The career of Revolutionary War naval hero from his youth in Scotland through his service to Catherine the Great of Russia.



, (film) | 2 more credits »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bunny O'Hare (1971)
Certificate: GP Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Bunny is a penniless widow who blackmails a robber into teaching her the trade. Soon the pair starts a successful crime spree, and the cops aren't turning a blind eye.

Director: Gerd Oswald
Stars: Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Cassidy
Storm Center (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small-town librarian is branded as a Communist by local politicians when she refuses to withdraw a controversial book from the library's shelves.

Director: Daniel Taradash
Stars: Bette Davis, Brian Keith, Kim Hunter
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Explores the relationships shared by the residents of a seedy boarding house in London.

Director: Franklin Gollings
Stars: Bette Davis, Michael Redgrave, Alexis Kanner
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The film is about divorce but with flashbacks as to why divorce occurs.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan, Jane Cowl
Madame Sin (1972)
Adventure | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A CIA agent is used as a pawn in an insane woman's plan to steal a Polaris submarine.

Director: David Greene
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Wagner, Denholm Elliott
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A schoolteacher becomes the mentor of a talented young miner and seeks to get him into a university.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, John Dall, Nigel Bruce
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The son of a dead Italian nobleman and a wealthy American woman forgets the disappointment of finding he has no talent for being a painter by succumbing to the sexual advances of an amoral model who believes in indiscriminate love affairs.

Director: Damiano Damiani
Stars: Bette Davis, Horst Buchholz, Catherine Spaak
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Billy the Kid becomes embroiled in Lincoln County, NM, land wars. When rancher who gave him a break is killed by rival henchman, Billy vows revenge. New employer takes advantage of his ... See full summary »

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Audie Murphy, Gale Storm, Albert Dekker
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Spinster poetess Susan Grieve lives in a Manhattan apartment where naval hero Slick Novak comes with her for a nightcap. Next morning they visit her Connecticut farm where Novak tells her ... See full summary »

Director: Bretaigne Windust
Stars: Bette Davis, Janis Paige, Jim Davis
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In an isolated house, mystery writer Janet Frobisher is involved in potentially murderous relationships.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, Emlyn Williams
Housewife (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Nan Reynolds encourages her copywriter husband Bill to open his own agency. Nearly out of business, he finally gets a client. Former girlfriend Patricia Berkeley writes a very successful ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: George Brent, Bette Davis, Ann Dvorak


Cast overview, first billed only:
Aimee de Tellison
Dorothea Danders
King Louis XVI (as Jean Pierre Aumont)
John Wilkes
Capt. Richard Pearson
Susana Canales ...
Marie Antoinette (as Susan Canales)
Russian Chamberlain (as Jorge Riviere)
Tom Brannum ...
Peter Wooley
Basil Sydney ...
Gunner Lowrie
Archie Duncan ...
Duncan MacBean


The swashbuckling adventures of the hero of the Revolutionary War. His contributions weren't always appreciated by the new U.S. government. After the way Congress show their displeasure by sending him to the Russia of Catherine the Great. Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


So big all the seas of the world are its stage ! See more »


See all certifications »





Release Date:

16 June 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Su imperio era el océano  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This would be the last time Max Steiner would compose a film score for a film featuring Bette Davis. He had written several scores for movies starring Davis, and had been her favorite composer. See more »


When Captain Jones visits George Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge, an empty desk can be seen in the background behind Jones. The camera angle changes to another view, and a man suddenly appears sitting at the desk. The view then switches back to the first camera, and the sitting man disappears. See more »


Esek Hopkins: Whoever heard of sending Marines to fight on the land?
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »


The Star-Spangled Banner
Composed by Francis Scott Key
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Fine Fighting Commander
16 August 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I have always believed that one of the reasons that John Paul Jones continues to be a fascinating figure is that we in America pride ourselves in that Horatio Alger tradition of the young man rising from humble circumstances to obtain wealth and prominence. Riches were not to be for Jones in his lifetime, but you can't fault the historical prominence he obtained as the spiritual if not the historical founder of the American Navy. And as the son of the gardener of a Scottish estate who ran away to see as a boy, his circumstances could hardly have been more humble.

Robert Stack makes a commanding John Paul Jones and he's a full blown hero in the tradition of the Samuel Eliot Morrison biography from which this film is adapted. There is a later book about him that came out a few years back written by Evan Thomas which presents Jones as the hero this film makes him out to be.

One thing that was overlooked is that it presents Jones as a man unlucky in love. Erin O'Brien-Moore and Marisa Pavan are the Virginia planter heiress and the French noblewoman who were the women in his life. I can assure you that there were many others, Jones was quite the ladies man, he never lacked for feminine companionship when on dry land.

Except for a cameo appearance as himself in Pepe, this film was the farewell role for Charles Coburn who played Benjamin Franklin who was Jones's biggest booster in the Continental Congress. He's good as the foxy philosopher Franklin was reputed to be. It is a factual error when you see him at Jones's death bed, Franklin had died a couple of years earlier in the USA. He also did not bring him the news of an offer of a commission in the Russian Navy under Queen Catherine the Great.

Bette Davis played Catherine the Great ever so briefly and I wish we got to see more of her. Jones did take command of her fleet and did defeat the Turks as per the film. It was the only time Jones showed what he could do as a naval strategist and he passed the test. His exploits with the Continental Navy were as a single ship in combat.

In vain Jones fought vigorously for a permanent Navy for the young United States. You see one of his opponents being John Adams. In an ironic twist of history when Adams got to be the second president of the United States and we were in an undeclared naval war with France, he got a Navy going in a hurry then. Our department of the Navy was founded during his administration, but John Paul Jones was a few years dead by then.

Despite some historical errors the film does present John Paul Jones as he would wish to be remembered. And this review is dedicated to the United States Navy, to the many men and women who have served and continue to serve in it, guided by the example of a fine fighting commander in John Paul Jones.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
CVA 59 shown at the end hawaii-412-571667
Discuss John Paul Jones (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: