The Lightship (1985)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  26 September 1986 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 519 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 6 critic

A trio of robbers, two brothers and their twisted genius leader, invade a lightship, but don't reckon on the crew fighting back.



(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Poland is under communist rule. An exiled Polish theater director is in England, enthusiastically preparing an abstract play which will criticize the authoritarian Polish government. His sons might not share his political views, though.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Michael York, Joanna Szczerbic, Michal Skolimowski
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A crematorium worker repeatedly breaks into a woman's house at night to help with housework.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Artur Steranko, Kinga Preis, Jerzy Fedorowicz
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In 1840, a young Russian aristocrat, Dimitri Sanin, is returning home after a long tour of Europe. In Germany, he falls in love with a beautiful pastry shop girl, Gemma Rosselli, who soon ... See full summary »

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Timothy Hutton, Nastassja Kinski, Valeria Golino
Adventure | Comedy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Based on satirical short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about a vain, egotistical Etienne Gerard, a French brigadier serving during the Napoleonic Wars. He thinks he's the best soldier and lover that ever lived and intends to prove it.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Peter McEnery, Claudia Cardinale, Eli Wallach
Moonlighting (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Polish contractor, Nowak, leads a group of workmen to London so they can provide cheap labor for a government official based there. Nowak (Irons) has to manage the project and the men as ... See full summary »

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Eugene Lipinski, Jirí Stanislav
The Shout (1978)
Horror | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A traveler by the name of Crossley, forces himself upon a musician and his wife in a lonely part of Devon, and uses the aboriginal magic he has learned to displace his host.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Alan Bates, Susannah York, John Hurt
30 Door Key (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young writer in 1939 Warsaw faces the conflict of acting his age or relapsing into childhood during the brink of World War II.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Iain Glen, Robert Stephens, Crispin Glover
Rece do góry (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Censored by the Polish authorities, this film was reedited and new footage added. It begins with a sci-fi motif: abstract images and electronic music take the viewer from ruins of Lebanon ... See full summary »

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Jerzy Skolimowski, Joanna Szczerbic, Tadeusz Lomnicki
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

On the death of his parents, Frank, a romantic teenager, moves in with his aunt and uncle He quickly falls in love with his beautiful, sophisticated aunt, Martha, and begins to fantasize ... See full summary »

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: David Niven, Gina Lollobrigida, John Moulder-Brown
The Departure (1967)
Drama | Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A fast-paced comedy about a young Belgian car nut and hairdresser's apprentice, his girlfriend, and their legal and illegal attempts to get a Porsche under him for his nearing debut race.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Catherine-Isabelle Duport, Jacqueline Bir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Jerzy Skolimowski, Elzbieta Czyzewska, Tadeusz Minc
Walkover (1965)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Jerzy Skolimowski, Aleksandra Zawieruszanka, Krzysztof Chamiec


Credited cast:
Calvin Caspary
Captain Miller
Tim Phillips ...
Michal Skolimowski ...
Alex (as Michael Lyndon)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Badja Djola ...


Just when US Coast Guard captain Miller takes his teenage son Alex to his lightship off the coast of Virginia, Calvin Caspary and two criminal accomplices, on the run for the police, decide to hijack it. What the crazy trio didn't count on is that this small crew doesn't just keep taking it lying low, they will put up a fight. Alex hides dad's gun and wrestles his his war past and courage. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The guiding light in a sea of treachery.




PG-13 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 September 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Killers at Sea  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


"The roles of the hijacker Caspary [Robert Duvall] and the Coast Guard Captain Miller [Klaus Maria Brandauer] had to be switched before shooting began", according to show-business trade paper 'Variety', meaning that lead actors Robert Duvall and Klaus Maria Brandauer swapped parts. As such, Duvall and Brandauer were originally cast as being the captain and hijacker respectively but changed to each other's characters. See more »


[first lines]
Alex: [narrating] My old man was a captain in the Coast Guard. We never saw too much of each other. Most of the time he was away at sea. But this time I was lucky. He made it to my graduation.
See more »


Remade as Das Feuerschiff (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

About as odd as finding your granny is into S & M
27 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Unlike the other commentator, I am not interested in lightships. I didn't even know what a lightship was until I saw this film. However, I am interested by this film. I saw it on BBC 1, a few months ago, in their late night film slot, a slot usually reserved for B Movies.

The Lightship could easily be a B movie, only it stars two great actors, Robert Duval and Klaus Maria Brandauer, putting the actors in what could easily be a conventional thriller scenario. Brandauer is the captain of a lightship, thus a man of law, thus a good guy. Duvall is a mysterious, shady figure who seeks refuge from the sea, possibly a man on the run, thus a bad guy. So a battle between good and bad, order and disorder, is played out.

This actually happens in the film. Not a great film, or even a very good one. But odd. About as odd as finding your grandmother is into S&M. For both men become fascinated with one another, and their respective occupations. To illustrate how odd this is, there is a scene where Brandauer finds Duvall taking a bath in his bedroom. Instead of being taken aback, Brandauer puts his hand in the water, playfully, like a lover, and they talk. They talk a lot in the film. Moreover, the film set a few years after World War II, yet Brandauer is playing a German (in charge of an American boat)and Duvall is a real sweet, gent of a southern lawyer, who is also a dangerous, psychopathic criminal, in charge of a couple of hoodlums.

All this weirdness is not that surprising, after all the director is that Polish guy with the weird (if you're not Polish) name, Skowlimowski, who has directed some strange films in his time.

I didn't like the fact the narration or the eighties-ness about it (ie soundtrack). But the kid was OK.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Uncredited Cast stephen-920
Accent sonja-6
Discuss The Lightship (1985) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: