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Top 50 Best Underwater Movies To Watch In 2023
Shivam-Updated June 29, 2023
Water has the power to not only inspire and induce fear but also corrupt. It is not surprising then that its sovereignty and capability can never be disputed, no matter the conflicts.
However, water and water bodies have been put to a decent use through various means and sources.
One of the most remarkable ways to utilize the power of water is through a thrilling projection of oceans and seas on celluloid.
And, if the aim is to depict an ocean and construct a plot around it, the outcome is seldom uneventful.
Since a lot many motion pictures strive to use isolation and a foreign atmosphere to attain the desired impact, the on-screen portrayal of large water bodies works like magic.
This is not only because oceans carry the complexity of being both haunting and beautiful at the same time but also because an ocean continues to remain an ocean even when it is resting in silence.
Therefore, the portrayal of large water bodies in several aquatic-themed features have managed to gain a lot of traction over the years.
This compels us to bring to you a story on some of the finest underwater and aquatic-themed motion pictures to have ever hit the screens.
50. Pressure (2015)
Filmed by Ron Scalpello, Pressure is a 2015 feature film that traces the journey of a group of divers recruited to mend an oil pipeline at the bottom of the sea.
However, things go haywire when the vessel carrying the divers' pod, unfortunately, sinks as a dangerous storm threatens to disrupt their mission.
Needless to say, this leaves the divers stuck at the bottom of the sea. With their oxygen supply running out, they desperately try to get in touch with their team on the surface.
What is left for the viewers to see is if they are saved by the oil company, or if they will be left to fend for themselves at the bottom of the sea.
49. The Meg (2018)
|Watch time||113 min|
|Cast||Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis|
|Domestic Box office||$143.01M|
|Music By||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Cinematography By||Tom Stern|
|Costume By||Amber Richards|
The Meg has been helmed for the screen by Jon Turteltaub and stars Jason Statham in the lead.
Actors like Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis also make their presence felt in supporting roles.
The film follows the journey of a deep-sea diver, Jonas Taylor, who is hired to save members of an underwater research facility.
However, the threat is bigger than what he could have possibly imagined: a 75-foot prehistoric shark. Even though Statham's Taylor is an expert diver, the mission that he decides to undertake is pretty much equivalent to committing suicide.
48. The Bay (2012)
|Watch time||84 min|
|Cast||Will Rogers, Kristen Connolly, Kether Donohue, Frank Deal|
|Domestic Box office||$0.03M|
|Music By||Marcelo Zarvos|
|Cinematography By||Josh Nussbaum|
|Costume By||Glenn Peison|
This Barry Levinson directorial venture is a 2012 American mockumentary horror film that tries to tell the story of a seaside community in Maryland.
The community has to soon face the wrath of waterborne parasites that are created by susceptibility to toxic waste.
Written by Michael Wallach, The Bay stars Kether Donohue, Nansi Aluka, Christopher Denham, Frank Deal, and Kristen Connolly in key roles.
The project premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. It efficiently merges found-footage and eco-terror to convey its "message".
47. 47 Meters Down (2017)
Upon its official theatrical release, this Johannes Roberts directorial venture was heavily criticized for being an unabashed ripoff of 2016's entertaining feature The Shallows.
The film tells the story of two girls whose vacation turns into a major disaster after they end up getting trapped in a diving cage underwater.
However, the fact that they are trapped underwater does not seem as life-threatening as predatorial sharks trying to hunt them down does.
Surrounded by sharks and taking note of their finishing oxygen tanks, the girls plan to somehow survive. A sequel to this film, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, was also released theatrically in 2019.
46. Airport '77 (1977)
|Watch time||114 min|
|Cast||Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland|
|Domestic Box office||$30.00M|
|Music By||John Cacavas|
|Cinematography By||Philip H. Lathrop|
|Costume By||Edith Head|
This Jerry Jameson directorial venture stars a number of renowned veteran actors in significant roles.
It deals with a subject of an air disaster and soon turns into an underwater feature. After art thieves hijack a 747, the aircraft crashes into the ocean.
This leaves the thieves, as well as the passengers, hundreds of feet under the water as the battle for survival begins.
Despite opening to mixed reviews, Airport '77 went on to amass over $91 million at the global box office.
45. Lake Placid (1999)
|Watch time||82 min|
|Cast||Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson|
|Domestic Box office||$31.77M|
|Writers||David E. Kelley|
|Music By||John Ottman|
|Cinematography By||Daryn Okada|
|Costume By||Tedd Kuchera|
It is not necessary that every underwater feature has to be set in the depths of the vast oceans.
So, say hello to Lake Placid; a 1999 motion picture that is set around the fictional territory of Black Lake.
