Scuba Diver Editor-in-Chief Mark Evans collates a selection of what he thinks are some of the best fictional dive movies ever made. So grab some popcorn and pour yourself a beer – what better way to spend your non-diving time than watching scuba diving movies?!
Hi Scuba Diver fans welcome back, with the launch of new teen drama dive club on netflix and that showcases scuba diving to a younger generation we thought it would be fun to collate a list of the must-watch dive movies from the past few decades, so break out of beers grab the popcorn and tune in. It’s the perfect way to wild away a few hours when you are actually going diving yourself.
Scuba Diving is back on our screens with the launch of teen drama Dive Club.
Streaming now on netflix, this is firmly aimed at the younger generation, but hey anything that gets diving in front of teenagers has got to be a good thing in my book. Shot on location in port Douglas Queensland the Australian scenery is visually stunning regardless of any dubious plot holes or dodgy acting but I have to say after watching some of the diving sequences in the first season they’ve got decent trim and dive skills and good communication with proper dive signals.
let’s just say the diving behavior on screen is of a far high standard than that in any of the drop zone rubbish put out by a certain us-based training agency. I’ve already had the two teenage daughters of a friend ask about triadis after watching this when previously they showed no interest in diving whatsoever, so it might well be ticking the box for its intended audience
This got me thinking about diving movies and so we thought it would be a bit of fun to collate a list of some must-watch dive films, let’s see if your favorites are on the list
- The Deep
The Deep always factors into any list of diving movies, released back in 1977, it’s an adventure film based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name and it basically concerns a couple on vacation in Bermuda who simultaneously discover recently uncovered drugs from a World War II cargo vessel and treasure from a much bolder Spanish ship, bringing them into conflict with a drug dealer and he’s evil henchmen
The dive sequences are still fun to watch even 45 years on from its release, especially when the main villain gets chumped by a giant mora eel, although most blokes tend to be more taken by the fact that Jacqueline Bisset at the time a proper pin-up girl who is diving in just a white t-shirt which becomes decidedly see-through, while the movie is set in Bermuda and the top side sequences were filmed there.
The underwater scenes were actually shot in the British virgin islands with the shipwreck of the RMS run providing the perfect stage, this is a cracking wreck dive in itself but given an added element because you know it was featured in a classic dive movie.
- Fool’s Gold
Fool’s Gold has one of the greatest opening sequences of any dive movie, in fact I think it’s one of the most memorable opening scenes of any film, never mind dive related, no matter how many times I have watched it I still chuckle at the moment Matthew McConaughey and Ewen Bremner look at one another when there’s a cloud of silt behind them from their compressor hitting the seabed after it’s fallen off their dive boat, shrug and then carry on with what they are doing.
If you haven’t seen it, fool’s gold is a 2008 action comedy slash romance which revolves around a recently divorced couple, the aforementioned McConaughey and Kate Hudson who rekindled their romantic life while searching for a lost hall of treasure, all the while pursued by various villains. The dive sequences are well handled, the top side and underwater scenery mostly Australia but some in the Caribbean is simply gorgeous and it even has a baddie getting these comeuppance in a delightfully nasty way involving a blur hull and a fast incoming tide, plus it has a scene stealing performance by Ray Winstone so what’s not to love.
- Into the Blue
Was shot in the Bahamas and it centers on a one-of-a-treasure hunter, andy’s girlfriend. Walker and alba who are searching for a legendary French pirate ship and stumble across a crash cessna airplane containing a cargo of court king, this brings them into conflict with a rival treasure hunter and evil drug dealers, it definitely bears more than a passing resemblance to the deep
The movie is lightweight fair much in the same vein as fool’s gold and it makes the most of its good-looking cast. The diving scenes are exciting and as well as the expected few shark attack victims, you also get a villain taken out by a diving cylinder not to mention someone free diving and getting much needed breath out of a lift bag. The Cessna was sung specifically for the movie of Nassau and it was left on a seabed as an attraction for divers but sadly winter storms decimated it reducing it to scrap metal scattered on the bottom.
Sanctum was released in 2011 and it’s a tense action thriller which focuses on a fateful cave diving expedition that is beset by all manner of incidents and calamities. James Cameron was executive producer on sanctum and the film employs 3d photography techniques that he developed to film avatar. The cave diving sequences are well shot, though they were actually filmed in a large water tank in Queensland and if you ever had serious doubts about wanting to cave dive, this movie will probably seal the deal that you’ll never want to set foot inside a flooded cave system.
- The Life Aquatic
The Life Aquatic is a bit of an oddball movie, as with most films directed by Wes Anderson, it was a huge flop on release in 2004 but it’s since become a bit of a cult hit. The main character of Steve Zissou is an unashamed rip on Jakku Stone and the great Bill Murray has a whale of a time in the role, the rest of his motley crew reads like a who’s who of Hollywood and includes
Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum. Actual diving scenes are relatively few and far between, to be honest but if you haven’t seen it the life aquatic is definitely worth a watch if i need to see if you can figure out what the hell is going on.
Of course you can talk about movies featuring diving without mentioning the one and only James Bond. Diving’s has featured in several bond movies over the years but the standouts were definitely thunderball from 1965 and never say never again from 1983
Thunderball starred Sean Connery in his signature role and while it’s certainly dated somewhat, it’s over 55 years old there’s no denying it’s still fun watching the underwater fight scenes, in fact over a quarter of the movie is made up of underwater scenes, I may or may not have recreated some of the underwater tussles with a couple of plastic combat knives when I started out in diving. You can still visit the remnants of the Vulcan bomber from Thunderball off Nassau in the Bahamas, it was not an actual jet it was a frame made from scaffolding covered in material and it’s now just a tangle mess of metal, albeit one smothered in coral and sponge grove and it’s a veritable nursery for juvenile fish, you can still see the wheels and landing gear from the fake Vulcan
Near to the Vulcan bomber is the shipwreck known as the Tears of Allah which was stumped for Never Say Never Again which again starred Connery and was effectively a remake of Thunderball. You can dive through the interior while humming the bomb theme and pretending to be 007.
Other movies which are not necessarily scuba diving movies but have an underwater theme include the abyss The Meg, Men of Honor, Deep Blue Sea and Sphere with the former being particularly memorable for some amazing special effects and some heart stopping underwater sequences
So is your favorite diving movie on the list, do you know any other must-watch dive films, leave your comments below and if you’ve got a question fire away, if we can’t answer it maybe someone in our community will be able to.