Battle Hell (1957)
"Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 359 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 2 critic

In 1949, during the Chinese Civil War, British warship H.M.S. Amethyst sails up the Yangtse river but on the return trip finds its way blocked by a barrage fire from the Communist Chinese shore batteries.



(book), (idea: and Official Admiralty Records), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dunkirk (1958)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two stories in one - an easygoing British Corporal in France finds himself responsible for the lives of his men when their officer is killed. He has to get them back to Britain somehow. ... See full summary »

Director: Leslie Norman
Stars: John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Robert Urquhart
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The World War II story of the British Navy's effort to defeat Nazi Germany's most powerful warship.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Allied prisoners of various nationalities pool their resources to plan numerous escapes from an "escape-proof" German POW camp housed in a Medieval castle.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: John Mills, Eric Portman, Christopher Rhodes
Hell Drivers (1957)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ex-con trucker tries to expose his boss's rackets.

Director: Cy Endfield
Stars: Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.

Directors: Jack Lee, Ian Dalrymple
Stars: Leo Genn, David Tomlinson, Anthony Steel
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Having pulled off the smallest ever train robbery, Little Walter and his crew decide to get out of London. The six of them set up business in a disused monastery off the Cornish coast, ... See full summary »

Director: Jeremy Summers
Stars: Ronald Fraser, Barbara Windsor, Grégoire Aslan
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

During World War II, several oddly assorted military experts are teamed in a mission to raid and destroy a bridge vital to enemy strategy.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Harrison Ford, Robert Shaw, Edward Fox
Casino Royale (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

In an early spy spoof, aging Sir James Bond comes out of retirement to take on SMERSH.

Directors: Ken Hughes, John Huston, and 3 more credits »
Stars: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two unlikely prospector partners share the same wife in a California gold rush mining town.

Director: Joshua Logan
Stars: Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, Jean Seberg
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In the 1920's Ireland, IRA members are being lead by the war mongering Dr. Sean Lenihan, as they fight oppressive British forces.

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: James Cagney, Don Murray, Dana Wynter
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man shows up at Kimberley Prescott's villa claiming to be her brother. But Ward Prescott died in a car accident a year ago, so how can this man be him? Despite Kim's protests that the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: Richard Todd, Anne Baxter, Herbert Lom
Rio Grande (1950)
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Rio Grande takes place after the Civil War when the Union turned their attention towards the Apaches. Union officer Kirby Yorke is in charge of an outpost on the Rio Grande in which he is ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Cmdr. Kerans, RN
Leading Seaman Frank
Col. Peng
Lt Weston RN
Capt. Kuo Tai
Sophie Stewart ...
Miss Charlotte Dunlap
Robert Urquhart ...
Flt Lt Fearnley RAF
James Kenney ...
Lt Hett RN
Richard Leech ...
Lt Strain RN
Michael Brill ...
Lt Berger RN
PO McCarthy RN
Thomas Heathcote ...
Mr. Monaghan RN
Sam Kydd ...
AB Walker RN
Ewen Solon ...
ERA Williams RN
Brian Smith ...
Boy Martin


While sailing lawfully up the Yangste river in 1949, the British warship Amethyst found its return to the open sea blocked by Communist Chinese shore batteries that unexpectedly opened fire. In charge, Lieutenant Commander Kerans was not however prepared for his crew and his ship to remain as a hostage for the Chinese to use as an international pawn. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The true story of one of the most daring actions in modern Royal Navy history.


Drama | History | War


See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 June 1957 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Battle Hell  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The River Orwell, which runs between Felixstowe and Harwich, in Suffolk, England doubled as the Yangtze River during the making of this film. See more »


Towards the end of the film, shortly before Amethyst rejoins Concord, we see a scene with Kerans standing on the bridge of Amethyst. The see in the background is obviously a still image painted on the background. The waves are static. There is however light smoke which is moving between the bridge and the sky. See more »

Crazy Credits

[The film closes with King George VI's words following the incident]: "Please convey to the Commanding Officer and ship's company of H.M.S. Amethyst my hearty congratulations on their daring exploit to rejoin the fleet. The courage, skill and determination shown by all on board have my highest commendation. Splice the mainbrace". George R. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Tale of the true exploits of Lieut-Cmdr. J.S. Kerans, D.S.O., R.N. and the crew of H.M.S. Amethyst at the conclusion of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
1 February 2005 | by (United States (formerly of Uddingston, Scotland)) – See all my reviews

Excellent Black and White movie showing the courage and resourcefulness of the Royal Navy. Richard Todd's portrayal of Lieutenant Commander J.S. Kerans conveys the essence of what a British Naval Officer is, and has been since the time of Nelson.

The only character who is poorly portrayed is the Chinese PLA Colonel, as this part was played by an obviously made up non-Chinese actor, weakening what is otherwise an outstanding film.

The action scenes realistically convey the sense of uncertainty that occurs during a naval engagement in confined waters. The style is a good hybrid of documentary and typical 1950's WW2 movie, which works better than one might think. The use of the tattered "White Ensign" and the RN's song "Hearts of Oak", for the title music give the movie an old fashioned patriotic feel. Furthermore, the signals between the "Amethyst" and the Navy's C-in-C Far East Station, Hong Kong help avoid a tone of mawkishness or propaganda.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Yangtse Incident music chris_senior2003
Best gun turret action ever seen in movies borg1005-1
Discuss Battle Hell (1957) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: