Up 588 this week

Lifeboat (1944)

 -  Thriller | War  -  28 January 1944 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 16,667 users  
Reviews: 113 user | 77 critic

Several survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the men who sunk it.



(by), (screen play), 2 more credits »
0Check in

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 26 May 2013
a list of 23 titles
created 11 months ago
a list of 22 titles
created 6 months ago
a list of 25 titles
created 5 months ago
a list of 42 titles
created 3 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Lifeboat" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Lifeboat (1944)

Lifeboat (1944) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Lifeboat.

User Polls

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On the eve of WWII, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall
The 39 Steps (1935)
Comedy | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

During World War 2, an undercover British soldier tries get word to the Allies that the Germans have tons of supplies buried in 5 excavations across Egypt.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Franchot Tone, Anne Baxter, Akim Tamiroff
Comedy | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When the Germans march into Prague, armour-plating inventor Dr Bomasch flees to England. His daughter Anna escapes from arrest to join him, but the Gestapo manage to kidnap them both back ... See full summary »

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An English village is occupied by disguised German paratroopers as an advance post for a planned invasion.

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti
Stars: Leslie Banks, C.V. France, Valerie Taylor
The Train (1964)
Thriller | War | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
Misery (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A famous novelist is "rescued" from a car crash by an obsessed fan.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth
Jaws (1975)
Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
Black Book (2006)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman
36 Hours (1965)
War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Germans kidnap an American major and try to convince him that World War II is over, so that they can get details about the Allied invasion of Europe out of him.

Director: George Seaton
Stars: James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Taylor


Complete credited cast:
Walter Slezak ...
John Hodiak ...
Heather Angel ...
Canada Lee ...


In the Atlantic during WWII, a ship and a German U-boat are involved in a battle and both are sunk. The survivors from the ship gather in one of the boats. They are from a variety of backgrounds: an international journalist, a rich businessman, the radio operator, a nurse, a steward, a sailor and an engineer with communist tendencies. Trouble starts when they pull a man out of the water who turns out to be from the U-boat. Written by Col Needham <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What happens when six men and three women are alone in an open boat ? See more »


Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

28 January 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Náufragos  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,590,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the only movie Alfred Hitchcock made for Twentieth Century-Fox, under Darryl F. Zanuck at the time. Hitchcock was borrowed by Fox while under contract with producer David O. Selznick. See more »


After the operation on Gus's leg, the group is playing cards. The sound is the same audio from the card game earlier in the film. Ritt stays. Kovac takes three cards. You can see when Kovac supposedly says, "Three cards," his lips don't move at all. See more »


[first lines]
[indistinct shouting]
John Kovac: Ahoy there!
[climbs into boat]
John Kovac: Lady, you certainly don't look like somebody that's just been shipwrecked.
Connie Porter: Man, I certainly feel like it.
See more »


Referenced in The Last Voyage (1960) See more »


Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
(1942) (uncredited)
Music by Sam H. Stept
Lyrics by Charles Tobias and Lew Brown
Played on flute by Canada Lee and sung by William Bendix
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Perhaps the best single set movie of all time
15 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

Lifeboat, the Hitchcock classic, defines the essence of the American super will in 1944. It pits the American melting pot irrationality and eccentricities against the single-minded rational Teutonic mind. Unlike the typical propaganda movies of its time, Lifeboat does not march without a reverse gear across the screen like John Wayne's boots. Lifeboat is circumspect, and asks profound questions about war, and values, and vulnerability. It second guesses itself. It wonders.

A freighter is sunk by a German U-boat and the cast assembles in a solitary lifeboat on a cold gray Atlantic Ocean for a two hour emotional roller-coaster. 60 years ago, before there were true female heavyweight actresses like Brittany Spears or Meg Ryan, there was Tallulah Bankhead, a thinking man's dame with an Alabama drawl and no underwear. Apparently she wanted to keep the attention of the camera crew during filming; mission accomplished. Playing the lead role of Constance Porter, Tallulah was in her element as the clawed feisty sharp talking journalist ripping apart at will anyone that crossed her path especially alpha male want a be, John Kovac, played by John Hodiak. Ruggedly ugly, Hodiak, played an impulsive hotheaded boiler room brute that acted first and used thought only as a last resort. His persona was that of a man raised on the wrong side of the tracks, vigilant like a stray dog with the hair up on its back most of the time.

Then there was Willy. Willy, played magnificently by Walter Slezak, was a rescued German U-boat sailor, ultimately unmasked as the Captain of the U-boat that sunk the freighter. Willy spoke perfect English. He knew the sea, navigation and knew how to survive. He was superior in intellect, physical strength, and cunning. Not only was he capable of saving Gus Smith's life by a surgical amputation of his leg, he also pushed Gus overboard when it was clear that Gus, played by William Bendix was dying and essentially wasting the survival resources of the others in the boat.

Other characters providing color included a young Hume Cronyn, hard to believe he was ever young, and famous cigar chewing character actor grouch, Charles Rittenhouse who played Henry Hull, ironically, a shipping tycoon. Other players had various levels of incompetence and mental instability.

What does this movie say? It says that Americans can only stand so much rational logic before they explode, even if the rational logic initially saves their lives. It frames the basis of ethical reasoning. For example who do you give a heart transplant to, a scientist or a street person who waltzes into the door two seconds before the scientist? Willy would give the heart to the scientist because he weighs the society above the individual, and the rest of the boat would give it to the street person, not because it is rational but because they base ethics on human equality, and seek to find some measure of 'fairness' as the basis of ethical decision making. While American society may tout the virtues of this kind of sentiment, they are not really that comfortable with it. Watching a street person with a newly transplanted heart swill down a bottle of Thunderbird wine is not particularly gratifying when at the same time the Nobel Laureate is being laid to rest, perhaps just short of a discovery that could have saved millions of lives. And this is precisely what the movie does in the end. It leaves us uncertain about our own brutality in the name of our version of ethical fairness. It also makes us question our own sense of reason and logic. What possible virtue is there in a society that shuns reasoning? This is the point that Hitchcock makes so cleverly. He leaves us with a sense of fear, from both a tough intelligent rational enemy, but also from a wild brutish killing wrought out of self-fear and ending with an uncomfortable lynch mob sense of justice. This was not a killing of self-defense; it was a killing of berserk passion and loss of control. These were after all, not soldiers, but they were us, suffering from a global war with no end in sight. Frustrated by a relentless predatory machine-like enemy, that could torpedo unarmed freighters, yet smile and tell jokes while rowing toward an enemy rescue ship.

Lifeboat is a movie of huge depth. If the brain aspects of the movie don't appeal to you, you may want to see the movie just to get a glimpse of Tallulah so you could actually see what a real woman once looked like before they became extinct in the sea of 18 year old tattooed tongue-pierced pop culture nothings and crack smoking 'super-models' that masquerade these days as 'American womanhood'. And you wonder why men don't want to marry anymore.

24 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Most unsatisfying ending steviehallandale
Did you trust the German? mrplow0056
Where's Alfred's cameo? missiveusa
hume cronyn sucks Moannugs
charcoal ?? jkildow71
anyone heard if the dvd is coming? linusmoke-dot-com
Discuss Lifeboat (1944) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page