5 user 1 critic

Thunder Afloat (1939)

Passed | | Romance, Drama, War | 15 September 1939 (USA)



(screen play), (screen play) (as Commander Harvey Haislip) | 2 more credits »


Complete credited cast:
John Thorson
'Rocky' Blake
Susan Thorson
District Commander (as Douglas Dumbrille)
U-Boat Captain
'Cap' Finch
German U-Boat Officer
Admiral Ross
Hans Joby ...
U-Boat Petty Officer
Henry Hunter ...
Ensign Dyer
Admiral Girard


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


JUST LIKE THE HEADLINES! Now it can be told how two-fisted sea-going Yankees fought German U-boats invading American waters in the last war! Beery's back with thrills and laughs in today's timeliest picture! See more »


Romance | Drama | War | Action


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Capitão Thorson  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in Los Angeles Wednesday 20 March 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Wednesday 15 May 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6) and by New York City Sunday 22 September 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2); in San Francisco it was first telecast 7 May 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »


Featured in From the Ends of the Earth (1939) See more »


Ten Thousand Miles Away
(1871) (uncredited)
Written by C. Vivian
Arranged by Geo T. Evans
Played and sung by a chorus during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Has Its Heart in the Right Place
13 December 2013 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Thunder Afloat (1939)

** (out of 4)

Tugboat captain John Thorson (Wallace Beery) tricks his rival Rocky Blake (Chester Morris) into joining the Navy so that he can get a big deal. However, the captain changes his mind about WW1 after his tugboat is struck by a German U-boat. It's important to note where the U.S. was during 1939 when WWII was a hot topic and this country wasn't certain whether they were going to join or not. It's clear that MGM and the producer's hearts were in the right place with THUNDER AFLOAT but I just found the thing to be way too stupid to be enjoyed. The film starts off like you're watching some sort of bad comedy and what we've basically got is Beery acting like his big bear self while he takes on Germany all by himself. There are some incredibly stupid scenes early on in this picture including one where Beery just punches the German U-boat captain and nothing really happens to him. Yeah right! Can you imagine what would happen to an American who punch a German captain? There are countless scenes where Beery just acts like a moron and I'm sure people ate it up in 1939 but when viewed today it just doesn't work. The entire film is rather flat as we watch Beery end up in the Navy where of course he meets up with his old pal Blake. This leads to Beery and Morris exchanging a bunch of quick lines but none of them work. Morris is one of my favorite forgotten actors but he's really not given too much to do. It tells you something when actors like Beery and Morris can't bring any life to a picture. Virginia Grey is good in her supporting role but she's not given too much to do. THUNDER AFLOAT has its heart in the right place but the mix of politics, comedy and action just never fully work.

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