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"What naval films would you like to see?" Topic

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Bozkashi Jones18 Jul 2020 1:56 a.m. PST

As war films go, we've had quite a few gems over the years and with Tom Hanks' current film Greyhound (sadly only on apple films) I wondered what naval films people would like to see.

I have two pitches for films that I would dearly love to see on the big screen:


Specifically the story of Lt. Leo Gradwell and HMS Ayrshire. The pallet for this film would be almost monochrome, with muted shades of blue, white and grey. The tension as the ships were stuck in the ice, listening to the distress calls of those ships not so lucky, the make-do-and-mend measures they took – painting the ships white with paint they found to act as camouflage, arming the MGs on the deck cargo Shermans, dousing the boilers to prevent smoke haze giving them away – that all speaks of a tense, beautiful film.


PITCH 2: Battle of the Java Sea

The drama and the inevitable tragedy of the Java Sea would make an incredible film – yes, there's the excitement and action of the battle itself, but I would want a film to explore the stress and fatalism of the various attempts to escape – there's Heck Waller, calmly smoking his pipe and wishing his men good luck as HMAS Perth sank, the US destroyers creeping through the Bali Straight under the noses of the Japanese, the desperate last stand of HMS Exeter…

It would be a truly international production, with American, British, Dutch and Australian talent. Why not put the Japanese perspective in, as did Cornelius Ryan with the Germans in A Bridge Too Far?

PITCH 3: Battle of Lake Tanganyika

I would love to see this – it would start like Carry On Up The Kyber, with Spicer-Simson's failures, especially sitting down to dinner overlooking the harbour as his ship is torpedoed in the background, it should move on to Fitzcoraldo as his expedition drag the motor launches through the jungle, and finally into Apocalypse Now as his ego, his megalomania and madness take over.

So what real-life naval films would you like to see, from whatever era?


Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 3:31 a.m. PST

A good, Peter Wier quality film about Trafalgar. I do not think that has ever been done.

newarch18 Jul 2020 3:45 a.m. PST

Any of the battles at Guadalcanal would be quite exciting, although you'd have use artistic licence in respect of the fact they took place at night. Cape Esperance (I think) took place at quite close range and had quite a lot of dramatic tension, the Japanese probably had the best of the initial exchanges in terms of losses but the US turned the tide by the final battle. Would be good as a miniseries to get the scope.

The Bismarck story would be good too, especially told from the point of view of the German crew, Das Boot style.

4DJones18 Jul 2020 4:14 a.m. PST

A re-make of the Battle of the River Plate. Keep the script, but let computer graphics handle the battle scenes.

BillyNM18 Jul 2020 4:17 a.m. PST

I would like the Battle of the River Plate updated with CGI just to replace the ship sequences in black & white suitably de-focused to blend in with the old film stock.

parrskool Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 4:50 a.m. PST

Master and Commander 2 "This time it's personal"

Mr Astrolabe18 Jul 2020 4:59 a.m. PST

Certainly more Aubrey & Maturin – whilst I thoroughly enjoyed Master & Commander (I thought the casting was outstanding) I felt there were far better stories in the series that could have been dramatized. here's hoping!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 5:05 a.m. PST

A film about the USS Constitution.
Might actually need to be a series, as she had many exciting and intense actions against a variety of enemies.
And yes, I want full-bore, flag-waving, American patriotic fervor, too!

The Battle of Valcour Bay. This one has a chance for more nuance, given the hero is Benedict Arnold, when he still was one.

The Story of John Paul Jones. Flag wave it up.

14Bore18 Jul 2020 5:15 a.m. PST

Very sad M&C didn't get a sequel, above suggestions are very good and of them the USS Constitution would be my pick.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 5:21 a.m. PST

The Spanish American War. Essentially, two battles with a bunch of planning sessions in between the action. CG all the way.

ptdockyard18 Jul 2020 6:15 a.m. PST

How about a movie about US and RN coastal actions in the Med? There are two Higgins boats from that theater restored now, the Italian Navy used MFPs for decades and I think one is a museum ship. I am sure it would be full of German S-boats (even though they left the Western Med in October 1943 for the Adriatic) but I can set that fact aside for a fun movie.

