There’s something about the thrill of movies set underwater: the sheer thought of being contained on a piece of material among the vast ocean sends shivers. And what best movies to watch than submarine movies when looking for this type of thrill? Here are the 20 best submarine movies for you to watch and enjoy.
1. Hunter Killer (2018)
English 2h 1m IMDb
Director: Donovan Marsh
Stars: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common
This film centers on an American submarine captain named Captain Joe Glass. He is on the mission of looking for a U.S. submarine that may be in trouble somewhere in the Arctic Ocean. Soon after, he discovers that a Russian coup is plotting a covert overthrow that threatens the existing global order.
To avert a third global war, Glass must create an elite team of Navy SEALs to navigate hostile waters to free the captured Russian president discreetly. Hunter Killer is a fantastic movie jam-packed with exciting activities, enthralling performers, and scenes that will keep you watching for more.
2. Crimson Tide (1995)
English 1h 56m IMDb
Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, Matt Craven
This film is set at the end of the cold war, following a United States Submarine Captain named Frank Ramsey. He assigns Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter, who has not had much experience but comes with strong recommendations, to the USS Alabama, which is maybe the only ship that can prevent Doomsday from occurring.
It is not just the two absolutely dynamite performances from the leads but also the supporting cast. This movie provides you with everything you could want in a film, including a brilliant and intriguing tale that serves as the firm foundation.
3. K-19 The Widowmaker (2002)
English 2h 18m IMDb
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sam Spruell, Peter Stebbings
This film tells a leadership story of a Captain named Alexi Vostrikov. During the height of the Cold War, he was given the order to assume control of a nuclear missile submarine called K-19. The K-19 is an extraordinary submarine considered to be the pride of the Soviet Navy.
His task was to prepare the K-19 and send her on patrol at whatever cost. However, serious problems arise with the K-19 that puts everyone in danger. This movie features some of the best performers and has a thrilling and strong narrative.
4. The Command / Kursk (2018)
English 1h 57m IMDb
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Léa Seydoux, Peter Simonischek
Most of the crew aboard a nuclear-powered Russian submarine were killed due to an explosion. The few survivors were forced to huddle together in oxygen-depleted and water-logged rear compartments. They are racing against time as the oxygen levels are dangerously low.
Meanwhile, the Russian administration deliberates over the most effective line of action. The movie can be emotionally intense, so you might want to have some tissues handy before watching it. The actors gave a performance that was both impressive and sincere.
5. Black Sea (2014)
English 1h 54m IMDb
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn
The Black Sea tackles a team’s ups, downs, and in-betweens and how greed can be a dangerous enemy of teamwork. Robinson takes a combined British and Russian couple into the Black Sea’s depths, guaranteeing everyone involved an equal part.
Soon after he was let go from his salvage work, former navy officer Robinson put together a group of unemployed seamen for a dangerous mission. Their objective was to locate a sunken Nazi U-boat reputed to carry a fortune in gold.
The movie provides a consistent emotional roller coaster journey and has substance to the plot. In addition, the characters are authentic and did well in portraying their roles.
6. The Hunt For Red October (1990)
English 2h 15m IMDb
Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn
This film is based on a famous novel written by Tom Clancy. In this gripping film, the captain of a Soviet submarine, Marko Ramius, defies his superiors and sails for the shore of the United States of America. Because it is equipped with cutting-edge stealth tech, Ramius’ submarine, named “Red October,” is almost impossible to detect.
Nevertheless, a brief detection of the Russians’ presence by an American submarine prompts CIA agent Jack Ryan to investigate Ramius’ intentions. Although the movie is a little complicated, especially for the younger audience, it has a good plot and cinematography.
7. Down Periscope (1996)
English 1h 32m IMDb
Director: David S. Ward
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Rob Schneider
This film follows the story of Commander Tom Dodge. His peers in the Navy do not hold an exceptionally high opinion of him. So, they do not have high expectations for him, especially when he was allowed to take command of an old boat as part of a simulated challenge on water.
Nevertheless, Dodge is dead-set on making his underdog crew win the event, but he needs to face his archenemy, Adm. Yancy Graham. The movie is humorous in every way, with jokes that flow naturally from the situation. This comedy film is a pause from other intense submarine films out there.
8. Ghazi (2017)
Hindi 1h 56m IMDb
Director: Sankalp Reddy
Stars: Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni
This film is set in 1971 when an Indian military submarine known as the S21 was able to foil a Pakistani submarine known as the PNS Ghazi. The Pakistani vessel attempted to destroy an Indian naval ship, the INS Vikrant, as it conducted regular surveillance in Indian waters.
It’s a riveting action thriller that skillfully puts together suspense, action, and a heartfelt feeling of patriotism. No matter where you begin viewing the story, you won’t be able to stand up until the end because of its gripping scenes and storyline.
9. Das Boot (1981)
German 2h 29m IMDb
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann
Das Boot is a film about the leadership, patience, and struggles of a person in war. This film was set during the Second World War when a German submarine plows through the Atlantic Ocean.
The crew of the sub has to deal with difficult situations and long periods of boredom in the cramped space. In the boat is a war writer named Werner examining U-boat life. Meanwhile, the captain tries to keep the vessel’s morale high despite every combat, storm, and depleting supplies.
Excellent sound design, cinematography, and acting direction elicit a sense of involvement from viewers. With this one, you will have one of the most intense movie-watching experiences.
10. Greyhound (2020)
English 1h 31m IMDb
Director: Aaron Schneider
Stars: Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham
This story follows Cmdr. Ernest Krause of the United States Navy. He was given the mission of leading an Allied convoy across the Atlantic Ocean. However, conflict escalates when German U-boats attempt to catch up with his convoy.
Krause’s first deployment during the war turned out to be his entanglement in what became renowned as the longest, most significant, and most complex naval combat in the history of the world, The Battle of the Atlantic.
The movie has minimal dramatic scenes but is heavy on action and suspenseful scenes. Certainly ranks among the top 10 best films about World War II.
11. The Wolf’s Call (2019)
French (France) 1h 55m IMDb
Director: Antonin Baudry
Stars: François Civil, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz
This film tells the story of a man with a special gift. He can identify every sound. As a result, he is responsible for everything while he is on board a French nuclear submarine. Although he was thought to be flawless, he makes a mistake that jeopardizes the crew and the rescue effort.
It takes a fresh approach to the underwater thriller genre, pitting France’s most significant nuclear submarine troops against mysterious foes. The film’s cinematography and ethereal score are both top-notch.
12. Operation Petticoat (1959)
English 2h 4m IMDb
Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Joan O’Brien
This action-comedy relates the narrative of Lieutenant Commander Matt Sherman, who is given the job of commanding a submarine named “Sea Tiger.” The Japanese air strike on a Philippine shipyard severely damaged the Sea Tiger. Sherman, attempting to set sail before an impending invasion, enlists the assistance of Nick Holden.
Nick has recently been promoted to Lieutenant to use his skills as a con artist to acquire the necessary equipment. This is a very entertaining film; you may laugh so hard you’re crying. In addition to being amusing, this film has a cast that is both handsome and talented.
13. The Enemy Below (1957)
English 1h 38m IMDb
Director: Dick Powell
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Curd Jürgens, David Hedison
This film tells about the face-off between two great captains; Captain Murrell of the United States Navy steers the destroyer, USS Haynes, while Von Stolberg of the German U-boat fleet.
During the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, these opposing factions engage in a game of tactical maneuvering that was a matter of life and death. Both men command their crews to incredible lengths as they strive for success.
Enemies learn to respect one another during bloody conflict. This is a good war thriller with an unexpected conclusion. The movie has excellent action scenes, occasionally theatrical moments, and fitting score silences.
14. Below (2002)
English 1h 45m IMDb
Director: David Twohy
Stars: Bruce Greenwood, David Crow, Matthew Davis
The story follows the U.S.S. Manta; is a submarine with unblemished history up until its captain passed away mysteriously. Lieutenant Richard Brice, the second-in-command, is resolute in his mission to lead his demoralized crew back to secure territory.
