Best Sailing Movies: Top Picks for Nautical Film Fans



Sailing movies have always been popular among movie-goers with their captivating stories of adventure and survival on the high seas.

From documentaries to feature films, the genre has produced some of the most thrilling and visually stunning movies ever made. Best sailing movies for sailing enthusiasts or anyone who loves a good film, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

Whether you are looking for dramatic stories of survival against all odds, action-packed thrillers, or inspiring documentaries, the world of sailing movies has something for everyone.

From the classic Kon-Tiki to the more recent White Squall, there are plenty of movies to choose from that showcase the beauty and danger of life at sea. Many of these films feature breathtaking nautical scenes that transport viewers to a world of adventure and excitement.

Best Sailing Movies: Top Picks for Nautical Film Fans

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best sailing movies and sailing documentaries that have ever been made. We will examine what makes these films so special and why they have captured the hearts of audiences around the world. Whether you are a seasoned sailor or simply someone who loves a good story, these movies are sure to inspire and entertain.


For those looking for a more realistic portrayal of sailing, documentaries are a great option. Here are a few noteworthy documentaries:

Maidentrip (2013)

Maidentrip follows the journey of 14-year-old Laura Dekker as she becomes the youngest person to sail solo around the world. The documentary captures the challenges and triumphs of her journey, including her time spent in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

Morning Light (2008)

Produced by Disney, Morning Light documents the journey of 15 young sailors as they compete to join the crew of the Morning Light, a sleek racing boat bound for the Transpac LA to Hawaii open ocean race. The documentary showcases the intense training and preparation required for such a high-stakes race.

Red Dot on the Ocean (2014)

Red Dot on the Ocean tells the story of Matt Rutherford, a severely troubled youth who became a sailing legend. The documentary follows Rutherford as he sails solo around the Americas, including his time spent in Patagonia and the Caribbean.

Styx (2019)

Styx is a German documentary that follows a woman’s solo sailing journey across the Atlantic to deliver supplies to refugees. The film captures the isolation and danger of sailing alone, as well as the humanitarian mission at the heart of the journey.

Abandoned (2015)

Abandoned is a documentary series that follows the journey of Jay and Natasha, a couple who set out to sail around the world but are forced to abandon their boat mid-journey. The series captures their struggles to survive and make it back to civilization.

These documentaries offer a glimpse into the realities of sailing, showcasing the challenges and rewards of life at sea.


Sailing movies can be a great source of adventure, drama, and excitement. This section will cover some of the best sailing dramas that are worth watching.

All is Lost

“All is Lost” is a 2013 movie starring Robert Redford as a sailor who is stranded at sea after his boat is damaged by a collision with a shipping container. The film is a gripping tale of survival as the sailor battles the elements and tries to stay alive. The movie is a must-watch for anyone who loves sailing and adventure.

White Squall

“White Squall” is a 1996 movie about a group of teenagers who embark on a sailing trip on a tall ship. The movie is based on a true story and is a classic coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of a sailing adventure. The movie features an impressive cast, including Jeff Bridges, Caroline Goodall, and John Savage.


“Adrift” is a 2018 movie that tells the story of a couple who set sail on a journey across the Pacific Ocean. The movie is based on a true story and is a gripping tale of survival as the couple faces a hurricane and the aftermath of the storm. The movie stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin.

The Mercy

“The Mercy” is a 2018 movie based on the true story of Donald Crowhurst, a sailor who attempted to sail solo around the world in 1968. The movie is a gripping drama that explores the psychological toll of the journey and the pressures of competition. The movie stars Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.

The Old Man and the Sea

“The Old Man and the Sea” is a classic novel by Ernest Hemingway that was adapted into a movie in 1958. The movie tells the story of an old fisherman who sets out to catch a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream. The movie is a timeless tale of perseverance and determination and is a must-watch for anyone who loves nautical movies.

In conclusion, these sailing dramas offer a thrilling and emotional experience for viewers. From the classic tale of “The Old Man and the Sea” to the modern-day survival story of “Adrift,” these movies are sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who loves adventure and the open sea.