Dave G

Vincent the Librarian18 Jul 2020 7:44 a.m. PST

The Four Days Fight would be awesome!

Grelber18 Jul 2020 8:01 a.m. PST

Rhium and Naupactus, 429 B.C.
Battle of Lake Erie, 1813
HMS Glowworm vs Admiral Hipper, 1940
Samar: Central Striking Force vs Taffy 3,October, 1944


jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 8:17 a.m. PST

2nd Lake Tanganyka. also 2nd Master and commander.the Battle of Java sea.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 8:24 a.m. PST

3rd Lake Tanganyka and maybe tf Laffy during leyte gulf

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 8:29 a.m. PST

The Exocet attack on the Stark. That would make an amazing and harrowing story

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 8:31 a.m. PST

Actium – without Richard Burton!

Andrew Walters18 Jul 2020 9:05 a.m. PST

I think I would watch any of these.

Lascaris18 Jul 2020 9:33 a.m. PST

I think something cool would be riverine combat in the ACW.

Murvihill18 Jul 2020 9:37 a.m. PST

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

Prince Alberts Revenge18 Jul 2020 9:49 a.m. PST

Mimi and TouTou's Big Adventure would be awesome. I'd love to see Lepanto made into a movie as well.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 10:06 a.m. PST

Jutland or the
Russo-Japanese War are tops for me followed by Plum Point and Memphis from the War of Southern Secession.

rmaker18 Jul 2020 10:45 a.m. PST

John Paul Jones has been done:


And for the Russo-Japanese War, see Toho's "Battle of the Japan Sea" made with incredible model work:


Garand18 Jul 2020 11:08 a.m. PST

Second Jutland. This needs to be done. With modern special effects & CGI, it can finally be done justice.


Pontius18 Jul 2020 11:34 a.m. PST

Another vote for Jutland, perhaps making it in a manner similar Alexander Fullerton's book "Blooding of the Guns"?

What about Operation Pedestal? A number of tragedies leading to a final victory. This could be told from several points of view: Ohio, the important ship in the convoy; HMS Ledbury, an escort heavily involved in the defence of the convoy. A great scene would be Hill guiding Ledbury through the burning oil to rescue survivors from Waimarama.

slugbalancer18 Jul 2020 11:37 a.m. PST

Operation Pedestal.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 12:02 p.m. PST

I think I would love pitch 2, the Java Sea! One of my favourite WW2 battles.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Jul 2020 12:08 p.m. PST

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 12:09 p.m. PST

Most of the above are good suggestions, and the first three were pitched with a film maker's eye--"Well Done!"

A few of the rest are so esoteric that they would never be made even if they could made be on a "bathtub models" budget.

BUT… The Battle Off Samar is arguably the greatest moment in the history of the US Navy. Had those Tin Cans and Baby Flat Tops fought with even 10% less courage and skill, the landings at Leyte would likely have been the biggest naval disaster in US history. Indeed, Japan might even have gotten a negotiated peace--or worse: Many Atomic Bombs and a fullbore invasion with consequences to world history I don't even want to imagine.

I, too, would buy tickets to most any of the previous suggestions, but this may be the only one America NEEDS to be able to see, especially in current climate.


Calico Bill18 Jul 2020 2:27 p.m. PST

Taffy 3 at the Battle off Samar.

Festerfest18 Jul 2020 8:03 p.m. PST

The movie I (for some reason) thought "Greyhound" was going to be. U.S. Picket destoyer vs kamikazes off Okinawa. Something akin to USS Laffey's ordeal. Straightforward plot: they want to kill us and we refuse to die. Cast of characters limited to the crew allows some depth to be built. When all hope seems lost sexy sexy F4U Corsairs help save the day. Movie ends with the ship coming into port battered bloody but unbroken.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2020 9:12 p.m. PST

I too would love to see a movie about the USS Laffey. At least six bomb hits, four kamikaze hits, and hit by a corsair, but refused to sink. Truly a heroic ship and crew. Would make a stunning movie.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2020 3:46 a.m. PST

I'd watch any of the above.

