Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Submarines In Media -- Good And Bad

This weekend, there was an article in the Virginian-Pilot about a new book that's coming out about the raising of the Soviet submarine K-129 back in the mid-70s. It looks pretty good.

On the bad side, here's a trailer for a new direct-to-video movie that re-imagines the Moby Dick story wherein Captain Ahab commands a submarine:

Starring the guy from Rocky Horror Picture Show, this could conceivably be the worst submarine movie of all time, supplanting Full Fathom Five.

What do you think is the worst submarine movie of all time?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Rubber Duck consult on this movie? I bet he did....

12/06/2010 1:40 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Have never consulted on a flic ... and never said I did. Was OOD in TROUT when we dived for opening sequence in Gray Lady Down (shot from hovering helo off SDGO January 1976) and did have a speaking part in the After Battery recitation of The Vikings (we saw it so many times in SS-244 that we turned off the sound and recited the lines from memory).

Am working with Polmar as advisor on SOSUS chapter in a new book he's just finishing.

Does that bring you up to date?

12/06/2010 1:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD errr John
Your the Bee's knee's

12/06/2010 2:03 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

K-19: The Widowmaker.

The film had a superb cast and a decent storyline based on an actual event. But the producers and directors basically took the whole thing and threw it on the deck. This one had some serious potential which they could have tapped into.

12/06/2010 2:32 PM

Anonymous News Reader said...

Worst submarine movie?

That would have to be between Crimson Tide and Down Periscope.

Crimson Tide is worse though because it was intended to be "realistic".

12/06/2010 2:56 PM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

'Crimson Tide', no doubt about it. It just was not realistic at all. Cinematography was awful, characters were awful, CO's dog pissing on the deck was awful, CO *having* a dog aboard was stupid, and on and on. Just not much positive to say about it. Oh yeah, the XO snapping his fingers to give an order. That was awful too.

12/06/2010 3:31 PM

Blogger ETCS (SS/SW) said...

EDIT: I meant Communicator not XO.

12/06/2010 3:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a wiki link showing submarine movies:

I would say Vogage to the bottom of the sea (both movie and tv show) would have to be right close the top of the worst list.

12/06/2010 3:55 PM

Anonymous Laughter in Manslaughter said...

News Reader bite your tongue, Down Periscope is the single greatest, most accurate submarine movie ever!

K-19 hands down.

12/06/2010 4:36 PM

Anonymous Xenocles said...

Sub Down. I haven't personally seen it, but I hear it's an absolute dog. Straight to video, doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. The trailer is bad enough.

12/06/2010 5:32 PM

Anonymous Worst CO's said...

New movie reminds me of:

Chicago 92-95 (Johnson) and Alabama Gold (Wichert) 1999-2001.

12/06/2010 5:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silent Venom: the world's cheapest knock off...on a submarine.

12/06/2010 6:05 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

During his college years my brother had a speaking role in an ETV submarine documentary. He has never been aboard a commissioned sub.

After my navy sub service ended I was 'volunteered' for a non-speaking role as a foreignor in a client's global advertisement for a trade show.

The pay was the same for us both --zero.

12/06/2010 6:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sub Down (Video 1997)

Twenty thousand leagues under the sea, without a paddle. A pair of civilians are the only hope for a nuclear submarine stuck thousands of feet beneath the polar ice cap.
- Wikipedia

12/06/2010 6:42 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

Definately Crimson Tide.

I LOVED Down Periscope for exactly what it was: Check-Your-Brain-At-The-Door satirical comedy. IMO, it SHOULD have contained the same opening caption that was shown in "The Men Who Stare At Goats": "More of this is true than you would believe"!!

12/06/2010 6:43 PM

Anonymous 610ET said...


How about the CO referring to the COB as Mr. COB? COB also had a gold band on his cover. On and on, etc.

There was a Martin Sheen movie that was pretty lame. As CO, after every order, he did an “I say again”. Hostile Waters?

12/06/2010 6:47 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Is truth even stranger than these bad movies? Should we believe the 'leaked' cables? (Answer: If yes, Assange the Australian is a legally-protected public enemy whose U.S. lawyers will help him escape a meaningful prison sentence). How does 3 weeks sound?

An engineering company named in one of the Wikileaks cables describes a Scottish company as "Critical to the Ship Submersible Nuclear (SSN)" MacTaggart Scott

12/06/2010 7:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of you guys have clearly never seen Full Fathom Five or you would not be mentioning other movies. I sat through 15 minutes of its baleful idiocy. We started laughing, but at some point it became so bad, it wasnt funny anymore.

Down Periscope rocked. If you didnt like it, you are humorless.

The worst part of Crimson Tide? A khaki actually DROPPING some guy for pushups. What would have happened in real life? Extra credit for creative answers...

12/06/2010 7:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depth Charge (2008)

The "trailer" below is actually just the first 15 minutes.

12/06/2010 7:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks so far its bound to be a classic!

Barry Bostwick is used to having people yell obscenities at the screen in his movies (Rocky Horror-- All we need it the audience participation script for this one!

12/06/2010 7:39 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

Crimson Tide was the worst until I saw Sub Down. Haven't seen Full Fathom Five or Silent Venom so maybe Crimson Tide would get to move up a couple of spots if I were desperate to have my brain rotted. Thanks for the warning.

12/06/2010 9:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Down Periscope was beautiful...was I the only one who caught the term "DBF forever" in that movie? Even though I am a nuke that phrase won props from me...

Crimson Tide on the other hand was weak, weak, weak...on my boat trying to get a blueshirt to crank out pushups would get pretty much one response--the middle finger. Laughable the notion of that sort of "discipline" on a submarine...


12/06/2010 9:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things: First of all, everyone knows submariners can't do pushups. I'm pretty sure that kid did more then 5 under the abuse of James Gandolfini.. so that Crimson Tide scene was a little much. Second, pets are allowed on board with the CO's authorization, per our good friend the SORM. That pissin' lil rugrat could exist.

12/06/2010 10:45 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

Down Periscope did rock. It's too damned funny to be completely dismissed. Another one I like is U-571. Historically inaccurate as all hell but still a good flick.

As for pets on board, yes we can have them theoretically. But most COs/XOs are going to be very careful along these lines. One guy brings a chocolate lab who four months later gains 60LBS and chews on anything within his midst. Another guy brings a five gallon fish tank. I bring a one year old tiger tabby on board as my pet.

Now I can't teach the cat how trim tanks work. So where is she supposed to shit? Where do I put the litter box? Even on a 726, we don't have that much room. What happens next when we rig for silent running and the dog is chasing my cat on the missile deck? Or what about the disharmony which will ensue when my cat is pawing at the fish in my buddy's fish tank in berthing? Yup, someone is getting a spanking for sure.

And that's why no pets are allowed on board. Atleast that's how it's been explained to me in the past...Am I wrong Gents?

12/07/2010 12:43 AM

Anonymous Xenocles said...

My last AWEPS once suggested that he would kick that little dog down the length of the missile compartment if he caught it pissing on one of his tubes, and I believe him.

12/07/2010 4:43 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Coming out of her first overhaul, ABRAHAM LINCOLN (SSBN-602) had an aquarium (about 15 gallons) permanently installed in her wardroom. With fish. Kept about half full underway. Stewards job to look after the fish. (EDISON went farther, had a piano installed aboard.)

12/07/2010 4:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Best - DAS BOOT.

Barry Bostwick, huh? Don't forget that Tim Curry (Dr. Frankenfurter) was in Hunt for Red October ("look! He is scaring their submarine out of the water!"). Must be a Rocky Horror trend. Susan Sarandon for the first female CO in the inevitable made-for-TV movie? She would be much better playing Holly Graf...

12/07/2010 5:41 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

610et Are you refering to SSBN 610?
Regarding the Edison's piano, I belive it was put in during new construction. Very good for half way nights.

12/07/2010 5:53 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

12/07/2010 6:13 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Hey Duck, here is another view of the piano in 1973 just after pulling into Mare Island for overhaul The piano is right behine yours truely in my much younger days.
Nice how it slide right in under the lockers.

12/07/2010 6:22 AM

Anonymous EX Anav/COB said...

Does anyone have their "hacker" cards punched for any of the above mentioned flicks? Nothing better than sitting on the messdecks during a crappy flick and listening to the crew conduct a running commentary. Better than Mystery Science Theater 2000

12/07/2010 6:24 AM

Anonymous steveeas said...

How about "Hell and High Water" with Richard Widmark? It featured intentional sub on sub underwater ramming.

12/07/2010 9:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The greatest regret of my Naval service was never getting to hear an OOD yell out "Helmsman, give me ramming speed!", in spite of my best efforts to needle them into doing so. Weak.

12/07/2010 9:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Theo Roosevelt SSBN600 had a shuffle board in the torpedo room. I'd bet that the Rubber Dick was grand champion shuffle boarder of the boat even though he never set foot on her.

Word verification = hydro

12/07/2010 11:43 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Anon @ 10:45 (12-06)-
"I'm pretty sure that kid did more then 5 under the abuse of James Gandolfini.. so that Crimson Tide scene was a little much."