The story of this mainstream title tracks how an incredulously large crocodile threatens to destroy both the lives and livelihoods of the locals and wildlife alike.
It is an unapologetic popcorn entertainer that has been injected with sporadic jump scares to entertain its audience.
44. Lady in Cement (1968)
|Title||Lady in Cement|
|Watch time||93 min|
|Cast||Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Richard Conte, Martin Gabel|
|Domestic Box office||---|
|Writers||Marvin H. Albert|
|Music By||Hugo Montenegro|
|Cinematography By||Joseph F. Biroc|
|Costume By||Layne Britton|
This motion picture has been directed by Gordon Douglas and stars actors like Frank Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Dan Blocker, Richard Conte, Martin Gabel, Lainie Kazan, and Pat Henry in key roles.
The story traces the journey of a Miami detective named Tony Rome (played by Frank Sinatra), who locates a woman’s body during a dive into the ocean.
He notices that the feet of the dead body has been encased in a concrete block. Needless to say, he cannot stop himself from getting to the core of the case.
This neo-noir mystery crime comedy thriller is usually considered to be a sequel to Tony Rome.
43. The Reef (2010)
This Australian thriller has been helmed for the screen by director Andrew Traucki. It stars Damian Walshe-Howling, Zoe Naylor, Gyton Grantley, and Adrienne Pickering in crucial roles.
The film tells the story of Luke and his pals who sail to Indonesia to deliver a yacht. However, their journey is cut short when the yacht gets hit and capsizes, forcing them into shark-infested water.
The group has to survive twelve miles of water before they can reach a nearby mountain.
Helpless and scared out of their wits, some of the group members decide to risk swimming to a nearby island in order to save themselves. Soon, things get out of control when a great white shark starts chasing them.
42. Leviathan (1989)
|Watch time||98 min|
|Directors||George P. Cosmatos|
|Cast||Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Amanda Pays, Daniel Stern|
|Domestic Box office||$15.70M|
|Writers||David Webb Peoples|
|Music By||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Cinematography By||Alex Thomson|
|Costume By||Bruno Cesari|
This George P. Cosmatos directorial venture traces the journey of a crew of deep-sea miners that is spearheaded by head oceanographer Steven Beck.
As the group reaches its desired destination to supervise an underwater mining operation, the oceanographer dives deep into the ocean. Sooner than later, the group stumbles upon a sunken ship.
Not only that but they also end up discovering a creature that starts to massacre crew members. With his crew's life and the ship in danger, Beck has no option but to save as many as he can and get back on land as soon as possible.
While Leviathan can turn out to be a fair guilty pleasure watch, one cannot deny the fact that it has borrowed inspiration from classic motion pictures such as The Thing and Alien.
41. Open Water (2003)
|Watch time||79 min|
|Cast||Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Michael E. Williamson|
|Domestic Box office||$30.61M|
|Music By||Graeme Revell|
|Cinematography By||Chris Kentis|
|Costume By||Nathan Barr|
This American survival horror thriller film has been written and directed for the screen by Chris Kentis. Loosely based on the true story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, the motion picture traces the journey of two scuba divers who accidentally end up getting stranded in shark-infested waters.
This happens as their tour boat departs after making an inaccurate headcount; thus, leaving the two behind. What follows is a series of thrilling events that alert the viewers that true horror is actually lurking just below the surface of the ocean.
Open Water managed to receive above-average reviews from the audience and critics alike.
40. Underwater (2020)
|Watch time||95 min|
|Cast||Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller|
|Domestic Box office||---|
|Music By||Marco Beltrami Brandon Roberts|
|Cinematography By||Bojan Bazelli|
|Costume By||Karen Frick|
Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel star in this aquatic creature-themed motion picture that tells the story of Norah and her ambitious team.
The squad faces major issues as they find themselves trapped in a dangerous situation while doing what they do best at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Things get exciting for the viewers when they catch the group stumbling upon and, ultimately, battling an unidentified species underwater.
However, the situation takes a turn for the worse as the team's facility is destroyed and they are stalked by monster-like creatures, making it the ultimate battle of survival.
39. Into the Blue (2005)
|Title||Into the Blue|
|Watch time||110 min|
|Cast||Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, Ashley Scott|
|Domestic Box office||$18.47M|
|Music By||Paul Haslinger|
|Cinematography By||Shane Hurlbut|
|Costume By||Les Boothe|
This action-thriller has been directed by John Stockwell and features a cast headlined by known screen performers such as Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, Ashley Scott, Josh Brolin, and James Frain.
The screenplay tracks the journey of Jared and Sam, who, upon searching for treasures in the vast ocean, chance upon something entirely unexpected.
They find bags of cocaine crammed inside a sunken plane. This discovery attracts the attention of a ruthless drug kingpin who would go to any extent to steal the bags from them.
