With life currently seeming stranger than fiction and full lockdown in place globally, there is not much chance to set sail on the high seas or go diving, unless you are self-isolating on a boat (lucky you!)
With only the memories of balmy summer sailing and diving trips to sustain us and facing the foreseeable future at home, we have to rely on the virtual world to get our kicks and live vicariously through our screens. With this in mind, we have put together a list of our top sailing and diving movies to keep you entertained and inspired for your next SailnDive holiday in Greece.
Top Sailing Movies to watch in Quarantine
Dead Calm (1989) Thriller
An Australian couple takes a sailing holiday on a beautiful 60ft ketch to help them heal after a terrible accident. They come across a man who appears to be the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, and Billy Zane, this thriller will get your blood pounding! Shot in the Whitsundays, Australia almost entirely at sea, its themes of control, resurrection and unbalance make for a terrific thriller.
Between Home (2012) Adventure Documentary
Between Home is a poetic and touching film about amateur first-time sailor Nick Jaffe who attempts a solo oceanic journey from Europe to Australia. Starting out with basic equipment and very little money, the film chronicles his three-year transformation and rite of passage from novice sailor to expert. To follow his dreams he must battle the sea, the weather, total isolation and himself. Directed by Jack Rath this film won several European awards.
Kon-Tiki (2012) Historical Drama
No list of the best sailing films would be complete without Kon-Tiki. This gripping film is based on the story of Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl and his 1947 Kon-Tiki exploration expedition. It was filmed in Malta and follows the story of Thor Heyerdahl, who set out on his epic crossing of the Pacific Ocean to prove that; for South Americans to have settled in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times was a possibility. Heyerdahl builds a balsawood raft using the same techniques utilized 1,500 years ago by the indigenous peoples of the region. With his intrepid crew of five, he sails from the coast of Peru to the Polynesian islands. The dramatic events that follow include storms, sharks, and other perils of the open sea. It was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award. Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg and starring Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Adventure-Comedy
Directed by Wes Anderson, the Life Aquatic follows the adventures of Steve Zissou, a character adaptation of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the French oceanographer. He sets out on an oceanic expedition to track down the ‘jaguar shark’ that ate his partner, Esteban. It is a witty and animated film with plenty of fun and adventure on the sea. Starring Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe and Cate Blanchet.
Maidentrip (2014) Documentary
Back to solo adventures on the high seas. This time it is 14-year-old Laura Dekker’s immersive first person story. Having won a 10-month court battle to be allowed to do it, she sets out on a two-year voyage to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. A testimonial to the potential of youth and the courage of this young girl, this is an inspiring and heart-warming documentary film directed by Jillian Schlesinger.
Morning Light (2008) Documentary/Biography
The film chronicles a real-life crew training and competing in the 44th Transpacific Yacht Race aboard a TP52 class sailing yacht, Morning Light. It follows the fifteen strong, inexperienced but intrepid crew of men and women, that were given a one-in-a-million chance to sail in one of the world’s elite sailing competitions. It is an exhilarating, emotional adventure, showing a dramatic 2300 mile showdown against the world’s top sailing professionals. Directed by Mark Monroe.
White squall (1996) Coming-of-Age Disaster Drama
White Squall was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Jeff Bridges. A true story, set in the 1960’s, about a group of American teenagers that embark on the voyage of a lifetime with their Captain, whom they call ‘Skipper’. He teaches them about teamwork and discipline on an 8-month voyage aboard the Albatross. When a white squall threatens their ship, the boys try to use what Skipper has taught them to survive the traumatic event. A gripping, but touching movie well worth seeing.
All is Lost (2013) Survival Drama
After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself facing death. As well as there being only one actor in the film, it also has no dialogue, although there are a few spoken lines. This landmark film with its stunning scenes about a man’s will to survive is an epic sailing movie. Directed and written by J.C Chandor and starring Robert Redford as the only cast.
Top Diving movies to Watch during Lockdown
The Abyss (1989) science-fiction adventure
With Jim Cameron working his magic throughout this ocean epic, The Abyss is firm favourite amongst scuba divers. When an American nuclear submarine is attacked during the cold war and crashes, the navy is convinced that it was the work of the Russians. With a storm brewing, they want to salvage as quickly as possible, so recruit the services of oil rig divers nearby. Aliens, Navy Seals, breathtaking underwaterscapes and advanced liquid technology that allows breathing underwater -there is more down there in the deep than they had ever expected. Starring Ed Harris.
The Big Blue (1988) adventure-drama
No list would be complete without this cult classic movie beloved of divers everywhere. Set in beautiful Greece, Director Luc Besson’s Big Blue with its artistic shots and the stunning backdrop is pure pleasure. Narrating the story of friendship and rivalry between two champion free divers, it’s a mesmerizing and dangerous journey into the unknown. Starring Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette
Sanctum (2011) thriller
This 3-D cave diving movie is full of suspense and not for the claustrophobic. Produced by James Cameron, it’s based, albeit loosely, on a real life experience. The incredible cave diving footage and the play for survival amongst the characters in the film, make this one of our faves. Starring Rhys Wakefield, Allison Cratchley, Christopher James Baker
Men of Honour (2000) social-drama
The true life story of Carl Brashear’s battle against racism to become the first African American diver in the U.S. Navy. Cuba Gooding Jr. Gives a spellbinding performance in this ultimately feel-good film. Starring Robert de Niro too!
Open Water (2004) thriller
Every diver’s worst nightmare unfolds in this small, independent movie that made a splash and terrified many the world over. A couple on a dream holiday in the Caribbean get left behind after a boat dive. (That will never happen on a SailnDive trip – promise!) Sharks cruise about, tension builds, the relationship is tested to the extreme. Worth checking out – but not with new divers!
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) epic-adventure
An oldie but a goodie. Jules Verne classic novel comes to life starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason (as a terrifying and unforgettable Captain Nemo) in the ultimate action-adventure under the ocean.
Fool’s Gold (2008) adventure-romance
An adventure-romance starring the gorgeous Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, both in top form. Diving for treasure, discovering sunken Spanish galleons, gangsters, scuba diving and estranged lovers rekindling the flame. It’s fun, feisty and frivolous if you are in the mood for something light.
Finding Nemo (2003) animated-adventure
Stuck at home with the kids? Homeschooling during the lockdown doesn’t have to be a drag. Get them involved and let this movie homeschool them about the underwater world! The Pixar animation is apparently responsible for the Clownfish becoming the most recognised sea creature in the sea. Starring hammerheads, a great white, jellyfish, turtles and anglerfish – it’s really great family entertainment.
By no means the full list, these are just a few of the must-see nautical and scuba films to keep you entertained as we all make the effort to stay at home and limit the spread of COVID-19. This too shall pass and we look forward to welcoming you on our next trip when it does. Until then – stay safe and watch on!