Guessing your dolphins were not "pinned" on your chest either as had been a common practice before RD's time. Still, RD began as a skimmer and look what recently happened on the modern USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77).


12/07/2010 12:01 PM

Blogger Ronsonic said...

If only they had done this ten years ago starring Leslie Nielson. That would have been brilliant.

12/07/2010 12:12 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

vigilis: dunno when pinning whales became practice but not done that I'm aware of when I originally qualified. OTOH, drinking your dolphins was standard.

12/07/2010 11:43 AM: suck a dick.

12/07/2010 12:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a BAD movie but there has already been a submarine Moby Dick film - The Bedford Incident ('65) with Richard Widmark in the Ahab role, Sidney Poitier in the Ishmael role, & the original Danno as the totally lame Ensign.

12/07/2010 1:19 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Worst CO--Johnson, eh? Try having him for an XO. Better still, the guy that followed him was even WORSE, if that's possible.

Best submarine movie(s)--Run Silent, Run Deep, Das Boot, and for silly-assed underway humor, Down Periscope. If you were laughing during that movie, you had no sense of humor.

Worst--Hands down the worst "major" release was Crimson Tide. Some straight-to-video gems include Phantom Below (editions included a LGBT version), Fifth Missile, and Silent Venom (more about the snake, but you get the idea.)

12/07/2010 1:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed. Crimson Tide worst. Just on Sunday. Story ridiculous. uniforms off, flip shots between boomer and attack. Sonar tech needed his ass kicked. I think the new K-129 movie was made in the UK?

12/07/2010 1:43 PM

Anonymous Cupojoe said...

Have to mention 1990's "Going Under", a film about the USS SUB STANDARD, starring Bill Pullman as Biff Banner, Ned Beatty as ADM Malice, and Generals Electric, Confusion and Telephone. The "Showgirls" of submarine movies.

12/07/2010 1:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised "Hostile Waters" hasn't gotten a mention here.

This POS was filled with errors all over the place. My favorite was "Sonar" was supposed to be a LTJG staring at a screen similar to a radar screen shouting out contacts' course, speed, range, and manuevers.

12/07/2010 2:31 PM

Anonymous 610ET said...

Chief Torpedoman,

Yes on SSBN 610. 1967-1971
Overhaul and then Blue crew.

Re: Hostile Waters, I did mention that one already. Real turkey.

Anon 1:43 Flip shot? Never heard that one. New term? Same as snap shot?

RD and TMC, the piano was pretty unusual. I understand that the commissioning crew used it a lot. We didn't all that much. My first NAV, LT. Levangie was the guy who tracked it down and got it refurbished.

TMC, I don't rember the TA print/painting on the aft bulkhead of crews mess. Any idea when that came aboard?

12/07/2010 4:58 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...


I was there from mid 1972 to spring 1975. Painting was always there as far as I know.

Think we just missed each other. Interesting fact found out in the second overhaul is that the Chiefs in the first overhaul cumshawed a job to move the CPO Quarters bulkhead 6 inches further out in the mid level ops passageway.

I was discovered when some new piece of gear in the P-way stuck out too far and everyone was bumping into it. The blueprints said it couldn't be but the tape measure said it sure was. :-)

Close to end of overhaul and the whole bulkhead was cut away and moved back. then there was the yard worker who in LL ops happened to drill into the one of the hydraulic lines in crews berthing outboard starboard side. He just missed the high pressure line and I think he drilled into a low pressure return line. The bales of rags were tossed that day. What memories.

12/07/2010 7:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

5th Missile.

Who would paint underway anyway?

12/07/2010 11:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SSBN 728 Blue CA. 1992

Das Boot is by far the worst.

12/07/2010 11:42 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Das Boot: the WW-II submariners I've talked to say it's the BEST boat movie (the eng reminded me of a couple nukes I've known).

12/08/2010 3:31 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"Chiefs in the first overhaul cumshawed a job to move the CPO Quarters bulkhead 6 inches further out in the mid level ops passageway."

Are unauthorized Ship Alterations (SHIPALTs) not prohibited? Sure, perhaps the CO approved, but not NAVSEA.

12/08/2010 3:46 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...


Did you miss where I said "cumshaw" or has the meaning changed since I was in. I don't think the CO knew about it. 610et may know more about since he was in the first Edison overahul.

12/08/2010 5:28 AM

Anonymous 610ET said...

610et may know more about since he was in the first Edison overahul.

No, I was a little bit out of "that loop" at the time. :)

12/08/2010 8:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst, mid 70's Charleton Heston in "Gray Lady Down" saw it in Charleston with a lot of other boat sailors in the audience, lots of hoots and hollers as the XO yelled at the CO for bringing the boat into New London on the surface just so he could show off! It only got worse after that.

12/08/2010 9:35 AM

Blogger Cinewill said...

Surprised to NOT see the 3 movies I did visual effects for at the turn of the century.
"Crash Dive" "Steel Sharks" and "Countermeasures"on the hit list!
I cringe whenever I see them now -the schlocky low budget sets and limited time to execute.
What happened usually would be a low budget producer would find a Crimson Tide set for a song, Put together 3 movie "packages" around that (budgets ran from 300k to a million)
just enough bread to get everyone paid low wages.They usually purchased stock footage from Crimson tide for a pittance and our job was to match those effects. this was when digital was just going- so we were still building models,at the time no intel was available on the Kilo class .Our navy liasion handed us a bad b&W copy out of Jane's-and I had to build an accurate movie model from that! we shot "dry for wet" with the subs suspended from wires or hidden poles in a smoke filled(gag!) room. when It worked it was magic! some of our $3000 shots match Crimson's pricey shots (1 mil approx.)
William Martel usually wrote the scripts which were lightly researched. (There was so little info available on sublife and procedures at that time.)He was cheap and wrote to our limited budgets.
There was no real concern for accuracy on the live sets most of the actors just blurted them out just another paycheck for them.
Most of the "Stars" are there to ensure a name for a "sale" they are generally egomaniacs who are in recovery and just happen to to be available at a "reduced fee"
To bring accuracy is an incredible effort a sub is a set designers quagmaire! with every part in 3 dimensions with a function and tons of wiring and pipes and ducts.
near impossible to fake on a low budget.I see a lot of comments bagging on K-19 -they tried super hard to get everything right-sure the story was a downer!
RIght now I'm trying to sketch out a low budge sub film -with some technical accuracy (Got my CGI skills way up! )- but coming up with credible scenarios in post cold war times is tricky. taiwan straits gets old.terrorists commandeer a boat -been there.
I would like to represent the quiet griping professionalism of submariners I have met. and tell a good yarn with lots of "outwitting the other guy"
Hollywood aims squarely for "15 yr old urban girl" audiences nowadays. Getting real money(30-50 mil) to make something worthwhile ,is near impossible in the current economy
-any tech advice or abuse:

BTW -I think the worst was "Submarine command" which seemed like it was shot in an office!

12/08/2010 10:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why don't you tell the story of blowing shitters in one's face, Flat-Statement Logs and grease gun shots up one's arse during field day, bitch and moan sessions in the Crew's Mess during mid watch, movie marathons and hamburger haven on Sundays, Mid Patrol skits, rimming the COB's coffey mug, spitting in the OOD's hot chocolate, going to 90 feet with the ventalation mast head valve still open, stealing a full sheet of hot fresh sticky buns from the night baker and eating almost all of them with friends hanging out in the Torpedo Room before Charlie shows up to get back what's left, trim parties for newly qualified COOWs and Diving Officers, standing lookout watch after being submerged for 75 days, seeing a plain looking female after 80 days at sea and thinking how delicious she looks, sticking you head into a missile tube hatch in lower level Missile Compartment and seeing the butt end of a Poseidon missile, seeing and doing many other things we cannot talk about...

12/10/2010 2:47 PM

Blogger Cinewill said...

Thanks Anon, for that frank admission of the day-to-day on a boomer!
Have served 4yrs in another branch .I can related to some of the stories -however the severity of f--ing up on a nuclear sub is immense and immediate! I had heard of the toilet exploding thing and that it was used to get back at jerks. THing is to tell the tale without making y'all look like conniving,stir crazy,frat boys.

12/12/2010 4:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Conniving? Hell yes....
Stir Crazy? From the day we left on patrol....
Frat Boys? If compared to the Omega House, hell no. If compared to the Delta House, absolutely.

We found time to qualify, operate the boat, perform maintenance, and pass incredibly difficult examinations. A boat's submerge to surface ratio does not equal one without competence and professionalism.

But I think we took as much or more pride in being conniving, stir crazy, childish frat boys as we did in being competent and professional.....

12/13/2010 8:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I saw in that trailer where the whale is attacking that submarine I would have to say that, that is the stupidest thing I have ever saw... I just thought about for a couple of seconds and Yes Yes that is utterly retarted nothing but a waste of everybody's time. I think that anyone who sees that movie will be stupider for seeing it. I mean I only saw the trailer and I feel like something has been taken from me. WOW. OW!

1/05/2011 1:49 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home