16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Looking for some exciting film for a movie night that would take your breath away? You’ve come to the right place, as this is the list of the greatest film about submarines.

Most of these stories are based on true events, so you have a chance to dive deep into the past and experience what life was like beneath the surface of the ocean back then. Here are the best submarine movies with gripping plots and tense stories.

K-19: The Widowmaker

K-19: The Widowmaker
  • Rating IMDB – 6.7
  • Genre: Thriller, drama, military, history
  • Production UK, Germany, Canada, USA / 2002
  • Budget: $100,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $65,716,126
  • Directed by Katherine Bigelow
  • Cast: Steve Nicholson, Sam Spruell, Christian Camargo, Harrison Ford, Peter Sarsgaard, Peter Stebbings, Ravil Isyanov, Sam Redford, Roman Podhora, Liam Neeson

Captain Vostrikov is ordered to quickly prepare the submarine for diving. He executes the order, but the crew members face a deadly danger: the backup cooling system leaks. Captain Vostrikov gives the order to sink the submarine.

The movie features so-called Cherenkov radiation that was quite difficult to emulate during filming. The blue glow inside the nuclear reactor was simulated. The film crew took seven hundred large bottles of Canada Dry tonic water and illuminated the reactor with ultraviolet light. Thanks to quinine, it was possible to create the desired effect. This element emits a bluish hue when exposed to ultraviolet light.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects


  • Rating IMDB – 6.6
  • Genre: Action, drama, thriller
  • Production Belgium / 2018
  • Budget: $20,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $6,821,775
  • Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
  • Cast: Léa Seydoux, Colin Firth, Matthias Schoenaerts, Mikael Nyqvist, Max von Sydow, August Diehl, Stephen Waddington, Matthias Schwighöfer, Pernilla August, Zlatko Buric

The submarine Kursk goes on another mission. Everything goes according to plan and there is absolutely no sign of impending disaster. The crew performs the assigned tasks correctly, but due to the unforeseen events soon everyone aboard the submarine has to look into the eyes of death.

The film was shot in Belgium, at the AED studio, as well as in France, mostly on military bases. The submarine shown on screen is real, it is not a prop built specifically for this movie. improvisation.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

On the Beach (TV film)

On the Beach
  • Rating IMDB – 7.0
  • Genre: Fantasy, drama
  • Production Australia, USA / 2000
  • Budget: $10,000,000
  • Directed by Russell Mulcahy
  • Cast Jacqueline McKenzie, Grant Bowler, Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown, Tighan Webber, Allison Webber, Armand Assante

A global nuclear war broke out between China and the United States. The conflict died down in a couple of weeks, but the consequences are catastrophic: people are dying from exposure to radiation. The submarine USS Charleston sails to the shores of Australia, because radiation levels are lower there. But total chaos reigns in Australia with refugees arriving and food supplies running out. It’s not viable option to stay there. Dr. Julian Osborne (the scientist on board) recommends sailing to Alaska. What happens next to the submarine crew?

The film has won many awards. The Australian Film Society highly praised the movie to the surprise of its director who did not bet on his work’s success.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects


  • Rating IMDB – 6.2
  • Genre: Horror, thriller, action, detective
  • US, UK production / 2002
  • Budget: $40,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $2,622,015
  • Directed by David Twoey
  • Cast: Nick Chinlund, Alexis Conran, Scott Foley, Olivia Williams, Holt McCallany, Dexter Fletcher, David Twohy, Jonathan Harman, Matthew Davis, Bruce Greenwood
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The movie is set during World War II. The crew of the American submarine USS Tiger Shark rescues the passengers who survived the shipwreck of a British hospital ship. After this event, strange things begin to happen on the submarine. The crew can’t figure out what’s going on.

It was difficult to teach the actors the rules of conduct aboard the submarine. Books and specialized literature were not the best options. The only thing left to do was to send the actors to the submarine school. This was done to make the film more authentic.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects


  • Rating Kinopoisk – 7.42 / IMDB – 6.6
  • Genre: Action, military
  • Production USA, France / 2000
  • Budget: $62,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $127,666,415
  • Directed by Jonathan Mostow
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Will Estes, Tom Geary, Jack Noseworthy, David Keith, Bill Paxton, Thomas Kretschmann, Jake Weber, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi

The film is set in 1942. German submarines dominate the Atlantic Sea. The Enigma encryption machine helps them stay incognito. Mines incapacitate the German submarine U-571. Almost the entire crew is killed, and the United States commanding generals decide to act quickly. Lieutenant Tyler and his team set out to retrieve the Enigma. Will they be able to carry out their plan?

