Donate now

A Watery Watch: 15 film and TV recommendations

Here at the RNLI, we love a maritime movie, documentary or boxset. Grab the popcorn, anchor yourself to the sofa and dive into our nautical recommendations.

All is Lost film poster

Photo: Before the Door Pictres/Kobal

'Robert Redford is great in this.’  

Jeffrey Tuckerman, Crew at Buckie, votes for All Is Lost (12), a tense 2013 adventure drama starring Robert Redford. The sole actor, Redford plays a solitary sailor who, after a collision far out at sea, fights for survival on his broken boat.

Available on Google Play, Sky Store, Apple iTunes, YouTube
Adrift film poster

Photo: Stx Entertainment/Moviestore

‘If you haven’t seen Adrift yet, do so. The twist in the film really caught me.'

Steve Box, Crew at Hastings, recommends Adrift (12A), a 2018 movie based on Tami Oldham Ashcroft’s inspirational true story. A young couple sailing on the Pacific Ocean, battle to survive onboard a yacht when they face a devastating category 4 hurricane. 

Find on Netflix, Google Play, Sky Store, YouTube

‘Absolutely captivating and edge of your seat.’ 

Last Breath (12A) gets Gravesend Crew Member Tina Smith’s vote. Including footage from a real North Sea drama, this 2019 documentary film tells the dramatic true story of a deep-sea driver trapped on the seabed with just a few minutes of oxygen left. Is there any chance of escape?

Available on Netflix, Chili, Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store

Perfect Storm movie poster

Photo: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros/Kobal

‘Shows the sea at its fiercest.’ 

The Perfect Storm (12), recommended by Penny Burl, Croydon Branch, stars George Clooney in a movie based on a best-selling non-fiction book. A nail-biting disaster drama, it focuses on a group of commercial fishermen caught out at sea by powerful storms. 

Find on Netflix, Amazon, Apple iTunes, Chili 

‘Awesome. Original and perfectly captures the sometimes uneasy relationship between rural fishing communities and tourism.’

Rich Castle, Crew at Sennen Cove votes for Bait (15), a 2019 feature film about a proud Cornish fisherman struggling with tourism and changes in his village. 

Available on Amazon, Curzon, Apple iTunes

Jaws movie poster

Photo: Universal/Kobal

‘Iconic in the real sense of the word – and never mind the rubber shark!’ 

Julie Rainey, South East Regional Media Manager is a fan of the classic movie, Jaws (12A). The 1975 blockbuster directed by Steven Speilberg tells of a beach terrorised by a man-eating shark – and the local sheriff’s vow to hunt it down. 

Available on Now TV, Amazon, Sky, Google Play 

The Finest Hours film poster

Photo: Walt Disney/Whittaker/Kobal

‘The grit, determination and selflessness portrayed in the film is visible in all our crew members today.’ 

The Finest Hours (12A) is recommended by Anna Hind, Shore Crew at Aldeburgh. Based on a true story from 1952, it follows an incredible rescue attempt by US Coastguard to save the lives of a group of sailors during a massive storm. 

Available on Now TV, Amazon, YouTube, Sky Store 

Lifeboat film poster

Photo: Moviestore

‘A proper classic and still quite fresh today.’ 

Mick Wickwar, Crew at Hastings, suggests watching the 1944 Hitchcock classic Lifeboat (PG). In one small lifeboat, survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship in WW2 struggle to cope with being stranded at sea – and with who’s on board. 

Available on BFiPlayer, Apple iPlay, Google Play, YouTube

Fisherman's Friends film poster

Photo: Fisherman's Friends

‘A great film but we are biased as this film features footage from a rescue carried out by Anstruther RNLI!’

Becci Jewell, Crew at Anstruther recommends Fisherman's Friends (12A), a family feel-good movie following a group of singing Cornish fishermen who get lucky when they get a record deal. 

Find on Prime Video, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube

Finding Nemo film poster

Photo: Walt Disney/Moviestore

‘As a father of a three-year-old son, Finding Nemo is a favourite in our house!’ 

Anstruther’s Head Launcher Tony Marr, vouches for Finding Nemo (U) if you have little ones to entertain. The animated comedy drama follows the trials and tribulations of Nemo, a clownfish living on the Great Barrier Reef.  

Available at Now TV, Disney +, Amazon, YouTube 

‘It’s amazing!’ 

Bondi Rescue gets the thumbs up from Maria McLeod, Crew at Ballycotton. The 2006 factual TV series gives behind-the-scenes access into the daily lives of the lifeguards on Australia’s Bondi Beach.  

Episodes are available on YouTube 

‘It’s so good. We’ve watched it a million times.’

Happy People - A Year In The Taiga (PG) is recommended by Fin Goggin, Crew at Howth. This Werner Herzog documentary gives a fascinating insight into the survival of a community of trappers living in a village in Siberia – and their connection and dependence on nature. 

Available to buy as a DVD from Amazon 

Hornblower poster

Photo: ITV

‘It’s a must see for anyone interested (or not!) in a nautical theme.’ 

Hornblower - the boxset - gets a shout out from Cai Budd, Crew at Weston-super-Mare. Starring Ioan Gruffudd, the 1998 TV drama is based on C. S. Forester’s historical novels about the naval adventures of Horatio Hornblower during the Napoleonic wars. 

Available at Amazon, Apple iTunes 

The Hunt For Red October film poster

Photo: Paramount/Kobal

‘Escapist action movie, ideal for losing some time at this time.’ 

Lifeboat Press Officer and retired Deputy Launching Authority at Weston-super-Mare, Glyn Hayes votes for The Hunt For Red October (PG). An adaptation of the spy-thriller by Tom Clancy, the 1990 film stars Sean Connery as a Soviet submarine captain.  

Available on Now TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube 

‘Horror, sharks and the sea - what’s not to love?’ 

Scott Brown, Trainee Crew Member at Anstruther, suggests watching Sharknado 4 (15). A 2016 American sci-fi disaster movie, where sharks wreak havoc after a tornado in Los Angeles. 

Available at YouTube, Google Play and Prime Video

You can help save lives at sea with a donation today. From kit to crew training to kids’ education, you’ll be making a real difference to our volunteers – and the people they save.

Donate today