Down 5,431 this week

Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 450 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 2 critic

Whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling expedition to teach him life values such as honesty, courage, wisdom,fairness and hard work.First mate Dan Lunceford is entrusted with teaching Jed his schoolwork.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 41 titles
created 12 Jul 2011
a list of 629 titles
created 13 Apr 2012
a list of 5121 titles
created 29 May 2012
a list of 727 titles
created 27 Mar 2013
a list of 250 titles
created 2 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)

Down to the Sea in Ships (1949) on IMDb 7.4/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Down to the Sea in Ships.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Kes (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young, English working-class boy spends his free time caring for and training his pet falcon.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: David Bradley, Brian Glover, Freddie Fletcher
The Window (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

To avoid the heat of a sweltering summer night a 9 year old Manhattan boy decides to sleep on the fire escape and witnesses a murder, no one will believe him.

Director: Ted Tetzlaff
Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy
Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Enchanted by the idea of locating treasure buried by Captain Flint, Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey and Jim Hawkins charter a sailing voyage to a Caribbean island. Unfortunately, a large ... See full summary »

Director: Byron Haskin
Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton, Basil Sydney
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Peter Carter meets official resistance when he finds his 9 year old daughter has been the victim of the pedophile patriarch of the town's most powerful family.

Director: Cyril Frankel
Stars: Gwen Watford, Patrick Allen, Felix Aylmer
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel


Complete credited cast:
First Mate Dan Lunceford
Capt. Bering Joy
Jed Joy
Slush Tubbs
Andrew L. Bush
Berry Kroeger ...
Britton (as Henry Morgan)
Benjamin Harris
Paul Harvey ...
Capt. John Briggs
Luke Sewell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ruth Donnelly ...
New Bedford Neighbor (scenes deleted)
Hubert E. Flanagan ...
Capt. Rumley (scenes deleted)
Connie Marshall ...
New Bedford Neighbor (scenes deleted)


Whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling expedition in order to teach the young boy real life values such as honesty, courage, wisdom,fairness and hard work. First mate Dan Lunceford is entrusted with teaching the boy his schoolwork. The two men vie to become young Jed's male role model. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 April 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Down to the Sea in Ships  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ships cooks were often nicknamed "Slush" or Slushy". The term comes from the fact that they had to feed the crew with salt pork or salt beef. The meat would be put into a pot and boiled and the grease that came to the surface was called "slush" and was skimmed off and saved. The sailors often smeared it on ships biscuit in place of butter. Any excess at the end of the voyage was sold to soap makers or candle makers and the proceeds were used to buy things for the ship, hence the term "Slush Fund". See more »


Referenced in The Screen Writer (1950) See more »


Rolling Home
Arranged by Cyril J. Mockridge and Edward B. Powell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

All great films are about relationships
22 August 2010 | by See all my reviews

And this is one of the great films. It is not a story about whaling, though it mostly takes place on a whaling ship and has wonderful scenes about life on a whaling ship. It is the story of a boy's relationship to two men, two men's relationships to to the boy, and the relationship of all three to life.

Lionel Barrymore, in one of his last roles, and like his character only able to move about with difficulty using crutches, raises the presentation to rarefied company with a masterful performance. He is able to bring all the gruffness of his Henry Potter role of "It's A Wonderful Life," but with the humanity he was not allowed to show in the latter. That he loves his grandson with all his heart, and feels great pride in him, is made evident in the endearing shore side preamble. But aboard the vessel of which he is Master, his way is to change into another persona completely; one in which he dare not show the slightest feelings for the boy. As Master, he is second only to God for all his crew, and to this role he must devote his entire soul 24 hours a day.

A vacuum thus develops in his relationship with the boy, and into this vacuum Richard Widmark, the new Mate of the vessel, is thrust. He is of the age the boy's dead father would have been, and has duties and the opportunity to interact with the boy in ways Barrymore cannot, and has qualities which naturally lead him to become the father figure. Initially not interested in the human qualities the boy represents, he is before long won over, and replaces Barrymore in the boy's affections.

Not until a crisis overtakes the ship's company is the alienation between Barrymore and the boy overcome. With Widmark's efforts propelling him, the boy returns to his grandfather's affection and the two are reunited in their hearts, and the gulf that has lately divided them despite their proximity aboard ship falls away like it was never there.

Widmark's performance is very able indeed in his role of importance and some nuance. This is one of his finest performances, certainly one of his most human, and at the end most agreeable. But it is the 13 year old Dean Stockwell who cements the story with his performance of a lifetime. The way he makes his character grow from a boy to a young man during the film, the way he conveys the range of human feelings which is required of his role, is faultless and quite breathtaking.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Fell Into The Public Domain tapennock
Why isn't it available? lfdow
Lionel Barrymore's quote fnj2002
Official DVD now available. DavidW1947
I was an extra on a Dean Stockwell movie jymn-365-224576
Lionel Barrymore's triumph fnj2002
Discuss Down to the Sea in Ships (1949) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: