Best Sailing Movies You Should Watch

Sailing is fun and adventurous, but you know what’s even more fun? Watching movies about sailing! Check out this list of the best sailing movies you should watch.

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Sailing is fun and adventurous, but you know what’s even more fun? Watching movies about sailing! Check out this list of the best sailing movies you should watch.

If you've been looking forward to snuggling up on the couch and watching some compelling films with a bowl of popcorn, now is the moment. When you're on the dock or setting sail, it would be nice to watch a good sailing movie because you’ll already be familiar with most of the lines and terms.

Some of the best sailing movies you should watch include, All Is Lost, The Far Side of the World, Ron, Captain, Wind, Squall in White, The Bounty's Mutiny, Calm Dead, the Life Aquatic, Kon-Tiki, the first trip, Adrift, Turning Tide, The Ideal Storm, Phillips, Captain, Maiden, Bubble chasing, and 180° South.

The best sailing movies leave us yearning for life on the water and tug at the lines in our hearts. But more importantly, they remind us of the strength of the sea. Continue reading to get some interesting insight and ideas for your next movie night or when you can't seem to get off the ground.

We enjoy everything about sailing, especially the movies, which is why we've compiled a list of some of the best sailing movies you should watch. We've got it all covered; whether it's horrific fights between battleships or a tragic tale of man vs. sea. There’s not a whole lot that beats the whole movie binge weekend.

Table of Contents

All Is Lost (2013)

All is Lost is possibly the greatest film for sole sailors to see what could go south if they chose to cruise the big blue ocean by themselves. Robert Redford portrays the anguish that a lone sailor can go through when the sea turns on them with a near-mute performance as an aging guy who likes sailing alone.

Throughout the picture, directed by JC Chandor, there is only one person on screen. With his broken boat, he's alone in the huge sea. Even when things go against him, he must become tough, resourceful, and cool.

Even now, single-character films are rare, but this is an excellent survival picture that perfectly illustrates what could happen to even the toughest lone sailors.

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

This critically praised film, directed by Peter Weir, was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won for outstanding cinematography and sound editing. This film, which stars Russell Crowe and represents the return of a high-seas escapade, is skilfully and methodically modified from the historical novel of Patrick O'Brian set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Crowe portrays a narcissistic leader who pushes his ship's men to their limits in order to capture a French cruiser. This film features thrilling battle scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This film shows you what sailors go through in their attempts to survive at sea.

Captain Ron (1992)

Martin Short hires flamboyant Captain Ron to take them back to Florida, despite having minimal sailing expertise and an inherited yacht stranded on a distant island. They meet pirates, breakdowns, and other challenges on their journey, which is not as easy as they anticipated. They all got more than they anticipated.

Starring Kurt Russell as Captain Ron, tells the story of a fictitious sailing appeal hired by an upper-middle-class parent to navigate a yacht across the Caribbean. From sea mishaps to pirates to guerilla carnivals to failing equipment to Russell's croaked oddities, this film is brimming with double humor and a great chevalier.

Wind (1992)

The America's Cup, being one of the most important competitions in professional sailing, is generally associated with wealthy people racing in odd-looking boats. But this film changes that, as it tells the story through the perspective of Matthew Modine's tanned and rugged Will Parker. Cliff Robertson, a self-made millionaire, hires him to head his team in the tournament.

Parker plans to win the America's Cup with his love Kate, who is also a skilled sailor, but Kate gets booted from the crew, angering Parker. Parker chooses to start his own syndicate when the team loses the America's Cup to the Australians.

Squall in White (1996)

This film is about a couple of young high school kids who get on board the brigantine ship at sea for their senior year trip. They sail from the point of South America to the other side. They are given the opportunity to assume responsibility, learn how to sail, and mature.

Christopher Sheldon, the ship's captain, and the 13 teenage males set off on a long journey for 8 months. Sheldon's mental spectrum, jarring stress, and a strange storm that sinks the ship are soon exposed to the boys. As a sailor, you'll be horrified by the fact that two crew members and four students drown, leaving captain Sheldon facing a vengeful tribunal, a tortured conscience, and distraught parents and pupils.

The Bounty's Mutiny (1962)

English Captain Bligh is on a maritime expedition to bring breadfruit from England to Jamaica in one of the best epic films of the 1960s. He is so nasty that his crewmen, particularly 1st Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, get on his nerves.

When they arrive in Jamaica, tensions relax and the crew enjoys the island's culture, but the captain shackles several of his crewmen who attempt to desert. Fletcher inspires a rebellion against the Captain after more abuses. In a rowboat, Fletcher and his men rescued the Captain and his faithful crew. This film provides a genuine portrayal of a larger-than-life figure that most sailors are known for.

Calm Dead (1989)

Dead Calm, starring Sam Neil, Nicole Kidman, Billy Zane, and a stunning 60-foot ketch, follows a mass murderer who seduces and kidnaps a young attractive woman after abandoning her husband and leaving him to die on a vessel whose crew he has just slaughtered.

The Whitsunday Islands, off the coast of Australia, are one of the top sailing locations in the world. This film is gripping and will have you looking behind your back whenever you're out on the sea, thanks to an epic combination of lethal sailing conditions, full isolation from the rest of the world, and a cunning criminal aboard the vessel.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

The lofty adventures of Steve Zissou, a figure based on French ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, are chronicled in this adventure comedy. It pursues him on an ocean expedition to find the 'jaguar shark' that ate his colleague, Esteban.