Unfortunately, Into the Blue proved to be both a critical and commercial failure upon its theatrical release in 2005.
38. Sanctum (2011)
|Watch time||108 min|
|Cast||Rhys Wakefield, Allison Cratchley, Christopher James Baker, Richard Roxburgh|
|Domestic Box office||$23.07M|
|Music By||David Hirschfelder|
|Cinematography By||Jules O'Loughlin|
|Costume By||Mirela Rupic|
Distributed by Universal Pictures, Sanctum is a 2011 thriller film that has been helmed for the screen by Alister Grierson.
Actors Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie, and Ioan Gruffudd can be seen playing key roles in the motion picture.
The story follows a fellow diver named Frank McGuire who gets cut off from his team of divers while they are out exploring an unmapped, undercover, and complicated network of caves.
Whether the divers' abilities benefit them in finding a way out is what forms the rest of the storyline in this adventure-thriller.
37. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
|Title||Deep Blue Sea|
|Watch time||105 min|
|Cast||Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, Jacqueline McKenzie|
|Domestic Box office||$73.65M|
|Music By||Trevor Rabin|
|Cinematography By||Stephen F. Windon|
|Costume By||Debra Echard|
Who would have thought that finding a permanent cure for Alzheimer's disease can turn out to be a task that can put the lives of a group of researchers in jeopardy?
That is precisely what happens when the group strives to find a cure for the aforementioned disease by genetically modifying shark brains.
However, trouble soon follows as the genetically modified and hyper-intelligent sharks start hunting down the scientists. Sooner than later, McAlester and his crew are outnumbered by the sharks.
They must prevent the hyper-intelligent sharks from escaping into the open sea and, ultimately, from overpowering the planet.
36. Piranha (1978)
|Watch time||94 min|
|Cast||Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies-Urich, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn|
|Domestic Box office||$6.00M|
|Music By||Pino Donaggio|
|Cinematography By||Jamie Anderson|
|Costume By||Rob Bottin|
Director Joe Dante's Piranha traces the journey of Maggie McKeown; an investigator who gets a pool drained in a vacant compound while scrutinizing the disappearance of two teenagers.
However, during the process of the investigation, she accidentally releases thousands of deadly fishes into a river that is often frequented by residents and visitors who come for the purpose of camping.
Piranha is one of those motion pictures in a series of low-budget B movies whose production has been inspired by the phenomenal box office success of filmmaker Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic Jaws.
Released in the August of 1978, it went on to become a box office hit and, consequently, a cult feature film.
35. Deep Rising (1998)
|Watch time||106 min|
|Cast||Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Anthony Heald, Kevin J. O'Connor|
|Domestic Box office||$11.20M|
|Music By||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Cinematography By||Howard Atherton|
|Costume By||Annmarie Corbett|
Filmmaker Stephen Sommers attempts to tell the story of a brand new cruise ship that sets sail to meet its untimely and rather unfortunate demise.
Needless to say, the passengers do not meet a better fate and are soon killed by a monstrous sea creature.
In the middle of all the bloodshed, a gang of jewel thieves, that was planning to rob everyone on board blind, gets trapped with little scope to escape.
Even though this popcorn entertainer failed both critically and commercially upon its release, some of the people who went to catch this project in the cinemas actually ended up enjoying it.
That said, Deep Rising has gone on to become a cult classic of sorts over the past two decades.
34. Crawl (2019)
Crawl tells the story of competitive swimmer Haley who is forced to drive into the mouth of a furiously-destructive Category-5 hurricane in order to save her father.
However, while attempting to save her old man, she, unfortunately, finds herself trapped in a flooded house which is now populated with alligators. While this Alexandre Aja directorial venture is not a memorable film by any means, it certainly is a watchable low-budget thriller.
33. Cold Skin (2017)
Cold Skin is a science fiction horror feature film that has been directed by Xavier Gens.
The screenplay follows a meteorologist named Friend (played by David Oakes), who tours the secluded regions of the Antarctic circle after having been posted as a weather observer there.
However, the man soon finds out that the previous weather observer was killed by creatures from the sea.
Be that as it may, Friend observes more than what he was sent to observe and soon finds himself trapped among blood-thirsty creatures on the island.
Cold Skin relies on its visual style and killer makeup effects to deliver what it promises.
32. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)
|Title||Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea|
|Watch time||105 min|
|Cast||Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, Peter Lorre|
|Domestic Box office||---|
|Music By||Paul Sawtell Bert Shefter|
|Cinematography By||Winton C. Hoch|
|Costume By||Ben Nye|
Director Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea stars actors Walter Pidgeon, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, Peter Lorre, Robert Sterling, Michael Ansara, and Frankie Avalon in prominent roles.
