30 user 6 critic

Abandon Ship (1957)

Seven Waves Away (original title)
Ship's officer finds himself in command of a lifeboat full of survivors of a sunken luxury liner.





Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A South American plane loaded with an assortment of characters crash lands in a remote jungle area in the middle of a storm. The passengers then discover they are in an area inhabited by ... See full summary »

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Robert Ryan, Anita Ekberg, Rod Steiger
Safe in Hell (1931)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a New Orleans woman flees to a Caribbean island. While she awaits her fiancé, the vicious local police chief sets his sights on her.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Dorothy Mackaill, Donald Cook, Ralf Harolde
Deep Valley (1947)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Uneducated and poor, Libby lives a sheltered life in a broken down shack with her unloving parents. When a work crew of San Quentin convicts arrives to put in a new road, she takes an ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Ida Lupino, Dane Clark, Wayne Morris
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Twelve people are aboard Coast Air Line's flagship the Silver Queen enroute to South America when the airplane encounters a storm and is blown off course. Crashing into jungles known to be ... See full summary »

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A scientist obsessed with the past transports himself back in time to 18th-century London, where he falls in love with a beautiful young woman.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Tyrone Power, Ann Blyth, Michael Rennie
Certificate: GP Crime | Thriller | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man named Salem escapes from an insane asylum where he was confined for an axe-murder. Falsely convicted under a plea of "guilty due to insanity", he does not plan to let his sister and ... See full summary »

Director: Laslo Benedek
Stars: Max von Sydow, Trevor Howard, Liv Ullmann
Cry 'Havoc' (1943)
Certificate: Passed War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A chronicle of the experiences of a mixed group of Army nurses stationed in Bataan during World War II.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Cold War yarn about a US State Department courier who tangles with Soviet agents and seductive women in post WW2 Europe.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Tyrone Power, Patricia Neal, Stephen McNally
Johnny Apollo (1940)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The son of a jailed Wall Street broker turns to crime to pay for his father's release.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Tyrone Power, Dorothy Lamour, Edward Arnold
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The life story of the famous pianist and band-leader of the 1930s and 1940s.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Tyrone Power, Kim Novak, Victoria Shaw
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

American soldiers stranded in the Philippines, after the Japanese invasion, form guerrilla bands to fight back.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Tyrone Power, Micheline Presle, Tom Ewell
Inferno (1953)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A tough, hard-driving business tycoon suffers a broken leg and is left to die in the desert by his scheming wife and her greedy lover.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming, William Lundigan


Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Holmes
Frank Kelly
Will McKinley
'Cookie' Morrow
Dorothy Knudson
Mr. Wheaton
Jimmy 'Sparks' Clary
Willy Hawkins
Michael Faroni
Noel Willman ...
Aubrey Clark
Daniel Cane
Arthur J. Middleton
John Merritt


After their luxury liner is sunk, a group of over twenty survivors take refuge in a life boat made for only nine. Included in the group are an old opera singer, a nuclear physicist, his wife and child, a General, a play-write and his dog, a college professor, a gambler and his mistress, the ship's nurse, and several members of the crew, including the Captain and executive officer. Soon, the captain dies from his injuries. The executive officer must take charge, and as a hurricane approaches, and their food and water run out, he must decide who to put over the side, and who stays and gets a chance at survival. Written by Mike Hatchett <hatchetts13@webtv.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


14 of these survivors must be cast adrift! Which will the Captain choose?


See all certifications »





Release Date:

28 May 1957 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Abandon Ship  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


(Encore-Action Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Tyrone Power character faces a philosophical conundrum. In choosing a "utilitarian" solution, he follows the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham's maxim - "the greatest good for the greatest number." Yes, he orders people over the side and their happiness is hardly improved. But if he doesn't, the overloaded lifeboat will be swamped and they will all perish. He saves the physically and mentally fit (the "playwright" seems weak and perhaps gay) but in doing so violates their fundamental rights as human beings. See more »


When McKinley is making his way toward Alec, there is a shot of Edith Middleton looking back at him. In the next shot, she is looking out to sea. See more »


Edith Middleton: Why are the wicked always so strong?
See more »


Remade as The Last Survivors (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Which will the Captain choose? You or me?
24 November 2007 | by See all my reviews

