21 Scuba Diving Movies and Documentaries: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

From romantic comedies to science-fiction thrillers to informational documentaries, here is a list of scuba diving movies and documentaries – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Sink or swim, here are some diving movies to entertain you. Or, grab some diving books to read on your next beach trip.

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scuba diving movies – social

Diving Movies

scuba diving movies – into the blue

Into the Blue

A group of divers find themselves in deep trouble with a drug lord after they come upon the illicit cargo of a sunken airplane.

Starring Paul Walker and Jessica Alba, this is definitely more about the eye candy, and it’s not the most creative or theatrical movie, but it’s entertaining. It’ll also make you want to jet down to the Caribbean in a second, so there’s that.

scuba diving movies – pressure


Four deep-sea divers become trapped in their saturation bell at the bottom of the ocean off the Kenyan coast. After their boat sinks during a storm, the survivors must figure out how to reach the surface before they run out of air.

This movie definitely made me realize I’d never want to be a saturation diver – like ever. But, I really enjoyed this movie despite it having some bad reviews. The reviews were either all praise or saying it’s horrible, so I guess it really just depends on the person.

scuba diving movies – 47 meters down

47 Meters Down

Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean, with little oxygen and great white sharks circling nearby.

Remember when I said there were scuba diving movies that people said were absolutely horrible? This is one of them. One of the biggest problems is just straight-up inaccuracies when it comes to diving, and the other main problem is the vilification of sharks (what’s new?). It was like a train wreck for me, though. I had to watch it to know how terrible it was. Sad thing? They made a second one, AND it went to theaters.

scuba diving movies – black sea

Black Sea

A rogue submarine captain (Jude Law) and a misfit crew go after a rumored sunken treasure, but greed soon turns the men on each other in this suspenseful adventure thriller.

scuba diving movies – sanctum


From executive producer James Cameron (Avatar) comes a thrilling underwater adventure based on true events. Master diver Frank McGuire leads a team-including his 17-year-old son, to explore the largest, most beautiful, and least accessible cave system on Earth. But when a tropical storm cuts off their only escape route, the team must work together to find their way through an uncharted and dangerous underwater labyrinth to make it out alive.

scuba diving movies – the abyss

The Abyss

Starring Ed Harris, this epic adventure film thrusts a team of civilian divers and Navy SEALs to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in a search-and-rescue mission for a sunken nuclear submarine.

This was a wild ride. It’s a mixture of a sci-fi and war movie. I don’t want to say much else because I don’t want to give it away, but I liked it!

scuba diving movies – fool's gold

Fool’s Gold

Starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, this movie focuses on a new clue to the whereabouts of a lost treasure that rekindles a married couple’s sense of adventure — and their estranged romance. It’s essentially just like Into the Blue – eye candy, entertaining, but not much creativity.

scuba diving movies – the deep

The Deep

Deep-sea divers vie with a Haitian drug dealer to recover a trunkload of sunken morphine. Based on Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel.

scuba diving movies – men of honor

Men of Honor

When the son of a Kentucky sharecropper joins the newly-integrated Navy, his tough-as-nails training officer wants no part in his ambitions. Inspired by the true story of the first African American master diver in the US Navy.

Robert de Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr. star in this movie, and it is fantastic!

scuba diving movies – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

A ship sent to investigate a wave of mysterious sinkings encounters the advanced submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo.

I haven’t watched this yet, but it has fantastic reviews. This is a Walt Disney movie from 1954, and according to my Mom, they actually had a ride at Disney World that sounded pretty damn cool.

scuba diving movies – open water

Open Water

Based on the true story of two scuba divers accidentally stranded in shark-infested waters after their tour boat has left.

Maybe don’t watch this one until you’ve been a diver for a while.

scuba diving movies – the big blue

The Big Blue

Two long-time friends vie for a deep-sea diving record in this portrait of two men bound to the sea and the affection between one of the men and the woman he loves. A tale of friendship and romance.

scuba diving movies – the life aquatic

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Starring Bill Murray (can you ever go wrong here), Owen Wilson and Cate Blanchett, an oceanographer, set out after the shark that killed his partner.

