Model Ship Movies from 1960 on

This is a list of movies released since the year 1960  that I know ( because I have watched them) or I believe ( ’cause I’ve read about them but not seen them…yet?)  have shots of model ships in them. I will be adding to this list from time to time as my research progresses, so this page is always under construction. Please let me know of any I have might have missed, particularly from European films of which I know very little about and would like to know a great deal more.

Clicking on any link will take you to the page for that title. No link means I haven’t done that title yet.

The X marks a title I have not yet viewed.

Movie TitleYear of releaseReleasing CompanyVisual Effects Supervisor 
Storm Over the Pacific AKA Hawai Middowei daikaikûsen: Taiheiyô no arashi1960TOHOEiji Tsubaraya
Sink the Bismarck1960Twentieth Century Fox
Swiss Family Robinson1960DisneyPeter Ellenshaw
Gorgo1961King BrosTom Howard
The Guns of Navarone1961ColumbiaBill Warrington
Atlantis, the LostContinent1961MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea1961Twentieth Century FoxL B Abbott
The Black Galley / Die Schwarze Galeere1962DEFA
Seige of Syracuse1962ParamountX
H.M.S. Defiant (Damn The Defiant U.S. title)1962Columbia
In Search of the Castaways1962DisneyPeter Ellenshaw
Mutiny on the Bounty1962MGM
Atragon (Kaitei gunkan)1963TOHO (AIP)Eiji Tsuburaya
Carry on Jack1963Anglo Amalgamated
Captain Sinbad1963Tom Howard
Cleopatra1963Twentieth Century FoxL B Abbott
Jason and the Argonauts1963ColumbiaRay Harryhausen
The Longships1964ColumbiaSyd Pearson, Bill Warrington
The Heroes of Telemark 1965John P Fulton
In Harm's Way1965Paramount
Lord Jim1965ColumbiaCliff Richardson, Wally veevers
The Bedford Incident1965Columbia
The Great Race1965Warner BrothersLinwood Dunn, Film Effects of Hollywood.
Assault on a Queen1966ParamountLawrence Butler
Around the World Under the sea1966MGMJim Danforth
Batman the Movie1966Twentieth Century FoxL B Abbot
Doctor Dolittle1967Twentieth Century Fox
A Twist of Sand1968Bill Warrington
Submarine X-11968United Artists
The Lost Continent1968Hammer FilmsCliff Richardson
Attack on the Iron Coast1968United Artists
Ice Station Zebra1968MGM
Admiral Yamamoto1968TOHOEiji Tsuburaya
King Kong Escapes1968Universal
Nihonkai Daikasen (Battle for the sea of Japan)1969TOHOEiji Tsuburaya
Krakatoa East of Java1969CineramaEugene Lourie, Alex Weldon
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City1969MGMJack Mills
George Gibbs
Richard Conway
Hell Boats1970Oakmont Productions
Tora Tora Tora1970Twentieth Century FoxL.B. Abbott
The Light at the edge of the world1971National General pictures
Murphy’s War1971Paramount
The Poseidon Adventure1972Twentieth Century Fox
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad1974Columbia
The Land That Time Forgot1975American International Productions (AIP)
Shout at the Devil1976American International Productions (AIP)
People That Time Forgot1977American International Productions (AIP)Ian Wingrove
The Spy Who Loved Me1977United Artists
The Deep (TV release) see The Wreck of the Mary Deare 19591977Columbia
Warlords of Atlantis1978Columbia
Killer Fish1978
Gray lady down1978UniversalHoward A. Anderson Company
19411979Universal, Columbia
NorthSea Hijack (aka ffolkes) 1979UniversalJohn Richardson
Raise the Titanic1980ITCJohn Richardson
The Sea Wolves1980Lorimar ProductionsNick Allder
Kit West
Close Encounters of the Third Kind the Special Edition see The Wreck of the Mary Deare 19591980Columbia
For Your Eyes Only1981United ArtistsDerek Meddings
Das Boot1981Columbia
Fitzcarraldo1982
The Winds of War (TV)1983Paramount Television
The Bounty1984Orion Pictures
War and Remembrance (TV)1988Paramount TelevisionX
Deepstar six1989Tristar
The Abyss Part 11989Twentieth Century Fox
The Hunt for red October1990Paramount
Cape Fear1991Derek Meddings
Frankenstein1994Tristar
Crimson Tide1995Hoyt Yeatman
Cutthroat Island1995Martin Gutteridge
White Squall1996
Tomorrow Never Dies1997MGMJohn Richardson
Titanic (1997)1997Twentieth Century Fox
Sphere1998Warner BrosJeffrey A. Okun
Godzilla1998Columbia
Virus1999Universal
U-5712000Universal
Enigma2001Jose Granell
Below2002Peter Chiang
K19 The Widowmaker2002Paramount
Master and Commander2003Twentieth Century FoxRichard Taylor
King Kong (2005)2005UniversalRichard Taylor
The Sino Japanese War at Sea 18942012

