Captain Quint and the boys take on a carcaradon carcharias aka Bruce aka a Great White Shark. It’s a classic. History. And it will make you think twice about chumming near the transom. You can also catch the author of the novel, Peter Benchley, making a cameo as a reporter on the beach.
The Perfect Storm
Adapted from Sebastian Junger’s nonfictional book about the crew of the Andrea Gail. It was ahead of its time with special effects and, arguably, the beginning of the heavy use of CGI in films. The film is a testament to the damn, tough jobs that commercial fishermen have at sea.
From Alex Garland’s novel, this utopia-turned-dystopia story sends shivers down the shoulders and can make the brain itch with curiosity. It also makes travelers think twice about getting directions or maps from strangers while on vacation. There is a helluva scene when Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) spears a shark in the lagoon. Keep your eyes out for that scene.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
R.P. McMurphy and the gang set sail in this fishing scene. Some of them might not be certified doctors, but some might be certified.
The Old Man and The Sea
Two legends represent this classic film. Hemingway and Tracy. The original New York Times movie review said some of the special effects were lacking a bit. Don’t expect Sharknado CGI when watching this epic.
“… another short-coming: an essential feeling of the sweep and surge of the open sea is not achieved in precise and placid pictures that obviously were shot in a studio tank. There are, to be sure, some lovely long shots of Cuban villages and the colorful coast, and there is one sequence that develops a brief magic. It is of fishermen going to their boats in the rosy dawn. But the main drama, that of the ordeal, is played in a studio tank, and even some fine shots of a marlin breaking the surface and shaking in violent battle are deflated by obvious showing on the process screen.”
- The New York Times, 1958
“Call me Ishmael.” We will and we also call this one the best revenge movies. Starring Gregory Peck and written by science fiction legend Ray Bradbury — who wrote a semi-fictional account of his writing of the screenplay called, Green Shadows, White Whale.
Islands in the Stream
Every Hemingway book-turned-film has some of the toughest looking men in cinema. Alligator-skinned and brute. This time, George C. Scott plays the lead as Thomas Hudson. Surely, a character based on Hemingway himself.
No, I won’t hear it. This belongs on the list. It didn’t cost $172 million to make for nothing. Kevin Costner, as The Mariner, explores for Dryland and defends an orphan girl from smokers. He has to fight the one-eyed Deacon played by Dennis Hopper. One the coolest trimarans (The Mariner’s vessel) ever filmed. Maybe the only, too. There is a fishing scene where he uses himself as bait. And you thought Hemingway was a die-hard angler.
Tom Hanks goes from FedEX employee to professional spearfishermen in this Robert Zemeckis film.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The film was also turned into an attraction at the Magic Kingdom from 1971 to 1994. Guessing kids stopped watching this movie and started watching another Nemo.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Bill Murrary plays a Cousteau-goofball, oceanographer that comes out of Director Wes Anderson’s mind. This colorful film makes you want to strap on a red beanie and aqua-tracksuit, well, at least for Halloween.
This Norwegian film has one of the best shark scenes ever.
If the Swiss Family Robinson visited Colonel Kurtz’s island and said, “Hey, we could do something like this.” The Fox Family is a bit tamer than Kurtz’s jungle. This film is about a father, inventor who wants to live off the grid and moves his family to a Central America jungle to build an ice factory. Yes, you read that right.
Life of Pi
Ang Lee does sea-disaster movies right — with tigers.
Ok, well it’s not bravado angling or a lost at sea story. But, Captain Ron is a comedy classic with Martin Short and Kurt Russell. And, hey, there is a boat in it.
Great Whites and a Sea World-type theme park don’t mix. Add some 3D glasses, somehow it all comes together.
All is Lost
Robert Redford goes onto a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean against nature and himself.
In the Heart of the Sea
This film isn’t out yet. In fact, filming has delayed from flash flooding. Director Ron Howard is taking a stab at Ahab. Howard is adapting Nathaniel Phillbrick’s novel detailing the actual encounter that influenced Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Joe Versus the Volcano
It has a fishing scene. A funny one. Tom Hanks yells his lungs out because of a close encounter with a hammerhead shark. It just squeaks by in this list, in fact, it’s the last one.