After the release of the film on the screens, viewers praised the gorgeous special effects of U-571 and the gripping story.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Down Periscope

Down Periscope
  • Rating IMDB – 6.2
  • Genre: Comedy
  • US production / 1996
  • Budget: $31,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $37 553 752
  • Directed by David S. Ward
  • Cast: Jonathan Penner, Duane Martin, Toby Huss, Ken Hudson Campbell, William H. Macy, Bruce Dern, Harry Dean Stanton, Rob Schneider, Lauren Holly, Kelsey Grammer

Tom Dodge dreams of being appointed commander of a submarine but he is constantly rejected. His reputation and explosive nature are to blame. When Tom hears another rejection, he gets very upset. In protest, he decides to get a tattoo. A tattoo with the words “Welcome aboard” right on his genitals. This act has a negative effect on Tom’s reputation. There is no chance of him being appointed commander. While Tom is lost in speculation and doesn’t know what will happen next, Vice Admiral Dean Winslow takes his side.

Dean convinces his colleagues to give Dodge one last chance. After all, if it is not done, then Tom will be out of a job. Dean’s efforts are not in vain – Dodge is put in command of a rusty World War II-era diesel submarine of the Balao-class called USS Stingray. His adversary is Rear Admiral Graham himself. Dodge faces a serious test. If he succeeds, then he gets the coveted position of commander. Will Dodge be able to outwit a rival with experience?

In Latin America, the film was released under the title Psychos on Board. This title is more descriptive of the film’s plot, because there the main characters sometimes show themselves as people with an unbalanced psyche.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Das Boot (TV series)

Das Boot
  • Rating IMDB – 7.4
  • Genre: Drama, military
  • Production Germany, Czech Republic / 2018
  • Budget: $28,000,000
  • Directed by Andreas Prohaska, Dennis Ganzel, Hans Steinbichler
  • Cast: Tom Vlacikha, Franz Dinda, Rick Ocon, Leonard Scheicher, Thierry Fremont, Fleur Geoffrier, Robert Stadlober, Julius Feldmeier, Marvin Linke, Joachim Foerster

The crew of the U-96 submarine goes on a dangerous mission. The rookies will have to face harsh conditions to complete their mission. Will they be able to complete the mission in the middle of brutal war?

The series is based on the the book by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim and continues the story shown in the film with the same title. The writer himself was one of the first to see the film released in 1981 and was disappointed as the movie did not meet his expectations.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Crimson Tide

Crimson Tide
  • Rating IMDB – 7.3
  • Genre: Action, thriller, drama, military
  • US production/1995
  • Budget: $53,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $157,387,195
  • Directed by Tony Scott
  • Cast: Matt Craven, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Gene Hackman, James Gandolfini, Rick Schroder, Denzel Washington, Lillo Brancato Jr., George Zunzu, Danny Nucci, Viggo Mortensen, Rocky Carroll, Steve Zahn
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It’s hard to make decisions, especially when you’re a submarine captain and a lot of lives depend on you. The captain gets an order and has to launch a nuclear attack. If he carries out the order, the ocean could turn red. Would the captain listen to the voice of reason or would he blindly follow his superiors’ orders?

In 1996, the film won several awards at once including Academy Award and Grammy. It’s rare for a movie to win two of the world’s top awards.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Hunter Killer

Hunter Killer
  • Rating IMDB – 6.6
  • Genre: Action, thriller
  • US production / 2018
  • Budget: $40,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $31,672,678
  • Directed by Donovan Marsh
  • Cast: Linda Cardellini, Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Taylor John Smith, Toby Stevens, Mikael Nykvist, Ryan McPartlin, Common, Caroline Goodall, Michael Trucco

It is not an easy job to save the president himself, but it is something that has to be done. If the first person of a large country is in danger, the brave American military and navy will help him.

The film was supposed to be shot in Alaska, but some large complication occurred. All the members of the film crew could not be accommodated there. The difficult conditions for survival were also taken into account, so the script had to be rewritten.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Black Sea

Black Sea
  • Rating IMDB – 6.4
  • Genre: Thriller, drama, adventures
  • Production UK, Russia, USA / 2014
  • Worldwide gross: $3,758,103
  • Directed by Kevin McDonald
  • Cast: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Bobby Schofield, Konstantin Khabensky, Sergei Puskepalis, Michael Smiley, David Threlfall, Grigory Dobrygin, Sergei Veksler

Robinson was once a submarine captain, but he was fired. He thinks he wound manage to find a job and, indeed, he is presented with an opportunity to make big money. Robinson is offered to take a submarine to the shores of the Black Sea to search for sunken treasure. He agrees, but only on the way there does he realize that he is on a gamble.