I haven’t watched this one yet either but seems to be a very popular movie amongst divers and has great reviews!

scuba diving movies – the last breath

The Last Breath

An idyllic diving excursion devolves into a nightmare when a family resurfaces to find that there just isn’t enough air to go around. The clan must replenish oxygen tanks at any cost.

Scuba Diving Documentaries

I’m a documentary junkie. While I love movies, documentaries are great for increasing knowledge and inspiration in a more realistic way.

When I decided to become vegan overnight, I watched tons of vegan documentaries the first week and knew there was no way I was going back.

scuba diving movies – last breath

Last Breath

A diver is stranded on the bottom of the North Sea with only five minutes of oxygen and no chance of rescue for at least thirty minutes. The original participants deliver emotional first-hand accounts of an incident that changed their lives.

Whew! This one was so emotional and powerful. It’s basically another reason to never be a saturation diver – for me, at least.

scuba diving movies – mission blue

Mission Blue

The life and work of oceanographer, marine biologist, and environmentalist Sylvia Earle. I didn’t know anything about Sylvia Earle (yea, I know I’m late to the party), but WOW, what an incredible woman. This is important for anyone that is interested or should be interested (aka EVERYONE) in saving the planet.

scuba diving movies – diving into the unknown

Diving Into the Unknown

Four Finnish cave divers face their worst nightmare when two of their friends drown deep inside an underwater cave in Norway. When the official recovery operation is called off by the Norwegian and British authorities after being deemed too risky, the friends set out on a secret mission to retrieve the bodies themselves.

scuba diving movies – sharkwater


“Sharkwater” takes you into the most shark-rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world’s shark populations.

Arguing that sharks are misunderstood as dangerous creatures, biologist Rob Stewart travels to the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, and other places where the animals can be found. Underwater, he feeds sharks to demonstrate their fundamentally nonviolent nature. With 90 percent of the shark population destroyed by indiscriminate hunting, Stewart joins forces with conservationist Paul Watson to fight poachers who illegally kill the animals for their fins and sell the meat to the Taiwanese Mafia.

scuba diving movies – sharkwater extinction

Sharkwater: Extinction

Sharkwater Extinction is a thrilling, action-adventure journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the billion-dollar illegal shark fin industry and its political corruption.

I’ve watched this three times. So good and so important. If you’re interested in learning more about saving sharks and why it’s important, read my post on how and why to save the sharks.

scuba diving movies – the cove

The Cove

An amazing true story that is one part action-adventure thriller, one part documentary, and a completely heart-pounding call for help from the world’s oceans.

In Taiji, Japan, local fishermen hide a gruesome secret: the capture and slaughter of dolphins. Activist Ric O’Barry, who trained dolphins for the “Flipper” TV series, joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society to expose the brutal practice, risking life and limb in the process.

scuba diving movies – blackfish


Killer whales are beloved, majestic, friendly giants, yet infamous for their capacity to kill viciously. Blackfish unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of the notorious performing whale Tilikum, who — unlike any orca in the wild — has taken the lives of several people while in captivity.

I recommend this documentary all the time. It’ll tear your heart out, but it’s vital.


scuba diving movies
Ashley Hubbard

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Manuel Mendoza

    What a great list of movies! I only have watched 2 of those! One of my favorites it’s Open water, definitely a great film, but I watched recently one that maybe it isn’t about scuba diving but it’s about surfing a very well movie, The Shallows it’s the name I totally recommend it to you!

  2. Winnie

    ridiculous. hardly comprehensive, missing all the classic movies out there, from US 1950s 1960s 1970s?? (far better films on the topic existed in film and tv) and what about other international films. What a dishonest piece of trash human you are to make a clickbait site.

    Oh, but those will not earn you money – you pathetic disgrace of a human being.

    Deceiver. Disgrace. Fraud. Pathetic ignorance to the extreme.

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