It tells the story of United States Navy Admiral Harriman who makes a plan to protect humanity from a burning Van Allen radiation belt.
However, he has naysayers who doubt his lead and his mission and sanity are both insulted by a psychiatrist who is onboard. What follows next keeps the screenplay alive and kicking.
Even though his motion picture went into production more than half a century ago, it is difficult to ignore its theme of exploring the repercussions of global warming.
31. Sphere (1998)
|Watch time||134 min|
|Cast||Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote|
|Domestic Box office||$37.02M|
|Music By||Elliot Goldenthal|
|Cinematography By||Adam Greenberg|
|Costume By||Anne Kuljian|
Director Barry Levinson's Sphere stars distinguished screen performers like Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, and Liev Schreiber in prominent roles.
It tells the story of a team of experts that is sent on a mission to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The mission is to investigate a spacecraft. However, little do they know that the aircraft is full of their worst fears.
Even though Sphere features some of the finest actors and top-notch talent, the outcome of the project is more or less mixed.
Having said that, one cannot deny the fact that a certain section of the viewers might end up liking this science fiction psychological thriller that is based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton.
30. Below (2002)
|Watch time||105 min|
|Cast||Bruce Greenwood, David Crow, Matthew Davis, Holt McCallany|
|Domestic Box office||$0.61M|
|Music By||Graeme Revell|
|Cinematography By||Ian Wilson|
|Costume By||Richard Roberts|
Below has been helmed for the screen by David Twohy. This war-themed thriller attempts to tell the story of the crew of the American submarine USS Tiger Shark.
When the crew embarks on a cumbersome rescue mission, they start experiencing extraordinary paranormal activities during their already arduous journey.
This motion picture, which is set in the backdrop of war, also has a decent amount of mystery to please its viewers.
Not only that but it is also a tense aquatic thriller that can be considered to be a genre-bending feature.
The film stars Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Matthew Davis, Holt McCallany, Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng, and Dexter Fletcher in significant roles.
29. Virus (1980)
1980's Virus is one of the most distinct underwater features to make it to our story. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, it stars an international ensemble cast and has been produced in multiple languages.
The screenplay of the film shows how microbiologists end up discharging a pandemic known as the Italian Flu upon the planet.
Since the virus cannot survive at temperatures below ten degrees Celsius, about 855 men and women stationed in Antarctica are deemed to be safe.
Virus has an underwater element in the sense that it demonstrates how both the British and Soviet submarines race against time (and each other) to find a haven for themselves in Antarctica.
28. Rogue (2007)
|Watch time||99 min|
|Cast||Michael Vartan, Radha Mitchell, Sam Worthington, Caroline Brazier|
|Domestic Box office||$0.01M|
|Music By||François Tétaz|
|Cinematography By||Will Gibson|
|Costume By||Robert Webb|
Set in the Australian outback, this independent horror feature film has been written, produced, and directed by Greg McLean.
The screenplay traces the journey of an American journalist who, while on an assignment in Australia, is forced to face a 25 ft man-eating crocodile.
He is not alone in this misfortune, though. Along with him, a group of tourists and locals is also present. Together, they are compelled to hatch a plan to get past the trouble.
Rogue stars Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, and Sam Worthington in prominent roles. It is said that the project was inspired by the true story of a giant male saltwater crocodile named Sweetheart.
Even though Sweetheart is known to have attacked boats during the 1970s, its attack on humans has not really been verified so far.
The motion picture opened to fair reviews at the box office, but failed to be a commercial success.
27. The Deep (1977)
|Watch time||123 min|
|Cast||Jacqueline Bisset, Nick Nolte, Dick Anthony Williams, Robert Shaw|
|Domestic Box office||$6.84M|
|Music By||John Barry|
|Cinematography By||Christopher Challis|
|Costume By||Vernon Dixon|
This Peter Yates directorial venture stars Robert Shaw, Jacqueline Bisset, Nick Nolte, Louis Gossett, and Eli Wallach in crucial roles.
The film is based on Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel of the same name. The story follows the journey of a young American couple who find themselves entangled in a dangerous conflict with treasure hunters during their adventure.
However, there is a reason behind the conflict; it arises because the couple has been able to uncover a way into a fatal wreck in the Bermuda waters.
The Deep is credited with being one of the first mainstream features to illustrate the real underwater world in Panavision.
26. The Shallows (2016)
|Watch time||86 min|
|Cast||Blake Lively, Ã“scar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo, Joseph Salas|
|Domestic Box office||$55.12M|
|Music By||Marco Beltrami|
|Cinematography By||Flavio Martínez Labiano|
|Costume By||Hugh Bateup|
The stunning Blake Lively stuns the viewers with her magnetic screen presence in the 2016 feature The Shallows.
