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10 Fantastic Films About Sailing and The Sea

Posted on: 18.12.17

Films are a great way of relaxing, spending time with friends and family or learning more about something new. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the sofa or on the move, there are a whole host of genre’s to choose from…

At Sail On Board we love anything to do with the ocean, so here’s our list of 10 favourite films about sailing and the sea. We’ve picked films to inspire you, transport you to another place and even prepare you for your next Tall Ships voyage…

1.Perfect Storm (2000)

First on our list is Perfect Storm, which is based on the true story of the fishing boat Andrea Gail, which gets lost at sea in 1991 during the weather phenomenon known as a “perfect storm”. The event is talked about in a book of the same name by Sebastian Junger  which follows the life of the crew before, during and after the event. The film stars George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg who set out on the ill fated fishing trip. If you like tense thrillers, or action films with some added drama then this is a great film to watch.


2.Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Based on the theme park ride at Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean stars Johnny Depp, who plays Captain Jack Sparrow. Jack Sparrow comes to Port Royal, Jamaica, to find a ship and inadvertently ends up helping blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) to save the governor of the island’s daughter, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), who has been captured by pirates. In typical swashbuckler fashion, there are lots of sword fights,Tall Ships and even some undead enemies in this action adventure classic.


3.Master and Commander:The Far Side of the World (2003)

There’s more Tall Ships action in this historical-epic starring Russel Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey. Aubrey captains the crew of the HMS Surprise, a British naval ship, which is ordered to fight a French ship, Acheron, during the Napoleonic Wars. The film, which is adapted from three novels by Patrick O’Brian, is a period war drama with plenty of action, and definitely worthy of being in our top 10.


4.Life Aquatic (2004)

We are going under the sea, instead of over it, for number four on our list. Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) is an eccentric oceanographer who decides that he wants to exact revenge on a shark that ate his partner whilst they were filming a documentary. This off the wall comedy directed by Wes Anderson, will have you in hysterics, with its stellar cast, including; Owen Wilson, Anjelica Houston and Jeff Goldblum.


5. Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Bringing a pinch of nostalgia for number five is Muppet Treasure Island. Based on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, this film is filled with everything from comedy to action and even some songs… there really is something for everyone. The story follows the crew of the Hispaniola, who go in search of treasure buried on a remote island. Tim Curry plays Long John Silver alongside the muppets cast and some other famous faces.


6.Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)


This film’s story is based on the mythical hero Sinbad, the star of a series of stories of middle eastern origin. Sinbad, voiced by Brad Pitt, is framed by a mystical goddess for stealing the Book of Peace and must travel to her realm in order to retrieve it. Much like some of the other films in our list, there’s more swashbuckling sword fights and even some magic to add to the mix. The film also stars Catherine Zeta Jones and Michelle Pfeiffer. If you are a fan of animated films or you like adventure, then this is a great choice.


7. Twenty Thousand leagues under the sea (1954)

A ship is sent out to investigate various vessel sinkings and, when attacked by a mysterious monster, its crew is saved by the Nautilus, a submarine commanded by Captain Nemo. Not only is this classic nautical tale based on an equally classic sci-fi novel by Jules Verne, it’s also produced by Walt Disney, and it doesn’t get much better than that. Sci-Fi, action and adventure await in this movie.


8. Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)

Much like Perfect Storm, Mutiny on the Bounty is also based on real life events. The film itself is adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, that was inspired by a real life mutiny in 1789. The film adaptation stars Marlon Brando as First Officer Fletcher Christian, who disagrees with the way his captain is running his ship and starts a mutiny and seizes control of the vessel. This film is a swashbuckler with morals at its heart.


9.Carry On Jack (1963)

Carry on Jack is a film featuring Tall Ships and a British classic no less. The Carry On franchise is famous for making films which get everyone laughing. This edition of the franchise is, you guessed it, set at sea and follows the story of an incompetent midshipman and a serving wench who take over the HMS Venus and fight the Spanish Armada. If you love a comedy that’s a combination of slapstick and innuendo, then this is one to watch.


10. In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

The last installment on our list of fantastic films about sailing and sea features Chris Hemsworth setting sail aboard the ill-fated whaling ship Essex, in a story that is based upon the events which inspired the classic novel Moby Dick. Directed and produced by Ron Howard, this film is great for both fans of the famous novel and period dramas, especially those with a bit more adventure than a Jane Austen adaptation. It makes it to number 10, the final film on our list.

What’s next?

Now you’ve made it through our list of 10 fantastic films about sailing and the sea, you’ll be ready to grab some popcorn and enjoy hours of entertainment on the small screen. With many of them featuring Tall Ships, maybe it’ll even get you thinking about going on your own sailing voyage. If you want to start planning your own adventure at sea, head over to our Find Your Adventure page to discover voyages taking place on all kinds of vessels, from all around the world.

If you’re looking for an adventure at sea with a bit of a difference, then take a look at our events page to find out more about the Tall Ships Races 2018 and the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta 2018. These two spectacular events will give you the opportunity to enjoy competitive sailing throughout the U.K, Ireland, France, Denmark, Norway or the Netherlands. 

If you’d like help finding and booking your adventure – we’re here to help you every step of the way. Even if you haven’t quite decided on what you want to do, and where you want to go, we can guide you through the process. From finding an event and ships that are right for you, to contacting a vessel, or finding out more about funding options.

Email the Sail On Board support team on, or give us a call on +44 (0)23 9258 6367. We’ll happily answer all your questions, and try to solve any problems you might be experiencing.