20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

Passed  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi  |  24 December 1916 (USA)
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Reviews: 20 user | 13 critic

Captain Nemo has built a fantastic submarine for his mission of revenge. He has traveled over 20,000 leagues in search of Charles Denver - a man who caused the death of Princess Daaker. ... See full summary »



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Loosely adapted from Dante's Divine Comedy and inspired by the illustrations of Gustav Doré the original silent film has been restored and has a new score by Tangerine Dream.

Directors: Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Salvatore Papa, Arturo Pirovano, Giuseppe de Liguoro


Complete credited cast:
Dan Hanlon ...
Edna Pendleton ...
Curtis Benton ...
Allen Holubar ...
Matt Moore ...
Jane Gail ...
Howard Crampton ...
William Welsh ...
Charles Denver (as William Welch)
Lois Alexander ...
Prince Daaker's Daughter as a Child
Wallis Clark ...
Pencroft (as Wallace Clark)


Captain Nemo has built a fantastic submarine for his mission of revenge. He has traveled over 20,000 leagues in search of Charles Denver - a man who caused the death of Princess Daaker. Seeing what he had done, Denver took the daughter to his yacht and sailed away. He abandoned her and a sailor on a mysterious island and has come back after all these years to see if she is still alive and if the nightmares he has will stop. The daughter has been found by five survivors of a Union Army Balloon that crashed near the island. At sea, Professor Aronnax was aboard the ship 'Abraham Lincoln' when Nemo rammed it and threw the Professor, his daughter and two others into the water. Prisoners at first, they are now treated as guests to view the underwater world and to hunt under the waves. Nemo will also tells them about the Nautilus and the revenge that has driven him for all these years. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

24 December 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:


(tinted and toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The actual undersea footage was shot in the Bahamas due to the unusually clear water. When this film was remade by Walt Disney 38 years later, they came to this same spot for their undersea footage. See more »


In one scene on the island the balloon survivors are at a table and a black servant appears. He never shows up again and is not rescued at the end of the film with the rest of the survivors. See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening titles announce "The First Submarine Photoplay Ever Filmed". See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Age has withered it...
7 May 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The 1916 version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a landmark in special effects in its day, but 90 years on it's a mere historical curiosity. It's not that it's particularly bad, more that it's very flatly directed even for its day and the passage of time has dealt it some particularly low blows. Although in the first draft of the novel Nemo was clearly identified as a Pole waging a private war with Russia before Verne's publishers and the French censors objected, the film goes off on its own to make him a wronged Indian Prince (Allen Holubar) with a penchant for wearing Santa Claus suits: the fact that his crew alternately seem to be dressed as elves or pastry chefs does not help matters much. Then there's his long-lost daughter, introduced as a 'child of nature' skipping and dancing through the jungle in so insipid a manner that she even scares off the cheetahs. Looking like a cross between a young Bette Midler playing Elmo Lincoln in blackface and Spike Milligan playing Little Eva while being poked with a cattle prod, Jane Gail's performance is every negative cliché about silent movie acting incarnate. Little of Verne's episodic plot remains: having introduced Professor Aronnax and Ned Land, the hunting trip aside, the film promptly ignores them for the rest of its running time in favour of a plot drawn loosely from Verne's other Nemo novel, Mysterious Island. Still, it's watchable enough even if it doesn't give Richard Fleischer's 1954 version much of a run for its money.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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