The Best Scuba Diving Movies

For when the water’s too cold, and you’ve finished all of those thrilling scuba diving books, what better way to relax than getting into a great movie!? And when we say movie, what we really mean is a movie about scuba diving or one ocean-related of course!

We have been thrilled, chilled and inspired by the movies on this list and we couldn’t wait to share them with you. From golden oldies, documentaries, to the latest blockbusters, here is a list of the best scuba diving movies about scuba diving, marine life, and the ocean! For your reference, we have also added in the ratings given by IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes!

30 Best Scuba Diving Movies

1. The Cove (2009)

8.5 IMDB / 94% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan. Their aim is to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health. Although this is a winner of the 2009 Oscar for best documentary, The Cove is known to possibly turn viewers away due to some gruesome footage of slaughtered dolphins. It’s a hard watch which will shock viewers, but also necessary to see.

The Cove Movie

2. Finding Nemo (2003)

8.1 IMDB / 99% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

If you don’t like Finding Nemo… Who am I kidding?! Everyone loves Finding Nemo! And if you haven’t seen it then you should buy it now! This Pixar animation is responsible for Clownfish becoming the most recognized sea creature on the planet! Watch a father’s quest to rescue his son from a dentists aquarium miles away from home. Starring some underwater favorites, jellyfish, sea turtles, a great white and anglerfish! It’s all-around perfect entertainment for the whole family, and great for improving your fish ID skills!

Finding Nemo

3. Blackfish (2013)

8.1 IMDB / 98% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Another documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales. This film also highlights the dangers for both humans and whales. Based on the notorious killer whale, Tilikum, who was responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top professional killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the consequences that can and have happened of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.


4. Jaws (1975)

8 IMDB / 97% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

And here we are. You can’t talk about ocean-related movies and not mention Jaws. Although known to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time, this movie changed the perception of sharks for people all over the world. This film is the reason why sharks have a bad reputation as a vicious man-killers. If you haven’t seen it, Jaws is based on a local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer who team up to hunt down a great white shark which is wreaking havoc in a beach resort. Not only was the original one of the best ocean movies ever made, it is arguably one of the best motion pictures of all time.

5. The Abyss (1989)

7.6 IMDB / 89% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Before his fortune made with Titanic, James Cameron gave us all a vision of deep sea diving and aliens! Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio star in this film about a civilian diving team that is recruited by the military to find a lost nuclear submarine. If the old special effects don’t get you jumping off your seat, the scuba diving might! This film will leave you gasping for air, especially during the scene where Harris is forced to inhale an oxygenated fluid in order to dive at extreme depths. During the frequent underwater filming, Harris reportedly had a few close calls when he ran out of air. He has actually frequently quoted with this final thought on the film: “I’m not talking about The Abyss and I never will.”

6. The Big Blue (1988)

7.6 IMDB / 62% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

“Le Grand Blue” as it was released in Europe, stars Jean Reno and Jean-Marc Barr, who play lifelong friends who grew up to be free-diving rivals in the Mediterranean Sea. This scuba diving movie was a big hit overseas and still maintains a cult status amongst the diving community. Some sharp-eyed diving fans may notice that the underwater shots with the dolphins were actually filmed in the Virgin Islands.

7. Finding Dory

7.3 IMDB / 94% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

The sequel to the world loved Finding Nemo, mentioned earlier in this post, comes Finding Dory. This is a great family movie based around the friendly but forgetful blue tang fish, Dory. Dory decides to begin a search for her long-lost parents, which can prove to be difficult when you forget everything every five minutes! This film helps everyone learn a few things about the real meaning of family, and we love it!

8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

7.3 IMDB / 56% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

It might not be everyone’s favorite Bill Murray film but people will still love this dark tale based on the fictional oceanographer, Steve Zissou. The film itself was dedicated to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. We love the fact that Bill Murray was so dedicated to his role that he became a certified diver, logging over 40 hours before the production even began! Go Bill!

9. Men of Honor (2000)

7.2 IMDB / 42% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

This scuba diving movie tells us the story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American U.S. Navy Diver, and the man who trained him. Starring Oscar-winning Cuba Gooding Jr as Carl and Robert De Niro as his instructor. Brashear overcomes the racism of the 1940s and his incomplete education to achieve his goal of becoming an operational diver in the Navy – an awesome movie about scuba diving.

10. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

7.2 IMDB / 89% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

A golden oldie, this film has actually been remade a few times over the years, but the original film by Walt Disney is still awe-inspiring decades later, with good reviews on both IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. It’s all about a ship sent to investigate a wave of mysterious sinking encounters by the advanced submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo.

11. Thunderball (1965)

7 IMDB / 86% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Most Bond, James Bond films have an awesome diving scene in it, but Thunderball has to be at the top of the list out of them all for the best scuba diving movies! The legendary Sean Connery goes shark diving in the Bahamas, where tough clear plastic panels were put in place to separate the actor from the sharks. According to IMDB, Connery got much closer to the real sharks than he wanted, when they found their way around and over the panels to say hello to him!

12. Road to Bali (1953)

6.8 IMDB / 60% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

As we promised – a golden oldie! This scuba diving movie brings Bing Crosby and Bob Hope together in an all dancing, all singing performance. The two men escape marriage by moving to an island where they happen to fall in love with a beautiful princess, as you do… The one-liners and song and dance numbers will have you wiggling in your seat and will take you back to this golden era!

13. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

6.8 IMDB / 72% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

I have heard more than a few times that “For your Eyes Only, is the reason I got into scuba diving” and it seems to be that way for a lot of people! Roger Moore stars in another James Bond movie with some epic diving scenes. Most of the close-up scenes between Moore and his co-stars were actually filmed on a soundstage where special effects were added later to give the impression that water was moving around them! But don’t worry, there are plenty of scenes filmed underwater in Greece and the Bahamas for some great diving footage.

14. The Frogmen (1951)

6.6 IMDB / Unknown Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Frogmen aren’t some weird looking science-fiction monsters, but a nickname which was given to US Navy underwater demolition teams during World War II. So if you’re into old war movies and diving this is perfect for you! It’s all about a new commander of the Frogmen who must earn the respect of the men in his unit, although they don’t seem too keen on him!

15. The Meg (2018)

6.5 IMDB / 50% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible. Could the Carcharodon Megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive … and on the hunt… You’ll have to watch it to find out!! In Cinemas from 10th August!

16. Amsterdamned (1988)

6.5 IMDB / Unknown Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

The name might just give it away, as this diving movie is based in Amsterdam! It’s all about a scuba diver who is hiding under the surface of Amsterdam’s canal system and comes across some gruesome murders. If you’re a fan of detective films and of course scuba diving, this would be a great pick for you! The city’s best detective only has a few clues to work with, but his wife and daughter may be closer to finding the mysterious underwater killer than he would like…

17. The Dive (Dykket) (2000)

6.5 IMDB / Unknown Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

This not so well known Norwegian thriller is a scuba movie gem! An action thriller with a twist of drama will have you at the edge of your seat and a nervous wreck when as deep divers on a dive gone wrong are trapped in a diving bell at the bottom of the sea. It’s a race against time to find a way to escape to the surface, alive…. Hold your breath!

18. The Shallows (2016)

6.3 IMDB / 12% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Just a mere 200 yards away from the shore and safety, surfer Nancy (Blake Lively), is attacked by a great white shark! We share her suspense as she starts to make her short journey to safety which becomes the ultimate contest of wills! Drama, horror, thriller, and sharks! What more could you ask for movie night?!

19. The Deep (1977)

6.2 IMDB / 33% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

This scuba diving movie masterpiece is based on a novel by Peter Benchley. This movie is about a couple who are on vacation in Bermuda, whilst enjoy a wreck dive they stumble across some rather mysterious artifacts. Sources from IMDB have said that the production shoot for this particular film required 8,895 dives, 10,870 hours underwater and 1 million cubic feet of compressed air!

20. Sphere (1998)

6.1 IMDB / 12% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

In this movie, a group of civilian experts are recruited to investigate an alleged alien ship found deep on the ocean floor. Having said that, it’s interesting to know that there wasn’t actually an ocean floor in this film as the water scenes were all filmed in water tanks due to keeping costs down! Although it has received a poor Rotten Tomatoes rating, we still can’t help giggle at the scene where Hoffman and his team breathe helium and talk in Wizard of Oz voices before their descent!