I'd love to see a movie based on the book The Tsar's Last Armada where the Russian Fleet faces trial after trial just getting around the world before culminating in The Battle of Tsushima where they suffer a strategic defeat.

I'd also love to see The Battle of the Dogger Bank and the last ride of the SMS Blόcher.

I would Love, Love, Love a movie based on the exploits of The Wolf (also another great book) about the very long voyage of the SMS Wolf in WWI as it terrorized the Indian and Australian coasts before returning home to Germany.

Finally I'd love to see the capture of the U-505 put to film.

All of these have the potential for great character drama as well as great Naval action.

14Bore19 Jul 2020 2:09 p.m. PST

Monitor and Merrimac, but it ends in a draw so not a great ending.

Bozkashi Jones19 Jul 2020 5:02 p.m. PST

There are some fantastic ideas in there – and Operation Pedestal would be a superb film, as would the story of the USS Stark – I've read several published accounts of that and it would be an incredible tale; harrowing, as David says, but done right it would be an amazing film. In a similar vein the story of the Samuel B Roberts, especially the tense beginning when she realised she was literally surrounded by mines and was trying to reverse out of the minefield, would make a compelling tale, though the Stark has a lot more drama.

Being quite Anglo-centric, I must admit I know little of the Pacific War, so thanks to all those who pointed me towards the story of the USS Laffey; that is an incredible story that I'd never read before – I couldn't quite believe what I was reading!

Wargamer Blue20 Jul 2020 12:16 a.m. PST

Something good on Jutland would do me nicely.

Molecatcherjohn20 Jul 2020 12:14 p.m. PST

Jutland – agreed!
Pedestal – gave me a tingly moment – absolutely!!
But everyone seems to be missing the obvious one – the first and second battles of Narvik?

samardza20 Jul 2020 6:35 p.m. PST

how about the sinking and rescue of the survivore from the USS Helena

oldjarhead21 Jul 2020 7:03 a.m. PST

All good choices, I would love to see a movie on Coronel and the Falklands.

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2020 11:49 a.m. PST

The voyage of the Seeadler, a 3-masted schooner that the Germans used as a commerce raider in WWI. Or the voyage of the Emden, a light cruiser similarly employed.

Bozkashi Jones22 Jul 2020 12:35 a.m. PST

Actually, the Emden would have some wonderfully eccentric and moving moments – Captain Muller graciously agreeing not to let the demolished radio mast on the Cocos fall across the tennis court, the Captain of the Sydney signalling ahead for crowds not to cheer their arrival at port out of respect for the German POWs on board who had lost so many comrades…

And then, of course, there's the landing party's epic escape and journey back to Germany…

With regard to the Coronel and the Falklands, a movie was made in 1927 link – I have watched it (a few years ago) and there are a surprising number of human stories in it, a fair bit of humour and very little jingoism. Worth a watch.


Murvihill22 Jul 2020 5:20 a.m. PST

There's already a movie about the Emden, pretty old though.

Nine pound round23 Jul 2020 4:53 p.m. PST

"The Fleet That Had To Die."

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 10:08 a.m. PST

"The Fleet That Had To Die."


Ferozopore28 Jul 2020 9:02 p.m. PST

I nominate the Battle of Lissa (1866). Surely a good opportunity for CGI.

Murvihill30 Jul 2020 10:43 a.m. PST

I think the cruises of the USS Lanikai could make for a Mr Roberts-type comedy.

Bozkashi Jones04 Aug 2020 3:36 a.m. PST

Murvihill – just googled it; I see what you mean:

"at Surabaya, Java, on 3 February 1942, three Japanese bombs straddled the schooner so close aboard that Lanikai crewmen put off in a skiff to pick up a large quantity of stunned fish."

Love it!

Murvihill05 Aug 2020 10:02 a.m. PST

Can you imagine "Congratulations lieutenant, I'm giving you a command. It's been rotting at the end of the pier for the last twenty years. You have two days to get underway."

Pyrate Captain24 Aug 2020 1:39 p.m. PST

Master and Commander II.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Aug 2020 3:40 p.m. PST

Battle of Lake Erie.
Naval Battle of Memphis in 1862.
Battle of the Dardanelles.

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