Iconic Boating Movies

If you are passionate all about boating, ships… anything that is connected with life and adventure in the sea, then you should check out these iconic boating movies.


Known as Nóż w wodzie in Polish, this is director Roman Polanski’s widely acclaimed first feature film before moving to Hollywood. This 1961 drama film starts with a married couple going on a boating holiday. Then they encounter a young hitch-hiker who joins them on their sailing trip. Watch the bitter clash between the established and the fledgeling, not to mention the sexual tension that arises among them.


Lifeboat may be one of the lesser-known films by the legendary British director Alfred Hitchcock, but it is by no means less compelling. This is another one of his “one-set wonders” that also include RopeDial M for Murder and Rear Window, but this time the characters are cramped in the titular vessel. Tensions, lack of food and rations, and even lesser chances of rescue drive the survivors crazy. But there’s a surprise in the end, and we don’t want to spoil it.


Renowned sci-fi author Ray Bradbury wrote this 1956 big-screen adaptation of this classic Herman Melville novel. Starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab the movie mesmerizes the audience by visualizing the world of 19th-century whaling.


Starring real-life partners Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Overboard is a comedy and romance film released in 1987. It tells of a spoiled heiress and her dismissed carpenter whom she despised, and who also despises her as well. When she falls overboard inside her yacht, she begins to suffer amnesia. Knowing her condition, the carpenter plans to exact revenge by telling everyone that she is his wife and the mother of his own four young boys.


The Caine Mutiny is a tale of the shipboard clash and a mutiny that aboard a fictitious World War II warship and the following court-martial. Released in 1954, it stars Humphrey Bogart, José Ferrer, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray and Robert Francis. Directed by Stanley Kramer, this celluloid adaptation of Herman Wouk’s novel became one of the highest-grossing films that year.


The Old Man and the Sea is the 1958 big-screen adaptation of a novella by Ernest Hemingway. It is directed by John Sturges and stars Spencer Tracy in his Oscar-nominated role as a hard-luck fisherman who has been looking for a big catch for 84 days.


In this 1940 film adaptation of the Rafael Sabatini novel of the same name, Errol Flynn plays (what else?) a privateer during the time of the Spanish Armada. If you want to see a more faithful celluloid adaptation, better refer to the 1924 silent film version.


This disaster/epic romance film is loosely based on the infamous sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. Directed by James Cameron and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the film became the biggest blockbuster hit in 1997. It won a record 11 Oscars, tying with 1959’s Ben-Hur and later The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.


Under Siege stars Steven Seagal as a cook at a galley of the USS Missouri when the mercenaries try to hijack the ship. What they don’t realize is that Seagal is a former Navy SEAL, with comprehensive knowledge and experience in anti-terrorism tactics.


Kevin Costner’s post-apocalyptic, futuristic science fiction film about the world getting completely submerged with water received mixed reviews and was mediocre at the box-office. However, it became profitable mostly due to video sales.


This drama film directed by Ridley Scott is based on a true-to-life tragedy of the brigantine Albatross, which sank in 1961 supposedly because of the white squall (a violent windstorm occurring in the sea).


Another Ridley Scott film, 1492: Conquest of Paradise is a fictionalized account of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the New World. This epic sea adventure was a failure at the box office.


The original Cape Fear in 1962 stars Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Robert Balsam. All three actors did reprisal cameos in Martin Scorsese’s 1991 remake starring Robert DeNiro, Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange. The movie tells about a small-town attorney whose family is stalked by an ex-convict (and rapist) that he helped send to prison eight years ago.


This 1989 Aussie thriller stars Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane. A married couple’s pleasurable yachting holiday turns awry when a homicidal guy joins them. Watch out for the suspenseful action which involves the use of flare guns and harpoons.