Cookies notification

This website uses cookies to provide you with a better experience

You can adjust your cookie settings at any time at the bottom of each page. If you do not adjust your settings, you are consenting to us issuing all cookies to you

The Sea Word! With Finding Dory out soon, we look at the most magical underwater movies


Prepare to get swept up in an emotional current of tears and laughter as Pixar sequel Finding Dory finally, finally swims onto our screens on 22nd July. In anticipation of adorable Dory's oceangoing return, we thought we'd take you beneath the waves and look at those underwater adventures that left us awestruck.


Released: 1965

The lowdown: Sean Connery makes a splash (or, should we say, shhhplashh) as 007 in this fourth James Bond adventure that relocates to the impossibly sunny climes of the Bahamas. The plot involves SPECTRE's stealing of a nuclear bomb but in all honesty, we're more distracted by the staggering sea-bound vistas that also encompasses some pretty extraordinary underwater stuntwork.

The Deep

Released: 1977

The lowdown: Nick Nolte, Robert Shaw and Jacqueline Bisset are the implausibly charismatic and good-looking treasure hunters in this damp squib of an adventure from Bullitt director Peter Yates. But forget the plot: the immersively gorgeous cinematography, in conjunction with Bond composer John Barry's dreamy (and sometimes disco-infused) score, makes it a feast for the senses. Don't blame us if you want to book a holiday after viewing.

The Abyss

The year: 1989

The lowdown: By all accounts one of the most hellish and dangerous film shoots of all time, complete with multitudes of accidents and near-drownings, James Cameron's epic aquatic odyssey is nevertheless a treat for the eyes. The story of a drilling rig's encounter with underwater aliens, the movie was shot in an abandoned nuclear reactor and, as you'd expect from the visionary director of Titanic, Terminator and Aliens, there are sights that really do take the breath away. Also watch out for a pioneering piece of CGI in the following clip.

The Little Mermaid

Released: 1989

The lowdown: The animated masterpiece that rescued Disney from the doldrums, this instant-classic introduced audiences to heroine Ariel and single-handedly paved the way for the Mouse House's staggering 90s output like The Lion King. There are far too many unforgettably ear-worming songs to list, composer Alan Menken working overtime with lyricist Howard Ashman to craft some of Disney's biggest showstoppers – but in the spirit of things, we'll bring you the iconic 'Under the Sea' courtesy of crab Sebastian.

Finding Nemo

Released: 2003

The lowdown: Well, we couldn't leave this one out, could we? Pixar's stunningly creative, hilariously funny and very moving Oscar winner is the tale of clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his attempts to traverse the ocean to find his lost son. And of course, we know who he meets along the way... Combining any number of unforgettable Pixar characters with a gentle yet profound family message, the eye-popping animation is the cherry on the cake  – or the coral on the reef, if you will.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Released: 2004

The lowdown: You can trust quirky director Wes Anderson to bring you an underwater odyssey unlike any other. The director of The Grand Budapest Hotel assembles his usual motley crew of misfits, including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Jeff Goldblum, for an ever-so-slightly surreal take on the life of famed French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The use of stop-motion animation (deployed in the likes of The Nightmare Before Christmas) to depict the movie's underwater environment makes the movie all-the-more distinctive.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Released: 2015

The lowdown: The world-dominating Nickelodeon franchise made a box office splash last year with this utterly crazy yet oddly endearing big screen adventure, one mixing up the traditional animation of the series with live-action antics. For hilarious weirdness, you can't beat this moment in which Mr Krabs utilises a certain method to get information out of Plankton.

Will Finding Dory be swimming its way onto our list of all-time-great underwater films? We'll find out soon enough when it hits Cineworld screens on 29th July – click here to book your tickets.