To make the setting more believable, a film crew went to the Crimea. The different scenes were shot in three countries. Due to this, the film turned out to be quite authentic.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects


  • Rating IMDB – 5.9
  • Genre: Thriller, drama, military, history
  • US production / 2012
  • Budget: $18,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $1,197,759
  • Directed by Todd Robinson
  • Cast: Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner, Lance Henriksen, Jonathon Scheck, Jason Beh, Dagmara Dominczyk, Derek Magyar, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jason Gray-Stanford

A nuclear war between the USSR and the United States broke out. The Americans in submarines occupy strategic positions in the Pacific Ocean. The Soviet Union authorities do not give up either and send their crew on a secret mission. The captain of a Soviet submarine is forced to abandon his family and sacrifice himself just to complete the mission.

Phantom received a low rating and negative reviews from critics from all around the world. Even the director was harshly criticized.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

In Enemy Hands

In Enemy Hands
  • Rating IMDB – 6.0
  • Genre: Action, thriller, drama, military
  • US production / 2003
  • Budget: $5,400,000
  • Directed by Tony Giglio
  • Cast: Justin Thomson, René Heger, Andy Gatien, Matt Lindquist, Thomas Kretschmann, William H. Macy, Til Schweiger, Connor Donne

An American Swordfish class submarine is out in the Atlantic Ocean. It is not easy for the crew, because for two months they are cut off from the outside world. The situation on the submarine is very tense, because the crew are not happy with Captain Randall Sullivan. Soon the submarine crew is in for a firefight, death and a dangerous virus. Half of the men who were on board die. Which of the submariners will defeat death?

The plot of the movie is absolute fiction. Most viewers criticized the film and did not appreciate the creative impulse of the director.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Phantom: The Submarine

Phantom: The Submarine
  • Rating IMDB – 5.6
  • Genre: Action, thriller
  • Production South Korea / 1999
  • Directed by Min Byeong-cheon
  • Cast: Choi Min-soo, Jung Woo-sung, Sol Kyung-gu, Byeon-chul Min, Jung Eun-pyo, Jun-suk Kim, Kim Young-ho, Min Bok-ki, Song Byung-ho, Park Ho- dignity
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Japan and South Korea are open enemies. Japan intends to use nuclear weapons. South Korea acts accordingly as it intends to use the Russian nuclear submarine Phantom against the enemy.

The film simultaneously received six top awards in South Korea. The first award was given for outstanding special effects.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Hostile Waters (TV film)

Hostile Waters
  • Rating IMDB – 6.3
  • Genre: Thriller, drama, military, history
  • Production France, Germany, UK, USA / 1997
  • Directed by David Drury
  • Cast: Dominic Monaghan, John Rothman, Rutger Hauer, Regina Taylor, Harris Yulin, Michael Attwell, Colm Feore, Max Von Sydow, Martin Sheen, Rob Campbell

A Soviet submarine collides with an American submarine. A fire breaks out and the Soviet submarine is critically damaged. There is a risk of a huge explosion, as the K-219 has sixteen nuclear warheads on board. If the explosion happens, then part of the east coast of America will be gone. The fate of the whole world depends on Igor Britanov, the captain of the Soviet submarine.

Rutger Hauer is playing the role of the Russian submarine captain named Igor Britanov. This is one of his most memorable acting performances.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

The Hunt for the Red October

The Hunt for the Red October
  • Rating IMDB – 7.6
  • Genre: Action, military
  • US production / 1990
  • Budget: $30,000,000
  • Worldwide gross: $200,512,643
  • Directed by John McTiernan
  • Cast: Sam Neill, Richard Jordan, James Earl Jones, Sean Connery, Peter Firth, Tim Curry, Alec Baldwin, Joss Ackland, Courtney B. Vance, Scott Glenn

Red October is a strategic submarine. It differs from other submarine giants as it is equipped with a special silent propulsion system. Everything would be fine if not for the captain’s idea to escape from the submarine.

Larry Ferguson is the screenwriter who got the part in this movie. But his presence on the set brought a bad luck streak for the whole crew. For example, a man died during filming.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects

Das Boot

Das Boot
  • Rating IMDB – 8.4
  • Genre: Thriller, drama, military, history
  • Production Germany (FRG), Italy, France, Great Britain / 1981
  • Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
  • Cast: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeier, Klaus Wennemann, Habertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge, Bernd Tauber, Erwin Leder, Martin May, Heinz Hoenig, Uwe Ochsenknecht

The European war drama Das Boot is Wolfgang Petersen’s highly rated film, ironically telling the events of 1941 from the perspective of the German submarine U-96’s crew.

It is no secret that the Nazis had high hopes for their navy, and for a long time submarines were a formidable force. The captain of the U-96 submarine is assigned to go to the Atlantic Ocean, where the famous confrontation between Britain and Germany is heating up. His crew is determined, they are all brave guys who have no doubts about winning, but very soon they will be broken by war.

The literary basis for the film is a book by Lothar-Gunter Buchheim, a German writer and artist who wrote vivacious reports about submarines for Nazi propaganda during the war.

16 best submarine Movies and TV projects
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Анна Румянцева
Anna Rumyantseva

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