When it comes to sailing movies, not all of them have to be serious and dramatic. There are some great comedies out there that can make you laugh and still give you a taste of life on the water. Here are a few of the best:

Captain Ron

“Captain Ron” is a 1992 comedy film starring Kurt Russell and Martin Short. The movie follows a family who inherits a yacht and hires a laid-back, eccentric captain named Ron to help them sail it from the Caribbean to Miami. Along the way, they encounter a series of mishaps and adventures, including a run-in with pirates.

The movie is a classic example of a fish-out-of-water story, with the uptight family trying to adjust to the free-spirited Captain Ron’s unorthodox ways. It’s a fun, lighthearted movie that’s perfect for a lazy afternoon.

Wind (1992)

“Wind” is another 1992 sailing movie, this time starring Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey. The film follows a team of sailors as they prepare for and compete in the America’s Cup yacht race. Along the way, they face personal and professional challenges, including a rivalry with a wealthy Australian team.

While “Wind” has its share of drama, it’s also a comedic movie at heart. The characters are quirky and likable, and there are plenty of humorous moments throughout the film. The sailing scenes are also beautifully shot, making this a great movie for anyone who loves the sport.

The Weekend Sailor

“The Weekend Sailor” is a 2016 documentary film about a Mexican sailor named Ramon Carlín who entered the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973. Despite having no professional sailing experience, Carlín and his crew managed to finish the race in third place, beating out many more experienced teams.

While “The Weekend Sailor” is a documentary, it’s also a lighthearted and inspiring film. Carlín is an engaging and charismatic figure, and his story is a testament to the power of determination and perseverance. The movie also features plenty of stunning footage of the race and the sea, making it a great choice for anyone who loves sailing or adventure.

Overall, these comedies offer a fun and entertaining look at life on the water. Whether you’re a die-hard sailor or just looking for a good laugh, these movies are sure to deliver.


When it comes to sailing movies, there are plenty of action-packed thrillers that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Here are a few of the best:

Master and Commander

Based on the novel series by Patrick O’Brian, Master and Commander is a Hollywood blockbuster that follows the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his crew aboard the HMS Surprise during the Napoleonic Wars. This epic film features stunning cinematography, intense battle scenes, and a gripping storyline that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a classic Hollywood blockbuster that has captured the hearts of audiences around the world. This swashbuckling adventure follows Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew as they search for treasure, battle rival pirates, and outwit the British Navy. With thrilling action sequences, memorable characters, and a healthy dose of humor, this franchise is a must-see for any sailing movie fan.

Sea Gypsies: Far Side of the World

For those looking for something a little more real, Sea Gypsies: Far Side of the World is a sailing documentary that follows a group of sailors as they embark on an epic sailing trip from New Zealand to Patagonia. This stunning film captures the beauty and danger of life at sea, as well as the camaraderie and spirit of adventure that drives these sailors to explore the world’s oceans.

Other notable sailing movies include Waterworld, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Old Man and the Sea Return to Cuba, Between Home – Odyssey of an Unusual Sea Bandit, and The Riddle of the Sands. Whether you’re a fan of Hollywood blockbusters or sailing documentaries, there’s a sailing movie out there for everyone.


In conclusion, there are many great sailing movies out there that can appeal to both sailors and non-sailors alike. From classic documentaries like Kon-Tiki and The Bounty to more recent films like All Is Lost and Adrift, there is something for everyone.

One thing that all of these movies have in common is their ability to capture the beauty and power of the ocean, as well as the challenges and triumphs of sailing. Whether you are a seasoned sailor or just someone who loves a good adventure story, these films are sure to entertain and inspire.

It is worth noting that while some of these movies may take creative liberties with the facts or exaggerate certain aspects of sailing, they still provide a valuable window into the world of sailing and the experiences of those who undertake it. As with any movie, it is important to approach them with a critical eye and an open mind.

Overall, the best sailing movies are those that combine compelling storytelling with stunning visuals and an authentic portrayal of the sailing experience. Whether you are looking for drama, action, romance, or just a good old-fashioned adventure, there is sure to be a sailing movie out there that will satisfy your craving.

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