Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Admiral Nelson takes a brand new atomic submarine through its paces. When the Van Allen radiation belt catches fire, the admiral must find a way to beat the heat or watch the world go up in smoke.

  • US Navy Admiral Harriman Nelson evokes extreme views. Some believe he is the greatest scientific mind around, while others see him as a lunatic. His latest project, an atomic submarine, the Seaview, which he designed and built, is evoking as many divergent views. The Seaview is going through its final tests in the Arctic region. One day, the Seaview unexpectedly goes through a dangerous underwater ice shower - the ice pieces the size of large boulders - which Nelson and his crew ultimately learn is due to the Van Allen Radiation Belt being on fire, causing the break-up of icebergs on the surface. If the fire is not contained, it could mean the destruction of the Earth. At a UN meeting in New York to discuss what to do, Nelson states that he believes the fire will not burn out as many other scientists believe, and that he can extinguish the fire by shooting a missile at the belt in exactly sixteen days from the region of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific. His view is supported by his friend, fellow scientist, retired Commodore Lucius Emory. Unable to get orders for or against from the US government, Nelson proceeds to sail the Seaview to his intended destination, which is against the wishes of the UN. Despite being generally loyal to the admiral, many aboard the Seaview believe his action is irrational, foolish and/or reckless. Among those are: Captain Lee Crane, the sub's commanding officer; Dr. Susan Hiller, a visiting psychiatrist on board to do research of the effects of stress on the crew; and Miguel Alvarez, a civilian scientist and religious zealot, who believes that if the world is to end that it is God's fate. Caught in the middle is Lieutenant Cathy Connors, the admiral's secretary, who is still seemingly loyal to her boss, but who is also engaged to Captain Crane. These internal struggles are not the only obstacles Nelson faces, but also the regular perils of the ocean, the UN who they learn has issued a seek and destroy order of the Seaview, and a potentially mutinous crew, one of who seems to be sabotaging the mission even at the expense of some of the other crew member's lives.

  • The Seaview is an atomic submarine designed by Admiral Harriman Nelson. On its initial launch some politicians are visiting it to see if all the money they poured into it is worth it. It is while they are at sea that they learn that the belt of radiation covering the Earth is on fire. Nelson is asked to attend some kind of international conference to determine what to do. It is while on route that Nelson comes up with a plan which he presents at the conference. Nelson proposes that if an atomic missile is launched from the Seaview at a precise moment, it will cause it to blow up. Another scientist claims that the belt will burn itself out when it reaches a certain temperature. But Nelson says that if they wait for his proposal, they will miss the window of opportunity that he told them of. Nelson leaves, boards the Seaview, and heads off to make his rendezvous with radiation belt. However, Nelson's driven manner, causes friction between him and Captain Crane, whose relationship with him is more paternal. As they push on, some of the crew members don't want to follow the admiral, and if that wasn't enough, there appears to be saboteur on board.

  • When the Earth is threatened by a burning Van Allen Radiation Belt, U.S. Navy Admiral Harriman Nelson plans to shoot a nuclear missile at the Belt, using his experimental atomic submarine, the Seaview.



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