41 thoughts on “Model Ship Movies from 1960 on

  1. I ‘m researching the Penguin Submarine from the 1966 Batman movie and discovered this great site.
    I think Penguins Submarine is missing from your list ! Holy Underwater Error !
    Regards
    Henry Brown

  2. You’re right, I totally forgot about that one, and I think its L B Abbot as the visual effects supervisor as well. The flipper propulsion is pretty impressive. I will add it to the list soon.

    • The “Penguin” submarine model was on exhibit in the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in the early 1990’s. I have not seen it exhibited for sometime. The curator may now its location.

  3. Congratulations on a wonderful site. I own and operate a 31ft manned model of HMS Invincible (aircraft carrier), it has not been used in any film. You wanted information on European films , the UK tv series “Hornblower” had some very impressive sailing ship models constructed in Ukraine. There is a book “The Making of Hornblower”author Tom McGreor (ISBN 0-7522-1189-7 published 1988 by Macmillan , London , England.

    • I have the book Hornblowers Ships by Martin Saville, published by Conway Maritime Press (2000). Martin who supervised the construction of the model ships for the series goes into very great detail about the trials and tribulations of the building of the miniatures in Russia and the susequent filming in Yalta and then back at Pinewood in the paddock tank. It really is one of the best books written about the subject. As this site is about model ships in the “cinema”, TV series generally fall outside of the scope of what I hope to cover… but the work in Hornblower was done to an extremely high standard and I may get around to breaking my own rules and covering it at some point.

      I am very curious about your 31 foot Invincible.
      Do you have to register it as a boat given its length.
      What powers it and how do get access to controlling it.
      How do you even transport it?
      The mind boggles at the scale of the project… in fact what scale is it?

  4. The lost Continent is a classic bizarre Hammer film with some quite decent model ship effects. I will certainly cover that film at some point.

  5. Hi Numero Uno,
    North Sea Highjack was a film that impressed me with the miniature work..
    Good to see any info on that if you come across it..
    Steve B

    • Hello Steve B, North Sea hijack is one of my favorites and as you say has really excellent miniature work by John Richardson. It’s also one of those films on which I have no information whatsoever, nor have I been able to locate any photographs from the production. I will put it up at some point.

  6. Do you think the steamer in that Hammer film “The Lost Continent” (1968) is the same miniature used in “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” (1959)? It looks like they may have made a few hasty modifications and repainted it. Whether or not that is the case, does anyone know what became of the Mary Deare miniature?

  7. I love your site, keep up the fantastic work! I have Nihonkai Daikaisen (Battle of the Japan Sea) (1969) on DVD and have numerous screengrabs from it, including from a short DVD extra consisting of several minutes of silent black & white (probably 8mm or 16mm home movie) behind the scenes footage of the models being set up for filming.

    I also have a 1990 TV movie called Ironclads which features some impressive miniature work of the Battle of Hampton Roads. Unfortunately it’s an off-air VHS recording and I’ve not got around to digitising it yet.

  8. I think you are missing:

    The Imperial Navy (1981) “Rengo kantai” (original title)
    Director: Shûe Matsubayashi
    Writer: Katsuya Susaki
    Stars: Susumu Fujita, Hiroshi Hasegawa, Akihiko Hirata
    Production Co: Toho Eizo Co.

    This info is from IMDB.com, but I have seen the movie on VHS. I am a bit surprised to learn that it dates from 1981.

  9. A great blog, thank you for sharing your pictures and insights.

    If I might point you to another title that could sit in this list, there’s the 1976 film “Midway” about the eponymous WWII naval battle. It re-used footage from a number of other films, including “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, “Away All Boats” and even “The Battle of Britain”, yet it has some good miniature work of its own. The vivid scenes of the Japanese carriers burning made quite an impression on me as a child – I depicted them endlessly in my school drawing books!

