Military stories are always popular for obvious reasons. They appeal to Navy veterans who enjoy reliving their exploits, while also being liked by those land-lubbing Army vets, who like to poke fun. Everybody likes a good maritime adventure, be it, "Das Boot, " the German serial drama about life on a submarine, or "Master and Commander, " with Russell Crowe in the starring role as an English sea captain in pursuit of a French vessel during the Napoleonic Wars.
Another category of sailing film includes stories about hapless souls having misadventures at sea. Excellent examples include, "Adrift, " a nail-biting thriller from 2006 about a group of men and women who go diving off their boat without making sure there was a ladder or other means of getting back on board. In "White Squall, " set in the 1960s, a group of teenage boys embark on the sailing trip of a lifetime, only to confront the storm of a lifetime.
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie franchise, starring Johnny Depp, is one of the most successful series' of maritime movies. These films were produced by the architect of numerous hit crime series', Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, not to mention hit films, "Top Gun, " "The Rock, " and "Con Air, " among many others.
Fishermen are often the stars of maritime movies. Of these, two come immediately to mind. "Moby Dick" the tale of one man's obsession with a whale, starred Gregory Peck. Directed by John Huston, it was released in 1956. "The Old Man and the Sea, " dramatized the Ernest Hemingway novel and was made twice. The original starred Spencer Tracy in 1958; in 1999, it was remade with Anthony Quinn in the starring role.
"All is Lost, " is a harrowing 2013 film starring Robert Redford. The film has no dialogue, which is hardly surprising. Redford has enough on his plate colliding with a shipping container in furiously stormy seas without having to make idle chit chat.
Similar to "All is Lost, " "Dead Calm" offers viewers a similar heart-in-throat sensation, but for completely different reasons. In this tale, a grieving couple on a romantic voyage are cruising along happily until they take on psychopathic shipwrecked sailor, Billy Zane.
The sea lends a dramatic backdrop to any type of story, lending an added dimension to the characters and the action. With seagoing vessels tending to be relatively confined spaces, it allows the director the chance to develop characters and story lines without distractions of wardrobe or complicated scenery. Claustrophobic scenes aboard submarines allow the viewer to experience new levels of autonomic nervous system symptoms.
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