On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress established a naval force, hoping that a small fleet of privateers could attack British commerce and offset British sea power. What started as just two ships and a crew of eighty men has since grown to become a naval force including 347,044 active duty personnel (as of November 2020), 279,471 civilian employees, 101,583 ready reserve personnel, 480 total ships, and 2,623 aircraft spread out over 40 naval bases across the country, including the world’s largest Naval Station Norfolk, in Norfolk, Virginia.

In a celebration of its 246 years, we’ve pulled together the top 7 U.S Navy films out there. So grab some popcorn, get comfy, and celebrate this birthday with a good movie.

1. Annapolis

Toeing the line between being a Marine film and a Navy film, Annapolis stars James Franco and Tyrese Gibson in the story of Jake Huard, a young man who dreams of one day attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

2. In Harm’s Way

If you’re a John Wayne fan, this one’s for you. In Harm’s Way tells the story of U.S. Naval officer “Rock” Torrey who was reprimanded after Pearl Harbor and later promoted to Rear Admiral where he gets a second chance to prove himself against the Japanese.

3. The Caine Mutiny

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny is about the unstable Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) and his tumultuous command of an old minesweeper and her weary crew.

The Caine Mutiny was nominated for seven Academy Awards® in 1954, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

4. Crimson Tide

Starring Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, and Matt Craven, Crimson Tide parallels a real incident during the Cuban Missile Crisis, aboard a Soviet submarine, where a clash of wills occurs between the new executive officer and its seasoned commanding officer arising from conflicting interpretations of an order to launch their missiles.

5. Down Periscope

Considered one of the greatest military comedies, Down Periscope tells the story of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Dodge as he fights to save his naval career while commanding a group of misfit seamen on board the USS Stingray, a rusty, obsolete World War II-era diesel submarine.

6. The Hunt for Red October

Based on Tom Clancy’s bestseller, The Hunt for Red October is set during the conclusion of the Cold War, when a CIA Analyst (Alec Baldwin) believes he knows the real reason why a renegade Soviet submarine captain (Sean Connery) is trying to run away with a submarine.

7. Greyhound

Tom Hanks’ latest film, Greyhound, spotlights the longest military campaign of World War II, the Battle of the Atlantic — a six-year fight between Allied ships and German submarines, or U-boats, for control of the Atlantic Ocean.

Have you watched these seven films? Let us know which one’s your favorite in the comments below! 

Other Military Films to Add to Your Watchlist:

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