Even though the storyline of the film is simple, the excitement that it manages to cultivate makes it no less than a triumph.
The thrilling motion picture traces the journey of Nancy who makes a plan to travel to an isolated beach.
While she is already coping with the demise of her mother, a tragedy or two may just follow.
So, as she continues to surf, Nancy is attacked by a great white shark that does not intend to let her out of its scary sight.
25. The Perfect Storm (2000)
|Title||The Perfect Storm|
|Watch time||130 min|
|Cast||George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane|
|Domestic Box office||$182.62M|
|Music By||James Horner|
|Cinematography By||John Seale|
|Costume By||William Sandell|
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, The Perfect Storm is a disaster drama film that stars actors George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, William Fichtner, Karen Allen, Bob Gunton, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and John C. Reilly in important roles.
Based on the 1997 non-fiction book of the same name, it traces the journey of Captain Billy Tyne and his crew who joyously embark on a fishing expedition.
However, things take a turn for the worse as their ship gets caught in a disastrous storm. The Perfect Storm managed to gross about $328 million worldwide post its release.
24. Black Sea (2014)
|Watch time||114 min|
|Cast||Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, David Threlfall|
|Domestic Box office||$1.17M|
|Music By||Ilan Eshkeri|
|Cinematography By||Christopher Ross|
|Costume By||Nick Palmer|
Director Kevin Macdonald's the Black Sea features a cast headlined by actors like Jude Law, Konstantin Khabensky, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, and David Threlfall.
The screenplay tracks the journey of a veteran salvager Robinson, who, after having lost his source of employment, assembles a squad of English and Russian men to go on a tough mission.
The mission is to search for a Nazi U-boat that is loaded with solid gold. The catch here is that the U-boat was sunk in the Black Sea.
While this motion picture may not exactly be an underwater classic, it does thrive on its meticulous direction and a sharp lead performance by Law.
23. The Frogmen (1951)
|Watch time||96 min|
|Cast||Richard Widmark, Dana Andrews, Gary Merrill, Jeffrey Hunter|
|Domestic Box office||---|
|Writers||John Tucker Battle|
|Music By||Cyril J. Mockridge|
|Cinematography By||Norbert Brodine|
|Costume By||Thomas Little|
This American black-and-white World War II drama feature film has been bankrolled by Twentieth Century Fox and directed by Lloyd Bacon.
It traces the journey of a newly-stationed Lt. Cmdr. John Lawrence (portrayed by Richard Widmark) and how he handles both an elite team and the proceedings aboard a submarine in the Pacific during the time of the Second World War.
However, his leadership and the lives of his crew members are put at risk after a Japanese torpedo threatens to hit their boat.
Lawrence tries his absolute best to save his team and earn their respect by withstanding what seems like impending doom.
22. Adrift (2018)
|Watch time||96 min|
|Cast||Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Thomas, Elizabeth Hawthorne|
|Domestic Box office||$31.45M|
|Music By||Volker Bertelmann|
|Cinematography By||Robert Richardson|
|Costume By||Heimir Sverrisson|
Adrift paints a vivid picture of what could go wrong if one gets stranded in the middle of a sea or an ocean during a sailing trip.
It tells the story of Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp who are forced to face the unthinkable after they find themselves stranded in the Pacific Ocean after a Category 4 hurricane brings their trip to a total standstill.
Based on a true story and adapted from the 2002 book Red Sky at Mourning by Tami Oldham Ashcraft, this motion picture has been helmed for the screen by Baltasar Kormákur. It stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin as a couple.
21. The Silent Enemy (1958)
Helmed by William Fairchild, The Silent Enemy stars actors Laurence Harvey, Dawn Addams, John Clements, Michael Craig, and Sid James in crucial roles.
The film is based on the real-life story of a master diver in the British Navy, named Lionel “Buster” Crabb (played by Harvey).
The entertaining screenplay tracks how Navy frogmen attempt to deter the Italians from attaching mines to British ships during the tense period of the Second World War.
The Silent Enemy thrives on its drama, humor, and setting and is a decent mix of fact and fiction.
20. K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
|Title||K-19: The Widowmaker|
|Watch time||138 min|
|Cast||Harrison Ford, Sam Spruell, Peter Stebbings, Christian Camargo|
|Domestic Box office||$35.17M|
|Music By||Klaus Badelt|
|Cinematography By||Jeff Cronenweth|
|Costume By||Karl Júlíusson Michael Novotny|
Director Kathryn Bigelow's K-19: The Widowmaker stars talented actors like Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, and Peter Sarsgaard in pivotal roles. It is set against the backdrop of the Cold War.
After Soviet Union's freshly dispatched submarine K-19 suffers a major complication during its maiden voyage, Captain Alexei Vostrikov and Officer Mikhail Polenin strategize to avoid a potential nuclear disaster that can lead to the beginning of the Third World War.
