7 Must See Modern Ocean Movies 

Harmony Riveros

Film geeks and lovers of the ocean, this is a selection of movies just for you. We have gathered a list of movies not only about diving but about the ocean and all its wonders. Whether you are into documentaries or entertaining dramas, there is something for everyone. For those of us who love the ocean and (almost) everything in it, there is a shared frustration at how few great ocean movies get made. 

While we all know Jaws, we found that most lists of ocean movies are from the ’60s to 80s. Fortunately, over recent years, Hollywood has managed to produce some really great ocean films. So if you are planning a night in and are looking for some great ocean or underwater movies to watch, then look no further because we have compiled the best ones for you! So sit back, grab the popcorn, and choose your next movie night film.

Adrift (2018)

In September 1983, Tami Oldham Ashcraft and her fiance, Richard Sharp, were hired to take a 44-foot yacht on a 4,000-mile journey from Tahiti to San Diego. About halfway through their cross-Pacific journey, they ran into Hurricane Raymond, a tropical storm that had been building in power for a couple of weeks. They struggled to control the yacht in 145-knot winds, and Sharp was washed overboard, lost in the mountainous seas. This true story follows their journey,  and it’s not just a story of an incredible feat of survival. It’s also a love story! 

DisneyNature’s Oceans (2009)

This documentary examines the vital role that oceans play to human existence and the cause and effect interplay between oceans and the environment. Journey into the depths of a wonderland filled with mystery, beauty, and power. Oceans is a story narrated by Pierce Brosnan, about remarkable creatures under the sea. It’s an unprecedented look at the lives of these elusive deepwater creatures through their own eyes. Incredible state-of-the-art-underwater filmmaking will take your breath away as you migrate with whales, swim alongside a great white shark and race with dolphins at play.


Life of Pi (2012)

After deciding to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada, Santosh and Gita Patel board a freighter with their sons and a few remaining animals. Tragedy strikes when a terrible storm sinks the ship, leaving the Patels’ teenage son, Pi (Suraj Sharma), as the only human survivor. However, Pi is not alone; a fearsome Bengal tiger has also found refuge aboard the lifeboat. As days turn into weeks and weeks drag into months, Pi and the tiger must learn to trust each other if both are to survive. It’s a fictional story, based on a novel, but director Ang Lee nevertheless wanted the movie to have depth and realism.


The Finest Hours (2016)

On Feb. 18, 1952, a massive storm splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker’s sinking stern. Engineer Ray Sybert bravely takes charge to organize a strategy for his fellow survivors. As word of the disaster reaches the Coast Guard in Chatham, Mass., Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff orders a daring rescue mission. Despite the ferocious weather, coxswain Bernie Webber takes three men on a lifeboat to try and save the crew against seemingly impossible odds.  With some exceptions for the sake of dramatic tension and concise storytelling, the script largely sticks to its source material, Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman’s 2010 book The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.


Chasing Coral (2017)

The basic premise: An advertising executive named Richard Vevers decided several years ago to quit the ad business and devote his life to ocean conservation, both because he was getting fed up with the corporate world and because he decided the issue of marine catastrophe was essentially “an advertising problem.” So Vevers assembles a crew of researchers and underwater photographers to document the process of coral bleaching, something us divers are all too familiar with. 

Vevers aims to photograph some of the world’s most majestic reefs, using specially equipped underwater cameras that take time-lapses of the coral. With these visuals, he demonstrates to the public that the coral is dying before our very eyes. This is also the same approach that nature photographer James Balog used to demonstrate the rapid melting of glaciers in the 2012 documentary Chasing Ice. If you’re looking for a great documentary about the current situation and the future of coral reefs, this is a perfect option for you!


Captain Phillips (2013)

In April 2009, the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama sails toward its destination on a day that seems like any other. Suddenly, Somali pirates race toward the vessel, climb aboard and take everyone hostage. The captain of the ship, Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), looks to protect his crew from the hostile invaders, and their leader, Muse (Barkhad Abdi). The pirates are after millions of dollars, and Phillips must use his wits to make sure everyone survives and returns home safely. The film is inspired by the true story of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, an incident during which merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by pirates in the Guardafui Channel led by Abduwali Muse.


Moana (2016)

Of course, we couldn’t leave out our favorite Disney film! In Moana, an adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity. Moana represents part of Polynesian history in its own way, with some aspects being somewhat factual while others were exaggerated. The movie is set on the fictional island of Motunui.


About the Author

I’m Harmony Rose, a California native passionate about exploring the world and sharing the craziness along the way. I’ve traveled across ten countries so far, and do not plan on stopping any time soon. This blog is a way for me to use my passion for writing and photography as a way to share my adventures!

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Website:  https://www.harmonyrosemedia.com