There’s nothing wrong with cuddling up on the couch, munching on popcorn and binge-watching some of your favorite flicks. Sailing movies are great since you’ll hear a couple lines you’ve heard before when you’re docked or out at sea.
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Sailing movies are excellent for binge-watching during this downtime.
So without further ado, here are 20 of the greatest sailing films ever made. We’ve covered everything from man versus. sea stories to inspiring trips and explorations. You’ll be motivated as you wait for the all-clear to leave dry land.
1. All is Lost (2013)
It’s safe to say that All is Lost is the ideal film for lone sailors to see what could go wrong if they chose to sail the big blue ocean alone. To convey the torture of being alone at sea, Robert Redford gives an almost quasi-mute portrayal as an old guy who loves to sail alone, and does so in an almost silent manner.
Throughout JC Chandor’s film, there is only one person on screen. In the middle of the ocean, he and his damaged boat are completely alone. Even when the odds are stacked against him, he must learn to remain composed, resourceful, and unflappable. In spite of the rarity of one-character films, this is an excellent example of what could happen even to the most intrepid solo sailors.
2. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
This critically acclaimed film was nominated for 10 Oscars and won for outstanding cinematography and sound editing, directed by Peter Weir, the gifted filmmaker. Adapted from Patrick O’Brian’s historical novel set during the Napoleonic Wars, this film depicts the return of high-seas adventure and stars Russell Crowe.
While attempting to capture a French cruiser, Crowe portrays an egotistical captain who pushes his crew to their limits. Battle scenes in this film will keep you riveted to the screen. This film provides a glimpse into the trials and tribulations that sailors face when trying to survive at sea.
3. Captain Ron (1992)
Martin Short hires Captain Ron, a flamboyant sailor, to transport them back to Florida on an ancestral yacht docked off the coast of Florida. They didn’t expect to have to deal with pirates, ship problems, and other difficulties on their journey. Their expectations are exceeded by the unexpected outcome.
Captain Ron, starring Kurt Russell, shows the mishaps of a nominal sailing character hired by an upper-middle-class father to captain a Caribbean yacht. Whether it’s the marine mishaps, pirates, guerilla carnivals or the malfunctioning equipment, this film is full of double humour and worthy performances.
4. Wind (1992)
People who are wealthy and compete in America’s Cup are generally connected with strange-looking vessels. Will Parker, played by Matthew Modine, is a tanned, rugged, and charismatic character in this film. They employ him to lead their team in the competition, a self-made millionaire (Cliff Robertson).
To win America’s Cup with his love Kate, Parker hopes to team up with her, but Kate is kicked off the team. This angers Parker. To reclaim the America’s Cup from the Australians, Parker forms a syndicate of his own.
5. White Squall (1996)
This film follows a group of high school students who embark the brigantine ship Albatross for their senior year at sea in an adventure film directed by a young guy. They sail all the way to the southernmost point of South America and then return. As a result, they learn to take on responsibility and grow up as sailor-types.
Thirteen boys, including Christopher Sheldon, the ship’s skipper, departed for an eight-month journey. Sheldon’s mental gradations, jarring stress, and strange storms that sink the ship are soon discovered by the boys. The fact that four students and two crew members perish, leaving captain Sheldon to face a vengeful tribunal, a tormented conscience, and distraught parents and pupils, will disturb you as a sailor….
6. Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
One of the best epic movies of the 1960s, Captain Bligh sets sail from England to Jamaica in search of breadfruit. First Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, in particular, is irritated by him since he is so abrasive.
When they arrive in Jamaica, the crew relaxes and enjoys the island’s culture, but the captain catches some of his men trying to desert and puts them in irons. Fletcher’s revolt against the Captain was sparked by more mistreatment. Fletcher and his men put the Captain and his comrades in a rowboat and towed them out to sea. Most sailors are known for their larger-than-life personalities, and this film depicts one of them in a realistic light.
7. Dead Calm (1989)
While the film’s cast includes actors Billy Zane, Nicole Kidman, Sam Neil and a lovely 60-foot ketch, its plot centers on the assassination of an entire crew and the subsequent abduction and seduction of a young, beautiful woman.
The Whitsunday Islands of Australia, where this film was shot, is one of the world’s top sailing locations. This movie is a roller coaster of a ride, bringing together a lethal combination of sailing conditions, utter isolation from the rest of the world, and a skilled villain on board the vessel.
8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Steve Zissou, a character based on French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, is the star of this action-comedy. Esteban was supposedly eaten by the “jaguar shark” that he was tracking in the water.
Esteban and Zissou had been filming a documentary about a shark’s unusual behavior. This is a fun and exciting picture that takes place at sea.
9. Kon-Tiki (2012)
For Thor Heyerdahl, the South Sea Islands were first settled and colonized by people from Latin America. Despite being afraid of water and unable to swim, Thor sets out on a voyage in 1947 to show his conviction. With a crew of five, we set sail from Peru aboard an antique balsa-wood raft.
