The Cruel Sea

The Cruel Sea

Charles Frend (1952)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Charles Frend's San Demetrio London was one of the finest naval combat films made anywhere during the Second World War. Here, the director's insight into the conditions endured and the emotions experienced by embattled sailors of all ranks is very much to the fore in this stirring adaptation (by Oscar-nominated Eric Ambler) of Nicholas Monsarrat's bestselling novel. Produced by Leslie Norman (father of Barry), this is a prime example of the docudramatic style that, spurning the gung-ho heroics of Hollywood, characterised the best British war films. The performances of Jack Hawkins and his all-star crew (Donald Sinden, Stanley Baker and Denholm Elliott among them) reinforce the sense of realism.


The veteran commander of a British escort vessel guides his inexperienced crew through the dangers of combat at sea during the Second World War Atlantic campaigns. Demoralised by the failure of his last command, the captain faces a life-or-death decision in his duty to sink an enemy vessel. Nautical action adventure, starring Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, Stanley Baker and Denholm Elliott.

Cast & Crew

Ericson Jack Hawkins
Lockhart Donald Sinden
Ferraby John Stratton
Morrell Denholm Elliott
Bennett Stanley Baker
Baker John Warner
Tallow Bruce Seton
Watts Liam Redmond
Julie Hallam Virginia McKenna
Phillips Glyn Houston
Tonbridge Alec McCowen
Elaine Morrell Moira Lister
Doris Ferraby June Thorburn
Tallow's sister Megs Jenkins
Carslake Sam Kydd
Director Charles Frend
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Independent Cinema OfficeAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray