Naval Warfare Movies

Forty-Ninth Parallel

Director: Michael Powell
Starring: Anton Walbrook, Eric Portman, Leslie Howard, Raymond Massey, Laurence Olivier

Country: UK
Length: 107 min.
Keywords: WWII, Feature

This movie was originally made in 1941.

This is the DVD release (see more).


After a party leaves their U-boat to attempt to capture a Hudson Bay Trading Company post on the Canadian coast, their vessel is sunk with all hands by Canadian Coastal Command planes. The stranded party of six sets off on a cross-country trek with the goal of catching a steamer to Japan.


Filmed in the early years of World War II, this movie uses action and dialog to contrast the ideologies of the war's major adversaries. Each character encountered by the U-boat party expresses pro-democracy sentiments as a vehicle for illustrating (perhaps to the still-neutral United States?) why this war is worth fighting.

The shooting was done largely on location in Canada; a U-boat mock-up was constructed and filmed off the Newfoundland coast. Also called The Invaders, this film won an Academy Award for Best Original Story, and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Originally cut but now restored footage includes Nazi statements on race, reference to a Catholic missionary being a Nazi spy, and a scene in which one of the U-boat officers hits a man over the head preparatory to stealing his car.

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