Three months at sea with only a radio and the sky to guide them are grueling, but they succeed in their mission despite their lack of modern technology. This is an exhilarating journey that shows what can be achieved if we believe in our aspirations.
10. Maidentrip (2013)
To fulfill her lifelong ambition of being the world’s youngest sailor, Laura Dekker, a 14-year-old girl, embarks on a two-year journey. Starting in Holland, Laura cruises the world. In spite of Laura’s occasional use of profanity, this is an outstanding video that demonstrates what can be achieved if one pursues one’s dreams and works hard to attain them.
Even though her age isn’t mentioned in the video, Laura isn’t considered to be too young to sail across the dangerous Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Instead, she is depicted as an independent outsider who is searching for a paradise amid a never-ending sea of water.
11. Adrift (2018)
Most sailors don’t think about sailing directly into a hurricane, but Richard Sharp and Tami Oldham do just that when they encounter one of the most devastating hurricanes in history.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Tami and Richard wake up to discover their boat in ruins and Richard seriously hurt. As a result, Tami is left with two options: either sit there and die, or discover the fortitude and resolve to save herself and the only man she’s ever loved from certain death.
12. Turning Tide (En Solitaire) (2013)
While sailing, Yann Kermadec encounters many difficulties in his biggest race as a two-hander known as Turning Tide goes flat. When Kermadec is called in to replace the main skipper in the Vendee Globe on short notice, the story begins in nail-biting stress.
When the ship the sailor was travelling aboard is wrecked and has be anchored off the Canary Islands for repairs, things take an unsettling turn for the worse for him. It’s not long before he returns to his quest and learns that a teenage Mauritanian lad has snuck aboard the boat, and he has no choice but to join him if only to cross the Atlantic.
13. The Old Man and the Sea (1958)
Spencer Tracy, an elderly Cuban angler, hasn’t caught a fish in 84 days. Despite a young boy’s promise to bring him food, the angler worries that he’ll be unlucky forever, but on his 85th birthday, he manages to catch a small fish and decides to keep fishing.
In the event that one of his numerous fishing lines is caught by a giant marlin, he resolves not to return to the shore until he reels it in. Since he has no other choice than to sit there and try his best to redeem himself for nearly two days and nights, it’s difficult for him to do anything else.
14. Morning Light (2008)
The 15 participants in the TRANSPAC, one of the world’s most prestigious open-ocean sailing events, are preparing for an adventure of a lifetime. While training in Hawaii with world-class instructors, these sailors only reach their pinnacle in the form of an elimination process.
In this six-month-long documentary, we follow these sailors as they embark on a 2,300-mile sailing journey that begins and concludes in Los Angeles.
15. The Perfect Storm (2000)
A blockbuster film by Wolfgang Petersen, The Perfect Storm shows a high-octane fishing adventure onboard a ship called Andrea Gail as Captain Billy Tyne and his crew set out on a fishing excursion.
As a result of their decision to brave the storm, they find themselves confronted with a tremendous hurricane. When their ice machine breaks down at the peak of their fishing expedition, it’s only a matter of time before their catch goes bad. This is precisely why they decide to take a chance on their life, and things don’t go as planned.
16. Captain Phillips (2013)
After taking command of an unarmed cargo ship known as the MV Maersk Alabama, Captain Richard Phillips and his crew expect to be attacked by Somali pirates while traveling to Mombasa, Kenya.
The pirates board the ship, and Captain Phillips must use his brains and skill to save his people by negotiating with the pirates.
17. Maiden (2018)
For as long as there have been men, there have also been women. Tracy Edwards’ life as she leads the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race is chronicled in this sailing movie.
Over the course of nine months and 33,000 miles, this arduous race reveals the still-pervasive sexism in sailing and the terrifying ocean terrors that sailors face on a daily basis.
18. Chasing Bubbles (2016)
This fascinating documentary follows Alex Rust, a free spirit who gives up a conventional life in order to sail the globe. Farm boy Alex grows up in Indiana and becomes a stock broker. After moving to Chicago at the age of 25, he buys a small sailboat called Bubbles and sets out on a journey of self-discovery. To satisfy his voracious curiosity, he sails around the world for three years, where he meets fascinating people and realizes his lifelong dream of sailing solo.
This is a stunning travelogue that recounts the life of a fascinating individual on the high seas.
19. 180° South (2010)
This is a sailing documentary that follows Jeff Johnson’s adventure from Ventura, California to Patagonia, Chile, directed by Chris Malloy. He’s following in the footsteps of Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, who made the same journey in 1968.
By contrast, Johnson sets out from the coast in a tiny boat, while the first two explorers traveled by land.
20. Deep Water (2006)
Following the true story of Donald Crowhurst, a first-time competitor in the Golden Globe continuous boat race from the perspective of a British sailor, the story is based on fact. For financial backing, Donald offers his home as security, but he soon finds himself at a disadvantage in the race when he starts it without adequate training.