  10. Last year I went on a downloading spree from Youtube. I happened to come across what was a Chinese made movie on the Sino Japanese war. Naval battle scenes made extensive use of miniatures. I would say the movie was made after the year 2000. If I can find it I will post more info.

    • A friend of mine brought back from Japan a complete set of DVDs of a Japanese soap of the Japanese naval academy and the lead up to and actual sea battles of the Sino-Japanese war. The graphics are amazing. It is in Japanese.

  11. Oh I bought on laser disc a copy of the Imperial Japanese propaganda movie Hawai Mare Oki Kaisen. I recall seeing somewhere that the miniature work was done by the gentleman who did the Godzilla special effects. At any rate I’m trying to get it converted to DVD.

  12. I think your missing the British “Godzilla” epic “GORGO”. Released in 1961 and distributed by MGM here in the states. There’s a scene when a British destroyer, patrolling for Gorgo’s “mother” get’s attacked and sunk by the 200′ tall monster. The large model is well detailed (from the close up shot) but I’m not sure what class of destroyer it represented.

    • Although I have not added it to the list, I have been collecting pictures for it so be assured it will appear some time. Thanks for contributing.

  13. I remember seeing a few behind the scenes shots of a movie of the 1905 Sino-Russia war. Many huge models of turn of the century warships, very cool. They were riding at anchor in a scale version of Port Arthur. I’LL look around for more info.

  14. The movie Pearl Harbor (2001, I think) has some models – especially a quick underwater shot near the end of the sunken USS Arizona. I’ve seen pictures online of the model used for the sunken Arizona – it’s pretty impressive.

  15. Can’t believe I stumbled into this website – so great! Thanks for putting it together. A few years ago, I worked on a series in Dallas, and the passenger ship model used in “War and Remembrance” is on display in the La Colinas studio in Dallas (Irving). It’s around 5-6 feet long, very detailed, and I walked by it in its display case every day. Maybe somebody could get you a picture of it. They also had one of the “Hunt for Red October” typhoon sub models, but it is mounted on a wall in a banked configuration, and I didn’t even know it was there until the shoot was almost over.
    Thanks again – can’t look away from all the great content here.

  16. You certainly may already know about this, but here is link to a couple of stills of the forced perspective desert shoot for the Cotopaxi sequence in the expanded “Close Encounters” version.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=cotopaxi+close+encounters&safe=off&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAmoVChMIzo3v87D1yAIVREomCh3shQus&biw=1197&bih=859#imgdii=j2I1yt4mR5MiHM%3A%3Bj2I1yt4mR5MiHM%3A%3BsVrRuitdQrQICM%3A&imgrc=j2I1yt4mR5MiHM%3A

    I always loved that shot when I was a kid, and didn’t realize until later it was a model with the helicopters and live actors 300 yards down the way. At least they didn’t have to worry about getting the water right. Thanks again.

    • Yes I am planning to add Close Encounters the Special Edition to the list…eventually. It is an excellent example of the forced perspective miniature, a technique largely forgotten in this digital or nothing age. Thanks for taking the trouble to comment.

  17. Hey Mate, the work your doing on these movies is fantastic. Absolutely incredible. My interest is in locating the larger models that may be converted into Manned Model Ships. Usually there either destroyed in the making of the movie or stored in a warehouse some where and for gotten. Those are the ones I’d like to get a lead on and maybe save them from getting destroyed. In your researcher if you were to run across a lead would you or could you e-mail me so I might be able to peruse saving it. Click on the photo section so you can see what I’m trying to do. Keep up the great work. Super site. Thanks T.J.

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Manned_Model_Ships_International/info

  18. For LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS magazine #38 (May 2017), I am researching and writing a massive “Making of” article on FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (Universal / NBC-TV, 2-part miniseries, 1973) starring James Mason, Leonard Whiting, Michael Sarrazin, David McCallum, Jane Seymour, Nicola Pagett, Agnes Moorehead, Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir Jon Gielgud, Margaret Leighton, Michael Wilding, Clarissa Kaye and Tom Baker. Directed by Jack Smight (MIDWAY).

    At the climax of the 3-hour film, a ship carrying the Creature, Dr. Frankenstein and others is heading toward the North Pole — and eventually is locked in ice. There are several model ship shots during a nighttime storm sequence and ultimately some daytime shots of the ship locked in ice.