Esteban collaborates with Zissou on a film about a shark's unusual circumstances. This is a crisp flick with plenty of marine adventure and fun.

Kon-Tiki (2012)

South Americans colonized the South Sea Islands, according to legendary Norwegian explorer and ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl. Thor, who is afraid of water and cannot swim, embarks on an expedition in 1947 to prove his point. On a balsa-wood historic raft, set sail from Peru with five crew members.

They must traverse the seas using only stars and ocean currents, despite the fact that their only modern technology is a radio, and they accomplish the impossible after three months at sea. This is a fun experience that shows what we can achieve when we believe in our aspirations.

The first trip (2013)

A 14-year-old sailor named Laura Dekker goes out on a two-year journey in the chase of her dream of becoming the youngest sailor in the world. Laura sets sail from Holland and travels the globe. Apart from Laura's occasional use of foul language in the documentary, this is an outstanding film that demonstrates what can be accomplished when one pursues one's passion and works hard to attain it.

However, the documentary does not imply that Laura is too young to sail across the treacherous Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Instead, she is portrayed as an independent outsider seeking happiness in an endless sea.

Adrift (2018)

Sailing directly into a terrible hurricane is something most sailors never expect to undertake, and this is exactly what Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp do when they sail straight into one of the deadliest hurricanes ever documented in history.

After the hurricane, Tami wakes up to find their boat in ruins and Richard gravely injured. And because they have little hope of ever being helped or rescued, Tami is left with two choices: wait and die or discover the power and determination to save herself and the only man she's ever loved.

Turning Tide (2013)

This film depicts how a gutsy sailor named Yann Kermadec faces numerous challenges in his biggest contest when Turning Tide,a two-hander, goes flat. The exciting tale begins with a tense build-up when Kermadec fills in for the chief skipper in the Vendee Globe on short notice.

After some good sailing, the sailor's ship is damaged, and he is forced to anchor off the coast of the Canary Islands to repair it. When he resumes his journey, he quickly discovers that a Mauritanian teenage lad has infiltrated the vessel, and he has no choice but to travel with him at least until they cross the Atlantic Ocean.

The Sea and the Old Man (1958)

Spencer Tracy, a 74-year-old Cuban angler, has gone 84 days without catching any fish. Despite a young boy's promise to bring him food, the angler fears he'll be forever lucky, but on his 85th day, he catches a small fish, so he decides to keep fishing.

He resolves not to return to the shore until he has reeled in a giant marlin hooked on one of his many fishing lines. He has no choice but to sit there for over two days and nights, doing everything he can to save himself from what appears to be an endless cycle of failure.

Early Morning Light (2008)

15 young men and women prepare for a life-changing sailing expedition by entering the TRANSPAC, one of the world's top open-ocean competitions. These sailors begin intensive training in Hawaii with world-class tutors, but only reach a peak in an exclusion procedure that takes the shape of a who-goes-and-who-stays process.

This six-month documentary follows four sailors as they embark on a 2,300-mile sailing expedition from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

The Ideal Storm (2000)

The Perfect Storm is a blockbuster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen that follows an action-packed excursion on the water as Captain Billy Tyne and his crew go onboard a fishing voyage aboard the Andrea Gail.

When they decide to brave the storm and have to face a very violent hurricane, they are quickly caught up in a terrible destructive storm. Their ice machine breaks down in the middle of their fishing trip, and the only way to keep their catch from going stale is to rush back to the shore and sell it. This is precisely why they choose to risk their lives, and it does not go as planned.

Captain Phillips(2013)

When Captain Richard Phillips undertakes charge of an unprotected cargo ship, the MV Maersk Alabama, sailing from Salalah, Oman, they expect to be attacked by Somali pirates on their journey to Mombasa, Kenya.

They attack the ship, and Captain Phillips must negotiate with the pirates in order to preserve his people.

Maiden (2018)

What a man can accomplish, a woman can do even better, as the saying goes. This is precisely what this sailing film depicts, as it follows Tracy Edwards as she guides and oversees the first all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

This is a genuinely hard race that covers 33,000 miles and lasts nine months, depicting the corrosive misogyny that still persists in the sailing community as well as the ocean terrors that sailors must face throughout expeditions or competitions.

Bubble Chasing (2016)

This is an engrossing documentary that follows Alex Rust, a free spirit who abandons his daily life to sail across the world. Alex is raised on a farm but works as a stock trader in Indiana. He abandons his life in Chicago at the age of 25, buys a little yacht named Bubbles, and starts on a very distinctive free-spirited adventure. It takes him three years to sail around the world, satiating his voracious curiosity and accomplishing his lifelong desire of becoming a free soul.

This is a magnificent travelog that illustrates the lives of a fascinating character while sailing.

180° South (2010)

This sailing film, directed by Chris Malloy, follows Jeff Johnson on his journey to Patagonia, Chile all the way from Ventura, California. He does it in order to retrace the route taken by Doug Tompkins and Yvon Chouinardin 1968.

While the first two explorers traveled by land, Johnson uses a tiny boat to travel by sea.

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