Model Ship Movies up to 1959

This is a list of movies released up to and including the year 1959 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.

Isle of Lost Ships1929Warner BrosX
The Most Dangerous Game1932RKOVernon L Walker
The Devil and the Deep1932Paramount
A House Divided1932UniversalJohn P FultonX
King Kong1933RKO
Whom the Gods Destroy1934ColumbiaX
China Seas1935MGMJames Basevi
Dantes Inferno193520th Century FoxFred SersenX
Captain Blood1935Warner BrosFred Jackman
Hearts in Bondage1936Republic PicturesBud Thackery
Sea Devils1937RKOVernon L WalkerX
Souls at Sea1937ParamountGordon Jennings
Submarine D11937Warner BrosByron Haskin
H F Koenekamp
Captains Courageous1937MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Fire Over England1937London FilmsNed Mann
Lawrence Butler
History is made at night1937United ArtistsJames Basevi
Spawn of the North1938Paramount
Jamaica Inn1939Paramount
Q Planes1939Columbia
Rulers of the Sea1939ParamountX
Thunder Afloat1939MGMA Arnold GillespieX
Swiss Family Robinson1940RKOVernon L WalkerX
The Sea Hawk1940Warner Bros
The Long Voyage Home1940United ArtistsRay Binger, R T Layton
Women in War1940Republic PicturesX
Captain Caution1940United ArtistsX
New Moon1940MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Phantom Raiders1940MGMX
Strange Cargo1940MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Sailors Three1940Ealing studiosRoy Kellino
Douglas Woolsey
AllThroughTheNight1941Warner BrosEdwin DuPar
This Woman is Mine1941UniversalJohn P FultonX
The Sea Wolf1941Warner Bros
That Hamilton Woman1941United Artists
Ships With Wings1941Ealing StudiosRoy Kellino
Norman Ough
Cliff Richardson
Douglas Woolsey
The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya aka Hawai Mare Okikaisen1942TohoEiji Tsubaraya
AcrossThePacific1942Warner BrosByron Haskin, Willard Van Enger
The Navy Comes Through1942RKOX
Mrs Minniver1942MGMA Arnold Gillespie
In Which We Serve1942United Artists
Reap the Wild Wind1942ParamountGordon Jennings
The Black Swan194220th Century FoxFred Sersen
San Demetrio London1943Syd Howell, Roy Kellino
Northern Pursuit1943Warner BrosRoy Davidson
So Proudly We Hail1943ParamountGordon Jennings
Corvette K-2251943Universal
Crash Dive194320th Century FoxFred Sersen
Action in the North Atlantic1943Warner BrosJack Cosgrove
Stand by for Action1943MGMA. Arnold Gillespie
We Dive At Dawn1943Gainsborough
Destination Tokyo1943Warner Bros
Dangerous Passage1944
The Princess and the Pirate1944Samuel Goldwyn CompanyR.O.Binger
Clarence Slifer
Passage To Marseille1944Warner BrosJack Cosgrove
Lifeboat194420th Century FoxFred Sersen
They Were Expendable1945MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Captain Kidd1945United Artists
The Spanish Main1945RKOVernon L. Walker
Two Years Before the Mast1946ParamountGordon Jennings
Anna and the King of Siam194620th Century FoxFred Serson
Green Dolphin Street1947MGMA. Arnold Gillespie
Sinbad the Sailor1947RKO
