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Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)

Approved | | Adventure | 2 December 1953 (USA)
1:57 | Trailer

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Fierce competition among sponge fishermen forces a Greek-American family to fish in the dangerous 12-mile reef area off the western coast of Florida.



Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Tony Petrakis
Gwyneth Rhys
Mike Petrakis
Socrates 'Soc' Houlis
Thomas Rhys
Angela Clarke ...
Mama Petrakis
Arnold Dix
Demetrios Sofotes
Penny Petrakis
Griff Rhys


Mike and Tony Petrakis are a Greek father and son team who dive for sponges off the coast of Florida. After they are robbed by crooks, Arnold and the Rhys brothers, Mike decides to take his men to the dangerous 12-mile reef to dive for more sponges. Mike suffers a fatal accident when he falls from the reef leaving Tony to carry on the business. But now he has a companion, Gwyneth Rhys. Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You see it without special glasses !




Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

2 December 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Höllenriff  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,560,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Is part of the Public Domain. See more »


Tony Petrakis: [to Gwyneth Rhys] Hey, you want to know what my real name is? Adonis. My mother named me after a Greek god. I'm a beautiful young man.
See more »


Featured in The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides (2005) See more »


It Had to Be You
Music by Isham Jones
Played on the juke box when Tony and Gwyneth dance
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Average Overall, Pretty Good Atmosphere
22 February 2006 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

An average movie overall, this is helped along quite a bit by its atmosphere, which makes a relatively creative setting work pretty well. The actual story consists entirely of very well-worn ideas, but they work all right because the setting and scenery give the story some extra life. The cast also has a couple of bright spots, and aside from being somewhat too long, it's a solid feature for its genre.

The story has a community of Greek sponge fishermen on the Florida coast facing intimidation, prejudice, and economic competition, with a budding cross-cultural romance that has the potential either to ease the tensions or to cause worse conflicts. A young Robert Wagner plays the main character, and while his performance is rather one-dimensional, he easily makes his presence felt. Peter Graves is his antagonist, with Terry Moore as the love interest.

Probably the best performance is given by Gilbert Roland, who plays Wagner's father. His character is a cocky but knowledgeable veteran of his trade, who is forced to take ever greater risks to provide for his family.

The atmosphere is helped by the color photography and by a lot of good detail in most of the various settings. For much of the movie, you are constantly reminded of the seaside setting and of the ways that it drives the characters and the action. All this helps the familiar story idea to take on a little more interest.

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