However, strange and terrifying things start to take place on the submarine as three survivors of the war board it. As the story progresses, crew members have begun to vanish one by one, and Douglas O’Dell needs to solve the mysteries of the submarine’s past. The movie has a variety of exciting and intriguing features.
15. Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)
English 1h 33m IMDb
Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden
Captain “Rich” Richardson takes command of the USS Nerka after it is torpedoed by the Japanese during World War II. Conflict arises when the Nerka’s crew has displayed a hostile attitude toward their new commander, especially Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe, who had been overlooked for promotion before Richardson’s arrival.
The situation worsens when they realize Richardson’s passion is only centered on seeking and destroying the Japanese ship, which destroyed his old ship. Outstanding black-and-white cinematography and strong performances from the cast really draw you into the story’s tension.
16. In Enemy Hands (2004)
English 1h 34m IMDb
Director: Tony Giglio
Stars: William H. Macy, Til Schweiger, Thomas Kretschmann
The story is about captivity and medicine. German U-boat captures a group of American sailors, and once they are held captive, they are forced to collaborate to contain an outbreak of meningitis.
The movie is based on actual events, as during World War II, new U-boats were being built at a record-breaking rate. It gives a realistic account of daily operations and a picture of the crew members who must deal with emotional and stressful situations.
17. Black Water (2018)
English 1h 44m IMDb
Director: Pasha Patriki
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Al Sapienza
This film is about a deep-cover operative who discovers he is being held captive aboard a submarine. He will need the assistance of a fellow inmate and an amateur agent if he wants to escape. He needs to beat the time and get out of the ship while simultaneously exposing the person who set him up.
The action sequences involving fighting were not particularly dramatic or compelling. The narrative was entertaining in its own way. Since it was made on a limited budget, it should be wise not to have high expectations from the film.
18. Underwater (2020)
English 1h 35m IMDb
Director: William Eubank
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Mamoudou Athie
A catastrophe occurs when water breaks through the walls of a drilling station located more than nine kilometers below the ocean’s surface. The survivors, led by their captain, conclude that their only chance of survival is to walk over the sea floor.
They have to make it to the central part of the institution to ensure their survival. However, the situation worsens when they eventually discover themselves in a struggle for their lives as they are attacked by bizarre and vicious creatures unknown to man.
The fear of something deadly and strange is emphasized in this film. Underwater is both thrilling and enjoyable to watch. If you enjoy sci-fi horror, then you will probably enjoy this one. This film pulls you in and gets you engaged. Remember to catch a breath when needed!
19. Battle Under Orion (2009)
Japanese 2h IMDb
Director: Tetsuo Shinohara
Stars: Yoshikuni Dôchin, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Mutsutoshi Furuhata
This movie is about World War II, jumping back and forth in time and linking past and present events through a song. Off the coast of Okinawa, the Japanese sub-I-77 engages in combat with an American ship.
In a game of cat and mouse, both the captains of an American destroyer and a Japanese submarine try to outsmart one another in a fight to the death. Even though there wasn’t much actual combat in the movie, it nonetheless managed to be quite successful despite the absence of the facet of war.
20. 72 Meters (2004)
English 1h 55m IMDb
Director: Vladimir Khotinenko
Stars: Sergey Makovetskiy, Marat Basharov, Andrey Krasko
This film tells a story of urgency and teamwork as a Russian submarine that has become disabled and is stranded seventy-two meters below the surface of the water. Time is of the essence, and every second counts for the submarine’s crew as they try to save the people who are currently aboard.
The narrative emphasizes friendships, human fragility, and the strength that comes from within. In this movie, everything is conveyed in a low-key and unassuming manner.
Here are the 20 best submarine movies you can enjoy whenever you are looking for a war, comedy, thrilling, or rival film. The gripping concept of being underwater alone is a thrill, so watching a movie that makes a good storyline out of it will be a worthy watch.