21. Lady in Cement (1968)

5.9 IMDB / 50% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Who doesn’t love a Frank Sinatra movie?! He is so cool, and so is this diving movie! During an ocean dive, Tony Rome finds a woman’s body with its feet encased in a concrete block and sets out to solve the murder case. Comedy, crime, drama and scuba diving! They just don’t make them like they used to…

22. Sanctum (2011)

5.9 IMDB / 30% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Loosely based on a real-life experience, Sanctum is a diving movie like no other. An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world. Although tense, unpleasant in instances and very claustrophobic, it’s a great diving thriller to watch!

23. Into the Blue (2005)

5.8 IMDB / 21% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Now, this movie isn’t just popular because it features the beautiful Jessica Alba in a bikini and gorgeous Paul Walker, oh no, into the blue is all about a group of divers who manage to get themselves into some deep trouble with a drug lord. Moral of this story, if you stumble across a wrecked plane full of cocaine, the best thing to do, is probably alert the authorities.

24. Deep Blue Sea (1999)

5.8 IMDB / 56% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Ahh… Another shark film. But these aren’t just ordinary sharks! This movie is all about Samuel L. Jackson vs genetically modified intelligent sharks. Set in an isolated research facility, this location soon becomes a hunting ground for these super sharks as they try to escape to the open ocean. This big budget movie contains a variety of unexpected deaths, some Jaws-style copy-cat shark explosions and randomly rapper turned actor LL Cool J! A great movie packed with awesomeness!

25. Beneath the 12 Mile Reef (1953)

Our Review Score

5.8 IMDB / Unknown Rotten Tomatoes

Another golden oldie, Robert Wagner and Terry Moore star in one of the first full color underwater motion pictures. This is where things started! The story is based on the fierce competition between sponge fishermen forces who fish in the dangerous 12-mile reef area off the western coast of Florida. There are severe clashes between the family businesses and things get heated when Tony Petrakis character falls in love with the rival family’s daughter!

26. The Reef (2010)

5.8 IMDB / 79% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

We love a film with great white sharks in it! But this scuba diving movie might make you think twice about taking that next diving tour trip! Based on a great white shark that hunts the crew of a capsized sailboat. This movie is based on the true story of two scuba divers who were accidentally stranded in shark infested waters after their tour boat left them there! Grab hold of your buddy with this one!

27. Leviathan (1989)

5.8 IMDB / 17% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

An epic eighties movie! This diving movie was made just a couple of years after The Abyss. Created by an accomplished crew, it’s kind of a bad yet funny movie! Peter Weller is in command of a group of undersea miners who come across a Russian shipwreck which is hiding a terrifying secret. And by terrifying we mean a ridiculous monster! This diving movie has every eighties cliché in abundance, a must see!

28. Open Water (2007)

5.7 IMDB / 72% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

This small independent movie came out of nowhere solely with the idea to scare any potential scuba diver! It’s based on a couple who are enjoying a holiday in the Caribbean and decide to go scuba diving, but get left behind after their tour boat accidentally leaves them! We maybe wouldn’t recommend this film for new divers but it’s worth checking out!

29. Fool’s Gold (2008)

5.7 IMDB / 11% Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

Gold and scuba diving, what makes a better combination than that for a scuba diving movie? Treasure hunter and deep-sea diver, Matthew McConaughey gets to rekindle his relationship with the beautiful Kate Hudson all whilst on a quest to find a Spanish trip full of treasure. We wouldn’t call this the best diving etiquette, but it does have some exciting scenes and is surprisingly charming and funny. A great movie for family entertainment.

30. Oceans of Fire (1986)

5.3 IMDB / Unknown Rotten Tomatoes

Our Review Score

A scuba diving moving starring David Carradine and Billy Dee Williams can only be a good thing! The film is about 6 men with nothing to lose, but their lives, are all taken from prison in order to become deep sea divers. Containing lots of 80s cheesiness along with some awesome scenes, this is a diving moving that will consume you for a whole 92 minutes!

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