Greatest boat movies of all time
I was going to talk about important topics like the Australian Marine Reserves Network proposal but for some reason – no it is not apathy – I just can’t be as*ed to climb on my soap box this month. So instead, possibly motivated by Melbourne’s weather which is doing a great job of keeping me off the water, I thought a list of my favourite flicks afloat for your critical analysis was appropriate.

Das Boot (The Boat) – the classic German U-boat movie. A 1981 epic war flick and one of the most expensive German movies ever made. I remember watching it with my grandfather, a WWII veteran, and being fascinated but deeply chilled at the same time. Few could argue that any big screen presentation has done a better job of depicting the tedium, excitement, and bone chilling fear of life aboard a submarine at war.

The Perfect Storm – based on a true story of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat from Gloucester, Massachusetts, that foundered with all souls during a 1991 storm of enormous magnitude. In 2000 when this film was released I was working on a swordfishing boat and so was very familiar with much of the content. As a seafarer it is easy to be picky about some of the scenes that are unlikely to have been possible – such as the one where George Clooney is hanging on to the end of an outrigger with a gas torch cutting the stabilizing bird loose in a force 10 gale – but those details aside it’s one helluva story. Interestingly the director Wolfgang Peterson also wrote and directed Das Boot; could he be the best boat film director of all time?

Jaws – this 1975 thriller sets the standard for movies that keep people out of the water. As a part time dive boat skipper in the late ‘90s it was a standing joke to play the theme song anytime we had trouble getting punters back on the boat at the end of a day’s work. Even the boldest Gen Y’er won’t stay in water when they can’t see the bottom with that music playing. As a fisherman, Jaws is also responsible for my all-time favourite quote: "We’re gonna need a bigger boat". Gotta love pulling that one out in the heat of battle.

Master and Commander : The Far Side of the World – just in case you wondered what it might have been like to serve under Lord Nelson. Although some would argue it is not quite deep enough to be classic, I reckon it has everything a good boat movie needs. A slightly manic and fiercely honourable captain leads a rum-soaked but loyal crew through a vicious storm the wrong way around Cape Horn and into a shoulder -to-shoulder gun battle with a far superior foe. What more could you ask for? Well, maybe a few wenches.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – sure it’s a bit frivolous, but who hasn’t dreamed of sailing on the Black Pearl? Jack Sparrow defines what it means to be a Captain and the opening sequence where he sails a sinking boat into the harbour only to nonchalantly step off the top of its mast onto the dock just as the boat disappears into the briny is superb. It’s got rum, wenches, cannons, pirates, shipwrecks, treasure, and the un-dead.

Titanic – my better half wanted me to put this one in, but who’s list is this? Way too much romance, no sharks, and no cannons.

Cheers for now,


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[IMAGE CREDIT: Calypso Star Charters]


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