12 Best Must-Watch Navy Movies of All Time

There are many war films that you can watch with either an accurate representation of history or full fiction. These movies may be from different armed forces such as the military, and the navies. If you are a big war film fan, you might want these 12 Best Navy Movies.

1. The Boat (1981)

German 2h 29m IMDb
The Boat (1981)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann

Ok, there are many war movies, not just in the Navy, that talk about the perspective of those who oppose German. However, The Boat or Das Boot tells a story about the German Navy, who lost many and faced challenges in their U-boat as they tried to destroy the British Navy.

There is no doubt that people hate those who joined Hitler with his madness. However, this movie made the viewers sympathize with the crew as they also lost their way. The director did a great job of keeping the thrill throughout the movie, even in the 3-hour-long director’s cut.

2. The Command (2018)

English 1h 57m IMDb
The Command (2018)

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Léa Seydoux, Peter Simonischek

The Command revolves its storyline around the sailors in the K-141 Kursk submarine, which carries over a hundred crew. Due to the government’s negligence, the submarine sunk in the depths of the Barents Sea. The few survivors try to fight for their lives while their families fight for what’s right.

It is truly a tragic story that happened in history, and this movie relieves what happened. Despite not knowing what happened, the audience easily sympathizes with the sailors. Watching this movie is like a roller coaster ride of emotion, but I will mainly feel anger and sadness.

3. The Caine Mutiny (1954)

English 2h 4m IMDb
The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Director: Edward Dmytryk

Stars: Humphrey Bogart, José Ferre, rVan Johnson

A Navy captain must have the physical and mental strength to lead their troops. But what if they are spiraling down and slowly going insane? It’s hard for people to trust their superiors, especially if their lives are at stake. This is a story about Captain Queeg and how a mutiny formed.

Many fans find Humphrey Bogart’s acting outstanding, especially in the scenes where he is obsessing about something or having a breakdown. The movie got its story from the award-winning novel with the same name and did justice as it tried to stay true to the original storyline.

4. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

English 2h 15m IMDb
The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Director: John McTiernan

Stars: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn

This one will give you chills! It’s scary to think you might have an enemy inside your borders. The Red October was a submarine by the Soviets, led by Captain Marko Ramius. When he disobeyed the orders and went to the U.S. instead, it alarmed the CIA, which must prepare for what might come.

You might expect load of sound effects in this movie it has more pleasant background, which won an Academy Award and Oscar. People also love the soundtrack used as it fits the film. We are not spoilers but the best part is the finale.

5. Lifeboat (1944)

English 1h 37m IMDb Lifeboat (1944)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak

Lifeboat is a black and white movie that depicts the story of the survivors of a battle between a German U-boat and the U.S. and British ships. The lifeboat is full of survivors from the ships. Then a German asked to get rescued. As they helped, the tension grew bigger and led to conflicts.

The film will put the viewers in the same situation. It will make you think of the best choice in the scenario and question your morality. It’s a nice point of view wherein you will witness the aftermath of a battle in World War II instead.

6. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

English 2h 24m IMDb
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Director: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku(Japanese sequences), Toshio Masuda(Japanese sequences)

Stars: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Jason Robards

Instead of portraying what happened during the World War, this film dramatizes the Pearl Harbor attack. If you are unfamiliar with this historical event, this film is one of the best ways to understand what happened.

The Japanese actors in this film were famous. They are also the best in their homeland during the time of the film. This made the acting of both nationalities incredible. The screenplay is wonderfully written as it kept the viewers thrilled yet nervous about what would happen. Furthermore, the director did a great job showing both sides of the story.

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

English 2h 18m IMDb
Master and Commander The Far Side of the World (2003)

Director: Peter Weir

Stars: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd

The set took place during the Napoleonic Wars, where Captain Jack Aubrey seeks victory despite the many hurdles and the lack of men and firearms, has damage, and is smaller than their enemy. As the captain refuses to go home, the movie will make you wonder how determined and wise he is to accomplish their mission.

