As some of y’all know, Eldest is serving in the US Navy. One of the things I had to get used to was dealing with the fact that she is an adult and I have no control over her wants for a tattoo. I admit it is…. difficult to untie the apron strings, and I have managed to do so. For the most part. Oh, like *I* am the only parent who has ever gone through this???
Yeah, I thought so.
Anyway, blogger friend XBradTC has a post about a Russian nuclear sub catching fire. The first thought to pop into my head was Red October. And then my friend Mark commented about reminding him of the movie Hostile Waters. And that brought to mind a survey done by USAA long ago about the best submarine movies of all time. I have told y’all how my mind wanders from one thought to another on skewed lines. This isn’t news. And I began to recall my favorites.
Das Boot is by far my favorite. I fell in love with Jurgen Prochnow watching his portrayal of Capt. Willenbrock (not his name in the movie but the real life character on which it’s based) dealing with the immense claustrophobic conditions and the grittiness contained in that sardine can. He broke my heart in Beverly Hills Cop II but I soon forgave him. The movie gave us a slice of that unforgiving life served raw and rotted. And the look on his face as he dies in the air attack has never been equaled.
In not-too-distant second place it’s Gray Lady Down.
Two words: Charlton Heston.
Sure, you have Stacy Keach and Keith Carradine and even Christopher Reeve. But none of them come close to Heston. NONE!! As captain of the “Gray Lady” he balances hope against certain death masterfully. And Carradine’s act of ultimate sacrifice makes me cry every single time.
I think the first submarine movie I ever watched was my third place contender, The Enemy Below. It was dubbed in Spanish, and let me tell you, the guy who dubbed Robert Mitchum’s voice didn’t even come close to doing him justice. Technically, the submarine was not the protagonist in this movie. But the cat-and-mouse plot between Capt. Murrell and Capt. Von Stolberg brings you to the edge of your seat, and you can’t help but admire the German’s brilliance.
Tied for third place is the film that got me thinking about all of this in the first place. The Hunt for Red October had everything you could want in a movie: mystery, subterfuge, action, drama, humor, frivolity, major eye candy (don’t judge me), and even a touch of romance. Oh, not the “chick flick” type of romance, but rather romance in the simplicity of Capt. Borodin’s wishes to live in Montana. Respect for each other is definitely earned by all of the characters as the leadership of the Russian sub lies to its crew in its fight for survival on both sides of the ocean.
Last but not least, I have to say the “guilty pleasure” addition to my list is Down Periscope. Though the entire scenario requires a complete and thorough suspension of disbelief, it’s still manages to instill good lessons in raising morale and dealing with the worst hand ever dealt. Kelsey Grammer’s portrayal of Commander Dodge is beyond hilarious, from deadpan to outrage to outrageous. Forcing the XO to walk the plank was hilarious. Christening the Stingray as the U.S.S. Rustoleum was genius.
Well, now I am feeling nostalgic. I may dig up my VHS copy of Red October from the bins upstairs. Yes, I still have VHS, and that cassette is rather special, since it’s red instead of the conventional black. Besides, one can never have too much of Sean Connery 😉
April 8th, 2015 at 2:59 PM
The Enemy Below is available on youtube. This is a good cut, if you can tolerate the Korean subtitles. There’s other copies without it, if you prefer, but the video quality seems a little poorer:
April 8th, 2015 at 3:05 PM
Cool! And subtitles never bother me, so that’s a plus.
Seriously, the Spanish dubbing of Mitchum still hurts after all these years.
April 8th, 2015 at 3:00 PM
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April 8th, 2015 at 3:30 PM
“Run Silent, Run Deep” (Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, what’s not to like?) is a classic of that genre. “Das Boot” for its unparilled realism, and “Hunt For Red October” for a pretty good adaptation of Clancy’s novel, and Sean Connery, are both right up there as well.
And thought it is not a submarine movie, “On The Beach” provides a view at what many thoguht would be the ulitmate result of (not just) nuclear subs doing what they (the boomers) were designed for.
April 8th, 2015 at 3:34 PM
Run Silent, Run Deep is a fantabulous movie. My mistake in omitting it.
April 8th, 2015 at 3:43 PM
Seen a couple of em, and have to laugh (or cringe) at most of them. “Das Boot” is, as you say, the most realistic submarine movie out there (I served on nuke boats, not diesel, but still….). Ask any submariner, and they’ll tell you the same. Second highest in the “realism” list would be……”Down Periscope”. Yep. Us submariners are really that crazy. And do not EVER mention “Crimson Tried” without a running start. That abortion should never have been put to film, and the idiot who wrote the script should have been shoved through the same shredder his script went through. Most of the old “war-movies” like “Grey Lady Down” and “Run Silent, Run Deep” are not bad movies, considering the yay-military! spin that Hollywood put on everything during WW2. Considering the era, I’m willing to suspend quite a bit of disbelief for those films.
April 8th, 2015 at 3:56 PM
I admit to watching Crimson Tide just for Gene Hackman. Sue me 🙂
April 8th, 2015 at 3:55 PM
Hunt for Red October is on Netflix and Amazon if you subscribe to either one of those..