    The special effects team on the film included a very impressive array of talent (as listed on the complete crew list I obtained in my research):
    Roy Whybrow – Special Effects Supervisor
    Ron Burton – Draughtsman Special Effects Design
    Alan Barnard – Special Effects Assistant
    Colin Chilvers – Special Effects Technician (Oscar winner SUPERMAN)
    Brian Smithies – Special Effects Technician
    Bud Rossler – Special Effects Asssistant

    As you and your readers know, Brian Smithies did model ship work on other projects including the Frank Langella DRACULA (1979) among others. I have seen the occasional comment from Smithies on your website, so I am hoping he will see this or you can help me get in touch with him to find out more. I suspect he was responsible for, or somehow involved in the model ship shots for this film.

    It is also possible that the nighttime storm ship shots were stock shots from previous movies. If so, you are/or your readers might recognize them.

    I have screen grabs I can provide of all the ship shots. I didn’t see an option on how to post photos on your website. Please let me know how to do that. Or, just provide me with an email address and I will be more than happy to send them to you for posting.

    Thank you very much for your help. Feel free to publish my email address. I would love to hear from anyone with additional information about the make of FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY.

    Cheers!
    Sam Irvin

    P.S. My “day job” is directing films. One of my movies, MAGIC ISLAND (1995), had a daytime model ship shot that was done just offshore in the actual ocean in Ixtapa, Mexico, with a 15-foot model ship that was rented from a local Mexican film studio. We had it “anchored” off shore, fairly close to shore, though it looked much further out — a forced-perspective illusion. The buccaneers are arriving on shore by row-boat, with the model galleon in the background. We also see the model ship in telescope shots — when the flag has been changed to a skull and crossbones, indicating it has been commandeered by pirates.

  19. My Russophile son and I recently watched “Admiral,” a 2008 period drama about Admrial Alexander Kolchak, one of the leaders of the White forces in the Russian Civil War. It opens with a slam-bang WW1 naval battle between a German armored cruiser and a Russian minelayer-destroyer which, except for the ships being way too close to each other, is very well done-the minelayer in particular. There were obviously some full-sized sets built for the actors to run about on, but the rest was either miniatures, CGI, or some combinaton thereof. The battle sequence is available (at least until the copyright police catch up to it!) on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21g2cZDJ7UE

    • Watched this yesterday and very impressive it is too. I think that the German Cruiser is CGI and the Russian Minelayer is maybe CGI on top of another ship. I certainly does not quite look right and the water spouts in front of it are too soft as they move over the ship. Hmmm, I might have to watch it again.

  20. If I recall correctly, there was some model ship work near the start of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, at the end of the pre-title sequence I think.

    Steve

  21. Hello

    While watching one of the numerous MGM Elvis Presley movies – in particular “Double Trouble” (1967) some of the action involves the freighter “SS Democles”. The best view of the actual ship can be seen during the second part at 00:13:21 – video file particulars follow:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1r8cw6_double-trouble-1967-2-2_lifestyle

    But what is of actual relevance to this website is that there is also a short 3 second scene of this ship at sea represented by a model tramp steamer (and I do mean ‘tramp’) which looks nothing like the real article (except to say that they are both freighters) starting at 00:44:00.

  22. Hello

    “Goliath Awaits’ (1981) – television movie.

    It can be found at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pyn-JQqb1TY

    The same ship model started off in “Titanic” (1953) and then suitably modified also in “Gentlemen prefer Blondes” (1953) among others according to:

    http://modelshipsinthecinema.com/wp/archives/4773#comment-35103 (‘Titanic 1953’ Posted on November 29, 2015)

    http://www.titanic-model.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=set_linear_mode&forum=100&page=&topic_id=32614&prev_page=show_mesg

  23. Hello

    The “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.

    “Black Pearl” – lots of pics of the 23 foot filming model:

    http://moviecostum.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/black-pearl-miniature-ship-from-pirates.html

    “Timelapse videos – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (preparing the model):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYsb304YY9k

    “HMS Endeavour”:

    http://rabbitlightmovies.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/hms-endeavour-filming-model-from.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CvXruQABJQ

    a destroyed version:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/90032991@N00/4314255416/in/photostream/

    And of course the “Flying Dutchman”. Unfortunately I could not find a filming model – just pictures of the full scale ship. I suspect it was too complex to represent as a physical miniature – especially doing it’s spectacular surfacing and diving act – so they went straight to cgi.

  24. I love miniature effects photography! Here are some sites I found to be fantastic too!

    nzpetesmatteshot.blogspot com/2014/12/magicians-of-miniature.html?m=1

    www modelermagic com/

    movieminiatures.blogspot com/?m=1

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