Unconquered1947ParamountGordon Jennings
Deep waters194820th Century FoxFred Sersen
Luxury Liner1948MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Wake of the red Witch1948Republic PicturesHoward Lydcker, Theodore lydecker
Malaya1949MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Kind Hearts and Coronets1949Ealing StudiosSyd Pearson
Down to the Sea in Ships194920th Century Fox
Whiskey galore1949Ealing StudiosSyd Pearson
Tripoli1950ParamountAlex Weldon
Darrell A. Anderson
Buccaneers Girl1950UniversalDavid S Horsley
Captain China1950Paramount
Last of the Buccaneers1950ColumbiaX
Fortunes of Captain Blood1950Columbia
Morning Departure1950
Adventures of Captain Fabian1951Republic Pictures
Anne of the Indies195120th Century FoxFred Sersen
Captain Horatio Hornblower1951Warner BrosGeorge Blackwell
Double Crossbones1951Universal
Sealed Cargo1951RKO
Operation Pacific1951warner BrosH.F. Koenekamp
Royal Wedding see Luxury Liner 19481951MGM
The African Queen1951United Artists
Against All Flags1952UniversalDavid S Horsley
Blackbeard the Pirate1952RKOX
Captain Pirate1952Columbia
The Crimson Pirate1952Warner Bros
Glory at Sea AKA Gift Horse1952Wally Veevers
George Samuels
Plymouth Adventure1952MGMA Arnold Gillespie
Les Miserables195220th Century Fox
Yankee Buccaneer1952UniversalDavid S Horsley
All the Brothers were Valiant1953MGMA. Arnold Gillespie
Fair Wind to Java1953Republic Pictures
City Beneath the Sea1953Universal
The Cruel Sea1953Universal
Sea of Lost Ships1953Republic Pictures
Sailor of the King195320th Century Fox
Botany Bay1953ParamountGordon Jennings
Titanic (1953)195320th Century FoxRay Kellogg
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes see Titanic (1953)195320th Century FoxRay Kellogg
Dangerous Crossing see Titanic (1953)195320th Century FoxRay Kellogg
A Blueprint For Murder see Titanic (1953)195320th Century FoxRay Kellogg
Hell and High Water195420th Century Fox
Crest of a Wave AKA Seagulls over Sorrento1954Tom Howard
Ulysses1954Eugen Shuftan
Hell Below Zero1954ColumbiaBill Warrington
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea1954Beuna Vista
The Caine Mutiny1954ColumbiaLawrence W Butler
The Maggie AKA High and Dry1954Ealing StudiosSyd Pearson
BloodAlley1955Warner Bros
Cockleshell Heroes1955Columbia
Around the World in 80 Days1956Michael Todd CompanyFred Sersen
Away All Boats1956UniversalClifford Stine
Battle of the River Plate1956Rank OrganizationBill Warrington
James Snow
Moby Dick1956Warner Bros
The King and I195620th Century FoxRay Kellog
The Enemy Below195720th Century FoxL B Abbott
The Buccaneer1958ParamountJohn P Fulton
The Key1958ColumbiaWillis Cook
Run Silent Run Deep1958United ArtistsA Arnold Gillespie
Torpedo Run1958MGMA Arnold Gillespie
A Night to Remember1958Rank Organization
Up the Creek1958
Submarine Seahawk1958AIP
Battle of the Coral sea1959Columbia
Ben Hur1959MGM
Ferry to Hong Kong1959
The Wreck of the Mary Deare1959MGMA Arnold Gillespie

