CDA Technical Institute's Commercial Diver Program

Top 5 Diving Movies

We've put together a list of movies that reference commercial diving specifically, or perhaps references oceanic diving in one form or another. Some of these movies are based on accounts of actual events - such as Men of Honor - while others are based soley in fiction and fantasy. So how many of these have you seen?

1. Men of Honor (2000)

Men of Honor - movie poster

 

This inspirational film depicts the sensational story of Master chief petty officer Carl Brashear and the extraordinary man who trained him. The setting takes place at a Commercial Diving and Salvage school in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Overcoming adversity in the form of racism and discrimination, Carl Brashear eventually goes on to become the first African American to become a master diver in the US Navy.

 


2. The Abyss (1989)

The Abyss - Movie Poster

 

This science-fiction thriller (directed by James Cameron) and starring Ed Harris centers around a team of Navy SEAL divers with the (not-so-simple) task of salvaging a ballistic missile submarine after it had encountered an Unidentified Submerged Object (USO) near the edge of the Cayman Trough.

There are references to various adverse conditions associated with commercial diving such as high-pressure nervous syndrome and decompression sickness.

 


3. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Movie Poster

 

Starring Kirk Douglas, Walt Disney Production was adapted from Jules Verne’s 19th century novel of the same name. Essentially, a “sea monster” attacking ships in the Pacific Ocean has caught the attention of the US government, and Ned Land (Kirk Douglas) is dispatched to investigate.

To his astonishment, the “sea monster” is in fact a futuristic submergible vessel (Nautilus) with Captain Nemo (James Mason) at the helm.

After a series of close-calls and confrontations, the crew finds themselves in the midst of oblivion with only a few survivors. The film exemplifies the structure, function, moral & ethical principles that have guided Naval units for centuries. 


4. Sphere (1998)

Sphere - movie poster

 

When a spaceship is discovered 1000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, a carefully selected team of scientists and mathematicians are selected to investigate the anomaly. Upon further inspection, the team makes some startling discoveries.

Most remarkable of which being a perfectly spherical object that floats mysteriously a few feet above the ground.

The plot thickens and twists like vines as the characters scramble to escape the ill-fated vessel from which they’re bound.

 


5. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

The Life Aquatic - movie poster

 

Last on our list is the cult-classic comedy directed by Wes Anderson and starring Bill Murray as the film’s protagonist. The film centers around Zissou - an eccentric oceanographer and documentarian - who is determined to gain vengeance and document the destruction of the elusive “Jaguar Shark” who had eaten Zissou’s best friend.

More fantasy than fiction, The Life Aquatic’s imagery and style sets it apart from most nautical-themed motion pictures. And those with keen sense of humor and an open mind will surely appreciate the bizarre brilliance that is Wes Anderson and his all-star cast of actors.


Honorable Mention: Open Water (2003)

Open Water - Movie Poster

 

Recreational divers are left behind when a scuba expedition boat crew fails to take an accurate head count before returning to port.

Left in open deep water, the couple battles hunger, thirst, sharks, jellyfish, storms, and despair.

 



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