22 user 9 critic

Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 1949 (UK)
Whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling trip to teach him core life values while First Mate Dan Lunceford is tasked with tutoring Jed.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


Complete credited cast:
Andrew L. Bush
Britton (as Henry Morgan)
Benjamin Harris
Capt. John Briggs
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
New Bedford Neighbor (scenes deleted)
Hubert E. Flanagan ...
Capt. Rumley (scenes deleted)
New Bedford Neighbor (scenes deleted)


At the end of the 19th century, Massachusetts whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling expedition.The old captain wants to teach his spoiled grandson real life values such as honesty, courage, wisdom, fairness and hard work.At the same time, First Mate Dan Lunceford is entrusted with tutoring the boy in his schoolwork.A small competition and rivalry starts when both men,Captain Joy and First Mate Lunceford, strive to become young Jed's male role model.Captain Joy may have the wisdom dictated by his life's experiences but young Jed's imagination is rather captivated by Dan Lunceford's seafaring tales. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Sea's Mightiest Drama! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1949 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Capitães do Mar  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lionel Barrymore's character is named Bering Joy because he was born on board a ship in the Bering Sea. See more »


When asked what is the longest river in the world, Jed answers the Narragansett (not the Mississippi as noted elsewhere). This was a 19th century name for a complex of small rivers (now called the Blackstone, Seekonk, and Providence rivers) that empty into Narragansett Bay. The river system is located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Since Jed is from New Bedford, he would have been familiar with this river system and bay. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: NEW BEDFORD 1887 See more »


Referenced in The Doctor and the Girl (1949) See more »


Arranged by Alfred Newman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

all-time classic
11 April 2005 | by (Waltham, MA) – See all my reviews

This is one of the all-time greats. Its brilliance is largely due to Lionel Barrymore. Usually seen in supporting roles (he & Frank Morgan being the two greatest character actors of the golden age), he carries this film as star. There are many electrifying scenes, especially his confrontation with Dean Stockwell, a worthy match for the star, not to mention murdering a whale. On shore, the leads sparkle in a high-stakes testing scene. It also documents an industry that is long gone. You can learn a lot about whaling here. (For example, the captain never speaks to the crew once the boat sails; all communication is through the first mate, who can, however, give a crewman permission to approach the captain.)

16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page