22 thoughts on “Model Ship Movies up to 1959

  1. Great site. One that appears to be missing from your list is ‘Sink The Bismark’ starring Kenneth More and many other stalwarts of the British cinema of the time. There was an article in Model Boats magazine about the models used in the film, though the editors did label a picture of Hood and Prince of Wales as Bismark and Prinz Eugen

    • It is on my movie list from 1960 onwards and in fact I am planning for an entry about it next. I am just waiting for a still to arrive. I would love to know what issue the Model Boats magazine article appeared in as there is very little information about what to me and many others represents the pinnacle of model ship action in the cinema.

  2. Me again! Just remembered I’ve got a couple of pre-1960 movies, both Pearl Harbour related. The Japanese 1942 epic The War At Sea From Hawaii To Malaya, which features a spectacular Eiji Tsuburaya-helmed miniature re-creation of the Pearl Harbour attack and later the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse. Plus scans of a booklet that came with the DVD which shows behind-the-scenes stills. I also have a John Ford film about Pearl Harbour called December 7th.

  3. The movie Wake Island had some pretty good model work. Especially the part when the Marines open fire with their 5 inch guns on the approaching Japanese fleet. The movie was filmed and released in 1942 or 43 I believe.

    • Looks like a tricky title to get hold of a copy. I will see if I can dig one up. Thanks for the heads up. There is a “Sea Devils” made in 1953 with Rock Hudson and Yvonne de Carlo which does not have any models in it.

  4. A copy of the Chinese movie, “The Sino Japanese War at Sea”, just arrived. I mentioned seeing clips of it on Youtube. Extensive use of model ships used. The bad thing is that it offers no English subtitles.

    • I second this reccomendation of “The Sino-Japanese War at Sea.” The minature work is quite good as the miniatures 1, look like the principals involved, and 2.) The miniatures are really large, apparently.

  5. I’d like to suggest “The Enemy Below” 1957
    Robert Mitchum, Curd Jürgensn, Theodore Bikel, and David Hedison
    Director: Dick Powell

    Love your site

    • If you have a look in the model ship movies up to 1959 table/index you will see it is listed, which means it will be covered…eventually. The timing of entries is usually determined by the quality and quantity of photographs and information I can source for a particular title not forgetting a copy of the movie. Sometimes photos can accumulate over years and while I have found a copy of most of the movies listed there are still a few elusive titles that I have not managed to locate as yet, the search continues.

  6. I don’t know much about cinema, but I would like to mention a film: In Nacht und Eis (In Night and Ice). Its only 30 minutes long but its from 1913.

  7. I am looking for the maker of the models used in the movies… I have no name but mother always said her cousin made them… do you have any names I could research!? Thanks

    • I think the 1924 version did use full size ships but the 1940 version uses miniatures for the ships at sea sequences. I plan to do a post on this version soon.

  8. Hello

    Paramount produced film set in 1840 off the Florida Keys: “Reap the Wild Wind” (1941)

    This film has a couple of eerie underwater shots – in fact one gets a better view of the underwater portion of the ship than the ‘dry’ part.

    The are several ship modeled but the main one is the steam side paddle wheeler ‘Southern Cross’.

    The following time codes are from the video found at:

    00:02:18 start scenes with sailing ship models

    00:32:45 scene with lots of model ships on display and where the captain who lost a ship has to move the model of his lost command to ‘rotten row’.

    00:34:02 first good sighting of a small model of the ‘Southern Cross’.

    01:24:53 beginning of several glimpses of the steamship passing in the fog.

    01:25:30 underwater reef view of the steamship passing by

    01:28:09 same

    01:28:29 underwater view steamship side being ripped open

    01:28:54 same

    01:50:00 great underwater shot; dive boat (with a strange thin deep keel) and hardhat divers descending toward the wreck of the ‘Southern Cross’ wreck precariously perched on the edge of the abyss.

    01:58:28 steamship wreck falling into the abyss

    • Hello Henry, thanks for all the links and suggestions. I have a post on Reap the Wild Wind. It is listed in the table for 1942 and the link will take you to the page.

  9. By the way the web page linked to by the latter url above states:

    “An article from a contemporary issue of Popular Mechanics Monthly”

    It is actually the January 1936 issue of the “Popular Science Monthly” magazine which yet again Google Books has:

    It includes a better quality image of the men swarming over the 27 foot model.

  10. Hello

    What about the film “Jack Ahoy” (1934):

    When reading the following article ( the second photo down caught my eye.

    It was a photo of a bunch of miniature wooden sailing warships in a film studio tank tank with the caption “Technicians stage an indoor sea battle for Jack Ahoy (1934).” (

    Fortunately I found the film on YouTube:

    A quick skim through to see where the above miniatures were used failed. More confusion occurred because the film was set in the much more technologically advanced 1930s – even including a submarine! However the second time I did not skip over the beginning and there it was – a good old “wooden wall” sea battle in the background of the opening credits.

    So that’s the bad news – one general model shot rather than a particular ship highlighted with it’s own model(s)- but at least there were some.

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