April 8th, 2015 at 4:13 PM
I don’t, but I have it on DVD and VHS, and prefer the VHS because RED CASSETTE 😀
April 9th, 2015 at 12:45 AM
That is the copy I have as well.
April 9th, 2015 at 8:16 AM
My VHS jammed and it seems to be unjammable, alas. Fortunately I also have the DVD.
April 8th, 2015 at 6:46 PM
I told my daughter that the moment she moved out from under my roof she was free to get one. Think about the one you want for six months before you get it, though.
Loved October but I could stand to watch it again, this time with the captions.
April 8th, 2015 at 8:23 PM
Eldest is still thinking about it, 10 months out 🙂
April 8th, 2015 at 7:26 PM
ookay, so I have a question: does Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan count, with the Mutara Nebula scene?
April 8th, 2015 at 8:20 PM
Casey, I am now your biggest fan 😀
April 8th, 2015 at 8:31 PM
Oh, Aggie, love you to death, but …. Down Periscope is not a guilty pleasure. It is, in fact, the single greatest American movie ever made about the Silent Service… and this is coming from an actual no-shit submariner.
(Of course, you did happen to leave out the greatest submarine movie of all time: Das Boot.)
And honorable mention for American sub movies … Casey brought up STII, but he left out the TRULY AMAZING episode BALANCE OF TERROR.
April 8th, 2015 at 10:11 PM
Keep loving me, Lt. Rusty, because I posted Das Boot in first place 😉 And I only referred to Down Periscope as a guilty pleasure because I admit to ogling Stepanek and Spots. A lot.
April 8th, 2015 at 10:43 PM
Ok, so, apparently my lack of faith was disturbing, but not so much as my failure to read carefully. :p
But still, BALANCE OF TERROR.
And Down Periscope is a documentary, not a comedy.
April 8th, 2015 at 11:00 PM
Heh, duly noted 😀
April 8th, 2015 at 9:23 PM
We also have “Red October” on VHS, and still have a machine to play it…
April 8th, 2015 at 10:11 PM
*hugs her VCR* 😉
April 9th, 2015 at 5:49 AM
I still have a VCR too – but I’m starting to feel like my grandparents must have about the Victrola they still had when I was a kid.
April 9th, 2015 at 8:53 AM
I still have a turntable. And kids have a Nintendo 64 and a Gamecube and a Sega Genesis. Oh, and I have a rotary lawn mower, too 😀
April 9th, 2015 at 6:48 PM
Don’t forget I am the proud owner of an NES and an SNES, as well. But the Nintendo64 is still my favorite. No shame.
April 10th, 2015 at 10:03 AM
That’s my kid, y’all 😀
April 10th, 2015 at 12:59 PM
NES is sitting at my house, fully functional (second controller port is wonky, I’m just lazy and haven’t pulled the thing apart yet). SNES and Sega Genesis are buried under a pile of stuff at Mom’s house in Austin. Next time we’re down that way, I fully plan on bringing them back with me.
April 9th, 2015 at 6:41 AM
Great list, Aggie. I love submarine movies, and have seen all of these with the exception of Down Periscope. I’m kind of surprised that Operation Petticoat wasn’t on the list. No love for Cary Grant? 😉
April 9th, 2015 at 8:51 AM
I adore him!!! But to me it was more about the gals aboard than it was about the submarine 😀 Still love the movie, though!
April 9th, 2015 at 2:01 PM
“And the look on his face as he dies in the air attack has never been equaled.”
Crikey. Would a common courtesy SPOILER ALERT kill you?
April 9th, 2015 at 2:43 PM
April 10th, 2015 at 3:48 AM
April 10th, 2015 at 10:04 AM
My guess is Mitchell hasn’t seen the movie and doesn’t like spoilers 😀
April 10th, 2015 at 10:33 PM
Mitchell needs to get out more, like 34 years ago! 😉
April 10th, 2015 at 10:31 PM
All I have to say is “Hunt For Red October” is the first VHS I bought that wasn’t blank. I also saw it at the IMAX in downtown San Antonio. Awesome!
And I won’t debate which other movies are the best, although I have most that have been mentioned.
My maternal grandfather, was a CPO millwright on a diesel boat in WWII. I have a mechanical pencil he made. It looks like a torpedo with fins and propellers that spin. The lead comes out of the fuse.
April 11th, 2015 at 6:59 PM
Oh that sounds rather cool. You should post a photo of it sometime 🙂
April 12th, 2015 at 3:41 AM
Do they contrarotate?
April 12th, 2015 at 3:44 AM
Like this one? http://davesmechanicalpencils.blogspot.com/2008/11/torpedo-pencil.html
April 12th, 2015 at 4:00 PM
Dude, that is AWESOME!!! I know a bunch of submariners (former and current) who would give vital body parts for one of those.
April 11th, 2015 at 11:43 AM
I watched “Operation Petticoat” again due to this discussion. Thanks for reminding me about a fun movie (the sort that don’t seem to be made any longer).
April 11th, 2015 at 6:58 PM
It’s a classic 😀