The motion picture opened to mixed reviews at the ticket counters and failed to break even financially.
19. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
This John Glen directorial venture is the second James Bond flick to make it to our list. Set during the troubled era of the Cold War, the screenplay traces how Agent 007 (played by Roger Moore) is given the task to find a missing British ship that comprises a weapons-encryption device.
The British Navy does not want the device to fall into the hands of the Russians. Bond, accompanied by his beautiful girl, is seen swimming through the sunken wreck and avoiding bombs to complete this deadly mission; all while facing the onslaught of the enemy.
18. Aquaman (2018)
|Watch time||143 min|
|Cast||Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson|
|Domestic Box office||$335.06M|
|Writers||David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick|
|Music By||Rupert Gregson-Williams|
|Cinematography By||Don Burgess|
|Costume By||Bill Brzeski|
Arthur, who is half-human and half-Atlantean, takes birth with the outstanding ability to communicate with aquatic creatures.
Soon after, he is compelled to go on a mission to fetch the legendary Trident of Atlan and safeguard the water world from destructive threats.
This superhero underwater feature film has been helmed by James Wan and stars Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, and Nicole Kidman in crucial roles.
Aquaman received good feedback on its action sequences and visual effects and went on to become the highest-grossing DCEU feature.
17. Thunderball (1965)
Director Terence Young's James Bond flick, Thunderball, stars actors like Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, and Rik Van Nutter in prominent roles.
The film tracks how two atomic bombs are looted from a NATO plane by A SPECTRE agent. This is exactly when super agent James Bond is brought into the picture.
He is entrusted with the task of going on a mission to not only recover the warheads but also to put a full stop to the cruel plans of the dreaded criminal organization.
Thunderball was the third and final James Bond feature film to be helmed by Terence Young.
16. Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)
|Title||Creature from the Black Lagoon|
|Watch time||79 min|
|Cast||Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno|
|Domestic Box office||$1.30M|
|Music By||Henry Mancini|
|Cinematography By||William E. Snyder|
|Costume By||Russell A. Gausman Ray Jeffers|
While not many film buffs may have heard about or seen Creature From The Black Lagoon, it is one of the only aquatic-themed features whose development has been as significant as the global blockbuster Jaws.
Jack Arnold's trend-setting Universal monster movie from 1954 traces a scientific expedition that is carried out along the Amazon River.
However, during the process of the expedition, the team chances upon an amphibious-humanoid creature known to the residents as the Black Lagoon.
The rest of the screenplay attempts to show if the group is able to capture the spices for good, or, for worse.
15. All Is Lost (2013)
|Title||All Is Lost|
|Watch time||106 min|
|Cast||Robert Redford, Dyapa Gnaneshwar Reddy|
|Domestic Box office||$6.26M|
|Music By||Alex Ebert|
|Cinematography By||Frank G. DeMarco|
|Costume By||Marco Niro|
All Is Lost endeavors to tell the story of a man who is out on a solo voyage. However, after his yacht clashes with a shipping container, he is forced to endure extreme weather conditions to survive.
Worse still, he is running out of supplies. This J. C. Chandor directorial venture, which stars Robert Redford in the main lead, allows its atmospheric setting to do the talking.
What's interesting about this feature is that its screenplay comprises only 51 spoken English words. All Is Lost was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound Editing and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.
14. The Little Mermaid (2023)
The Little Mermaid offers most things you expect from a trademark Disney feature. It banks on its dazzling underwater visuals and decent performances to indulge you in its mystery.
However, the cinematography, surprisingly, comes off as a little less bright, especially in scenes where the colors should have shined even more. That said, the motion picture's soundtrack is sparked by nostalgia that reminds you why you may have fallen for its timeless tale in the first place. A treat for ardent Disney fans.
13. Greyhound (2020)
|Watch time||91 min|
|Cast||Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham, Matt Helm|
|Domestic Box office||---|
|Music By||Blake Neely|
|Cinematography By||Shelly Johnson|
|Costume By||David Crank|
Greyhound, starring the classy Tom Hanks in the lead, aims to depict the horrors encountered at sea during the Second World War.
Directed ambitiously by Aaron Schneider, the film traces the journey of Commander Ernest Krause of the United States Navy, who is tasked with spearheading an Allied convoy of thirty-seven troops and supply ships across the North Atlantic.
However, things take a turn for the worse when the convey starts getting stalked by a German submarine wolf pack.
While Greybound may not exactly be an underwater feature, it does paint a rather vivid and tense picture of the complex working of the submarines.
The film illustrates a heroic chapter of courage by creating a claustrophobic environment and presenting a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse to its viewers.
12. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
|Title||The Poseidon Adventure|
|Watch time||117 min|
|Cast||Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons|
|Domestic Box office||$84.56M|
|Music By||John Williams|
|Cinematography By||Harold E. Stine|
|Costume By||William J. Creber|
The Poseidon Adventure is an American disaster feature that has been helmed for the screen by Ronald Neame.
Based on Paul Gallico's 1969 novel of the same name, it features an ensemble cast headlined by Oscar-winning actors such as Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters, and Red Buttons.
The story shows a luxurious passenger ship traveling from New York to Greece. However, on New Year's Eve, the unimaginable happens and the ship is turned upside down after facing a tremendous tidal wave.
Needless to say, almost all of the passengers perish except for a lucky few. But, are they really that fortunate to have survived after all? Go find out.
11. Men of Honor (2000)
|Title||Men of Honor|
|Watch time||129 min|
|Directors||George Tillman Jr.|
|Cast||Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron, Aunjanue Ellis|
|Domestic Box office||$48.82M|
|Writers||Scott Marshall Smith|
|Music By||Mark Isham|
|Cinematography By||Anthony B. Richmond|
|Costume By||Leslie Dilley|
Directed by George Tillman Jr., Men of Honor sees actors Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. playing significant characters.
The film has been inspired by the true story of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, who was the first African American master diver in the United States Navy.
The screenplay not only showcases how a United States Navy recruit becomes the force's first black diver but also goes on to demonstrate how he overpowers racism within the squad.
Even though this motion picture opened to mixed reviews at the box office, performances by De Niro and Cuba received great feedback from the critics.
10. Moana (2016)
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, Moana is a computer-animated musical adventure feature film that is based on the Polynesian culture. Therefore, multiple languages and Polynesian instruments have been used to record the melodies to keep the authenticity of the movie intact.
Not only does the music paint a vibrant picture of Moana's world but it also helps in the advancement of the characters. The story follows the brave daughter of a Polynesian village chief, Moana, who undertakes a journey to reunite a mystical relic with the goddess Te Fiti.
It is decided that she will embark on the mission after the plants and the fish on her island start perishing due to a blight. The feature film opened to positive reviews and was a bumper success at the global box office.
9. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
|Title||The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou|
|Watch time||119 min|
|Cast||Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett|
|Domestic Box office||$24.01M|
|Music By||Mark Mothersbaugh|
|Cinematography By||Robert D. Yeoman|
|Costume By||Mark Friedberg|
Acclaimed director Wes Anderson's critically acclaimed feature film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou stars talented screen performers such as Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, and Bud Cort in important roles.
The screenplay traces the journey of Steve Zissou and his crew who plan to go on an expedition to hunt down the shark that killed Steve's partner under mysterious circumstances.
Even though the film failed to mint money at the box office, it has gone on to develop a cult following years after its official theatrical release.
8. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
|Title||20,000 Leagues Under the Sea|
|Watch time||127 min|
|Cast||Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre|
|Domestic Box office||$28.20M|
|Music By||Paul J. Smith|
|Cinematography By||Franz Planer|
|Costume By||John Meehan Harper Goff|
This Richard Fleischer directorial venture stars Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre in crucial roles. It has been adapted from author Jules Verne's 1870 novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas.
The screenplay tracks the journey of a ship that is sent to scrutinize a series of mysterious sinkings. However, the boat soon chances upon an avant-garde submarine, named the Nautilus, that is under the direct supervision of Captain Nemo.
This Technicolor science fiction-adventure drama happens to be one of the first mainstream projects to be shot with the CinemaScope technology.
That is one of the primary reasons why 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea continues to be an experience worth relishing.
7. The Little Mermaid (1989)
Helmed by John Musker and Ron Clements, The Little Mermaid is credited with restarting Disney's run of animation masterpieces, especially after a string of mediocre releases during the 1980s.
The film thrives on the sturdy vocal performance by Jodi Benson and its fantastic antagonist. It also relied heavily on the music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken to make an impact.
Needless to say, its soundtrack has managed to stand the test of time. The story showcases how the sea witch Ursula cracks a tricky deal with Princess Ariel by permitting her to meet Eric, the human prince she adores.
However, Ariel is not exactly aware of the witch's true intentions and, consequently, ends up landing in trouble that is as deep as her admiration for Eric.
The Little Mermaid was praised for its animation, music, and characters. It was a critical and commercial success.
6. The Big Blue (1988)
Director Luc Besson's amazing motion picture, The Big Blue, stars Rosanna Arquette, Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Paul Shenar, Sergio Castellitto, Marc Duret, and Griffin Dunne in crucial roles.
It is a great exhibition of Besson's imagination, eye for visual technique, and unforgettable action. Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to call it one of the most spectacular underwater feature films to have ever been made for the big screen.