From the opening scenes, director Richard Sale makes you aware that this is not going to be a "pretty" film. With the small shot of a simple sea mine floating in the water transforming into a classic 1950s explosion with horrific screams of passengers, Sale again reminds you that this is not going to be a typical Hollywood disaster film. As a reviewer, I must remind those reading that this is not a pretty picture – do not expect your typical film where the heroine always makes good decisions and those that are made do not impact the lives of others. "Seven Waves Away" was a flawless film. It is one of those rare, extremely rare gems that has gone out of print, probably forgotten by most, but when found will provide the most gut-wrenching 97 minutes of cinematic viewing. The plot is simple – a luxury liner is destroyed by a random mine, those surviving are cramped into a lifeboat only equipped to handle 12, 14 at the most, but the dilemma, there are 27 surviving passengers. Weight, rations, sanity, and control are all factors that our leader, Tyrone Powers, must struggle with to save as many lives as possible. With no land for the next 1200 miles, Powers must remain in control, even with death knocking at every door.

"Seven Waves Away" now ranks among one of my favorite films of all times. Why? Director Richard Sale does a phenomenal job directing a strong cast in such a small space. He creates a sense of claustrophobia that is unprecedented in the film industry. This film is the chapter missing from the over-budgeted disaster film "Titanic", which happily everyone shows up safe near the end. This is the human element of disaster, the choices that are made, and the difficulty of survival. This couldn't have happened without those playing their respective roles. Tyrone Powers was more than impressive as the designated master-in-command of this little boat full of scared people. When we first met him, as he assisted in others floating away from the wreckage, we can see that he is going to be a force in this film, and it isn't until he is pushed that we see the full potential of his character. He pushed himself away from any swashbuckling stereotypes that he was better known for, allowed water to be pushed into his face, and gave us a rugged performance that hasn't been seen for a very long time. It was due to Powers' portrayal that the others fell into their own characters as well. Others have argued that each character seemed cliché and at times racist, but to me, they all worked and fell into their roles respectively. The only one I had trouble believing was Mai Zetterling's portrayal of Powers' love interest and nurse. She was cardboard with lines, but worked with the others around her. She was tolerable because the actual story was powerfully near to perfection.

With the characters in place, a strong lead that obviously could control the darkening waters, all we needed to ensure was that there was a strong enough story to accompany these deserved moments. Thankfully, there was. "Seven Waves Away" was one of the tightest scripts that I have witnessed in a very long time. The camera shots were tight, the special effects were 50s style, but perfection in every direction, and the bleak tones were what kept me on the edge of my seat each minute of this film. There is something about a film, especially one made in the 50s that shows unfortunate people just floating out to their death. There is also something about the power of a film that isn't afraid to be honest to itself. "Seven Waves Away" was honest; the horrid nature of Powers saying "women and children don't mean anything anymore" had my heart racing. He was powerful, yet torn all at the same time. He carried a burden none of us would probably be willing to do, and oddly, he was hurt for it. The ending of this film is really what pulled it together for me. The excitement of the crew turned to a wicked shade of turnip at the first signs of possible safety. The honesty of this film is what struck the chord with me. It was powerful and real all at the same time. There wasn't time for cheap CGI or pathetic special effects, this was a human driven film, and it worked because they were all characters we either believed in or have once known. Which would you have been if you were in this boat – one of the strong or one of the weak? This is a conversation that I could have with anyone after viewing this film, and it is conversation that launches this film into my immediate favorites.

Overall, I don't think my words gave this film credit at all. It was, again, one of those rare films that should never go out of print, but remain a staple in our cinematic community. Tyrone Powers is superb, and Richard Sale gives us a story nearly worthy enough of Hitchcock. I still get goose bumps as I think about Powers making the final decision on those that are considered "dead weight". This film carried a heavy theme and wasn't afraid to show it to the world. It is a real film about honest events and the truth behind humanity, it speaks further truth now, and would make for a great re-interpretation if not Hollywood-ized too much. I cannot suggest this film enough. If ever you find yourself with a bit more money in the wallet, this film is the perfect investment for your collection. A beauty from beginning to end.

Grade: ***** out of *****

30 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 30 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page