It’s amazing how the director captured the life of sailors at sea. You can see the struggles of the enemies and the natural calamities. When the ship is damaged, there is nowhere to stop by and do a quick repair.

8. The Enemy Below (1957)

English 1h 38m IMDb
The Enemy Below (1957)

Director: Dick Powell

Stars: Robert Mitchum, Curd Jürgens, David Hedison

In the South Atlantic, the American destroyer came across a German U-boat with a captain just as good as Captain Murrell. This encounter will test her wit and her experience with Murrell as he has to defeat the enemy. At the same time, the German was highly motivated to destroy the Americans as well.

They did a great job in casting the right actors for the roles in this novel-based film. The way the director brought the tactics in the book alive is outstanding. Even Star Trek gathered their ideas for some of their episodes from this movie.

9. The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)

English 1h 47m IMDb
The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)

Director: Walter Summers

Stars: Craighall Sherry, Hans von Slock, Roger Maxwell

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands is somewhat of a documentary and a movie. It centers on the first defeat of the British by the German Navy under Vice Admiral Maximillian von Spee. Because this movie was almost a century ago, only a few discovered this masterpiece.

Those who had seen the film did not regret watching it. Watching it is a good way to commemorate those who had fallen during the battle of Coronel. The battle scenes seem so authentic, and the screenplay is remarkable. It has a strong beginning with a bit of drama by the end.

10. Greyhound (2020)

English 1h 31m IMDb
Greyhound (2020)

Director: Aaron Schneider

Stars: Tom Hanks, Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham

Greyhound is about the U.S. Navy convoy for the allies but got surrounded by the German U-boats. Instead of fleeing, they must fight with the hopes of increasing the chance of winning the war.

Tom Hanks is a wonderful actor, and in this film, he not only proved that but also displays his talent in screenplay writing. He got inspiration from the novel The Good Shepherd. There’s no doubt that his acting is on point. Tom can sell any character he plays. Moreover, former Navy who watched this film respects how true the movie is to their experience.

11. Midway (2019)

English 2h 18m IMDb
Midway (2019)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Stars: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson

This movie is based on the actual events of the Battle of Midway during World War II. It focuses on the battle of the American and Japanese Navies after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Japanese are planning to attack again, and the U.S. Navy must fight against all odds.

It’s historically accurate and the acting, directing, and special effects are great. It reminds people how much the sailors had to sacrifice to fight for their homeland. The viewers appreciate the straightforwardness of the movie. There is no dilly-dallying with side stories but rather straight to the point.

12. Dunkirk (2017)

English 1h 46m IMDb
Dunkirk (2017)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance

One of the popular operations during World War II is in Dunkirk. Despite being surrounded by the German air force, the troops kept trying to flee via sea. Thousands of men died, but many British and French soldiers still lived, which they considered a miracle.

Dunkirk, is a movie based on a true story. You know this is one of the accurate films as the survivors of the operation commended the director and writer, Christopher Nolan, for capturing the events so well and the thoughts of the soldiers. Meanwhile, the music scores set an unsettling mood for the audience.

13. Act of Valor (2012)

English 1h 50m IMDb
Act of Valor (2012)

Director: Mike McCoy Scott Waugh

Stars: Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano

The Act of Valor’s story centers on rescuing and extracting a kidnapped CIA who happens to know top-level classified information. The Navy Seals risked their lives to secure the compound where they had exchanged bullets with the enemy guards.

The film seemed that it was made to let the viewers feel the chilling effect of reality during missions. Those who are into action movies will surely enjoy this heavy action-packed film!

Here’s a quick trivia, it is a political movie with action scenes that were not mostly shot in countries like America where the actual exchange of live bullets is not allowed.


Whether you want to know about how the militaries fought for your homeland or want to enjoy classic movies with great battle scenes, these best navy movies are your best bet. Watching films like this is a great way to commemorate the fallen and veterans. Which one is your favorite?

Must-Watch Navy Movies of All Time

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