The amazing photography is aided by outstanding locations of the French Antibes, the Greek islands, Peru, and Taormina in Sicily.
In addition to the aforementioned plus points, the motion picture has an emotional undertone and tries to deal with mystical themes.
5. The Abyss (1989)
|Watch time||140 min|
|Cast||Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn, Leo Burmester|
|Domestic Box office||$54.46M|
|Music By||Alan Silvestri|
|Cinematography By||Mikael Salomon|
|Costume By||Leslie Dilley|
When a USA nuclear submarine USS Montana, with 156 men aboard, sinks without a trace after colliding with an unidentified submerged object, all hopes of its recovery are lost.
Fearing a threat to its national security, the United States government sends a SEAL team to Deep Core - a privately-owned underwater drilling platform - to assist the members working there in searching for possible survivors.
The plot thickens when the two teams, each with a different outlook on troubleshooting, join hands to devitalize the potential threat to their nation.
Director James Cameron's lifelong passion for exploring the endless blue and his staggering zeal to capture what lies beneath the skin of the ocean is on full display here.
Add to that the fact that the amazing performances, the claustrophobic setting, and the visual effects and sound design are par excellence in this underrated underwater masterpiece.
The Abyss has got to be the most stunning alien invasion story with the most thought-provoking depiction of aliens on-screen.
4. Life of Pi (2012)
|Title||Life of Pi|
|Watch time||127 min|
|Cast||Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu|
|Domestic Box office||$124.99M|
|Music By||Mychael Danna|
|Cinematography By||Claudio Miranda|
|Costume By||David Gropman|
While Life of Pi may not exactly be an underwater feature, it certainly is among the most beautiful films with a subject pertaining to a large water body.
Based on Yann Martel's 2001 novel of the same name, it has been produced and directed by Ang Lee.
Life of Pi stuns with its breathtakingly beautiful visuals and top-notch execution. For a refreshing change, it does not allow the viewers to experience terror merely by adding piranhas and sharks into its storytelling.
The film traces the journey of a boy named Pi Patel who has to fight for survival on a lifeboat in the middle of nowhere. In his journey, he is accompanied by a hyena and a male Bengal tiger.
3. Titanic (1997)
|Watch time||194 min|
|Cast||Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates|
|Domestic Box office||$659.33M|
|Music By||James Horner|
|Cinematography By||Russell Carpenter|
|Costume By||Peter Lamont|
James Cameron's magnum opus Titanic is arguably the most popular feature film to make it to our list. One of the highest-grossing motion pictures in the world despite having been released more than two decades ago, it features a lot many genuine underwater shots.
It is said that director Cameron dived 12 times to the wreck of the Titanic to capture the ship in its glory under the weight of the water.
When it comes to its on-screen execution, the filmmaker merges the original disaster story of the great ship with a timeless love story.
The screenplay showcases how a reticent and beautiful Rose, who hails from a noble family, falls head over heels in love with an artist named Jack Dawson on the ship.
Titanic turned its lead actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into overnight global movie stars.
2. Jaws (1975)
|Watch time||124 min|
|Cast||Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary|
|Domestic Box office||$260.00M|
|Music By||John Williams|
|Cinematography By||Bill Butler|
|Costume By||John M. Dwyer|
Arguably the most distinguished aquatic horror motion picture of all time, Jaws takes a decent amount of time to build the momentum, but delivers without fail.
This Steven Spielberg directorial venture is a game-changing movie of the genre in the true sense of the word.
Even today, it can manage to make its viewers anticipate the impending horror and excite them equally. The film tells the story of a police chief, a marine scientist, and a fisherman who try their best to save an island that has been terrorized by a great white shark.
This classic story was also a fine leap in technology for Hollywood. Needless to mention, Jaws continues to be the favorite aquatic motion picture of millions of viewers across the globe.
1. Avatar: The Way Of Water (2022)
James Cameron proves, yet again, that when your heart is in the right place, people will, indeed, "see" you. The filmmaker makes unerring use of advanced technology to tell a visually stunning, albeit liberal story, that realizes its roots in the family.
Cameron's lifelong passion for exploring the endless blue and his undeniable zeal to capture what lies beneath the skin of the ocean is on full display in this highly-anticipated sequel that goes on to explore Pandora distinctively.
Watching the unforgettable visuals and the heartwarming narrative come alive in 3D is enough to make you forget the minor flaws that the motion picture carries.
And, this is exactly where Jim derives his strength as a filmmaker. "The Way of Water" will always have its way with the viewers, and a fair chunk of the credit, besides its reliance on its wonderfully filmed underwater sequences, must also go to the subplot that captures the heart-warming bond between Lo'ak and Payakan.
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