There are hundreds of films themed after sailing at sea. Many give a lousy description of what living on a boat and cruise the ocean really is, others describe an inaccurate representation of navigation techniques. Too many of these movies give a negative image of the blue waters and depict them as vicious man-eating monsters. But amongst all the films out there, a few masterpieces have marked my spirit forever. These are the movies I want to share with you here.
Deep Water by Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell (2006):
This fascinating documentary tells the true story of the first-ever solo sailing around the world race in 1968. The film follows the journey of a sailor who participated in this race, Donald Crowhurst and tells the human story of this adventurer who, in his thirst for fame and glory, had to face the harsh reality of what solo sailing truly represents. Alone, with the ocean and its dangers as only companions, Depp Water invites us to relive the decent of a man into an ocean of despair.
Dead Calm by Philip Noyce (1989):
It is every sailor’s duty to come to the rescue of a fellow seafarer in need. That’s what drives John and Rae Ingram, a grieving couple who decided to set sail in a desperate attempt to overcome the sudden death of their young son, to welcome aboard their stunning 60 ft yacht, the sole survivor of a sinking schooner played by Billy Zane who has a troubling background story. The couple played by Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman will face one of the most unsuspected dangers of sailing the oceans: other sailors. This thriller will put your nerves to the test and, although it’s just a fiction, it’s also a lesson never to let your guard down when you interact with other sailors in the middle of the ocean.
White Squall by Ridley Scott (1996):
White Squall said to be based on actual events, tells the story of a group of high school students who sign up to spend their senior year at sea aboard the Albatros, a beautiful brigantine ship. The purpose of the trip is to teach the young crew life-shaping values such as courage and discipline. Unfortunately, they will have to face a white squall storm that will put their ability to survive to a hard test instead. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Jeff Bridges, White Squall is a good movie about fighting the, sometimes treacherous, waters of the oceans and seas.
All Is Lost by J.C. Chandor (2013):
Starring Robert Redford, All Is Lost is a storytelling masterpiece that depicts the trial of an old veteran sailor whose name the director Chandor will never reveal, sailing the Indian Ocean. The old man awakes one day to find that his ship is taking water in after a collision with a drifting shipping container. His radio and navigation equipment trashed by the incident, he unknowingly heads towards a violet storm from which he will barely escape with his life. But with the treat of sharks circling around his life raft and with his supplies drastically reduced, the sailor’s chances of survival are growing increasingly thin as his life hangs on the edge, depending only on where the capricious ocean’s current will carry him.
Maidentrip by Jillian Schlesinger (2014):
Maiden trip is a captivating documentary that tells the crazy story of the youngest sailor to ever sail around the world alone. Aged 14 years old, it took 518 days for Laura Dekker to travel a total of 27,000 mile and successfully realize her childhood dream and circumnavigate the globe single handedly by the age of 16. She completed the solo circumnavigation on a 38-foot long ketch named Guppy. The documentary, mostly filmed by Laura herself during her journey, did not only blew my mind knowing how young and courageous she was when she set sail, but it also strengthen my will and love for sailing and I couldn’t wait to go back at sea after watching it.
That’s where my movie list ends. There are dozens of other films to see but the one listed here truly moved me. I will not fail to add other movies to this list in the future. Meanwhile, I strongly advise you to watch the ones above if you haven’t and I hope that they will inspire you to set sails as much as they did for me.