15 user 4 critic

The Sinking of the 'Lusitania' (1918)

TV-PG | | Animation, Short | 20 July 1918 (USA)
An animated dramatization of the notorious World War I German torpedoing of the ocean liner, Lusitania.


Winsor McCay


Winsor McCay

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Cartoon figures announce, via comic strip balloons, that they will move - and move they do, in a wildly exaggerated style.

Directors: Winsor McCay, J. Stuart Blackton
Stars: Winsor McCay, John Bunny, Maurice Costello
Animation | Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A hungry mosquito spots and follows a man on his way home. The mosquito slips into the room where the man is sleeping, and gets ready for a meal. His first attempts startle the man and wake him up, but the mosquito is very persistent.

Director: Winsor McCay
Animation | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Mr Beetle seeks companionship from a statuesque dragonfly dancer, unaware that her ex-boyfriend, a slender grasshopper and an industrious cameraman, watches their every move. Will Mrs Beetle forgive him? Will he get away with adultery?

Director: Wladyslaw Starewicz
Short | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The fiend faces the spectacular mind-bending consequences of his free-wheeling rarebit binge.

Directors: Wallace McCutcheon, Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Jack Brawn
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After eating rarebit, a woman has a strange dream in which her husband converts their home into a flying machine to escape having to pay the exorbitant interest on the mortgage. It takes them around the world and to the moon.

Director: Winsor McCay
The Bell Boy (1918)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

At the Elk's Head Hotel bellhops torment the lobby, each other and guests. The elevator is powered by a stubborn horse. A sham robbery turns into a real one. And there is a chase on a ... See full summary »

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After eating a rarebit, a man has an odd dream in which his wife takes in a strange-looking animal that eats everything in sight and keeps growing until it threatens the entire city.

Director: Winsor McCay
A Fantasy (1908)
Animation | Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The first all-animated film in history, a series of scenes without much narrative structure, but morphing into each other.

Director: Émile Cohl
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In this story set at a seaside fishing village and inspired by a Charles Kingsley poem, a young couple's happy life is turned about by an accident. The husband, although saved from drowning... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Arthur V. Johnson, Linda Arvidson, Gladys Egan
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Roscoe's wife wants him committed to the No Hope Sanitarium for a cure from drink. He is greeted by blood spattered, cleaver-wielding Buster and a barely clad female patient. He eats a thermometer and must be rushed into surgery.

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Set in an early cinema house, this comic short illustrates the problems with the gals' hats obscuring the movie patron's line of vision.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Linda Arvidson, John R. Cumpson, Flora Finch
The Cook (1918)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Cooks make hovoc in seaside resort hotel.

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John


An animated depiction of the sinking of the Lusitania: In May 1915, the liner leaves the United States, headed for Liverpool with over 2000 passengers on board. As the ship nears its destination, she is struck and severely damaged by a torpedo from a German U-boat. Even as frantic efforts to evacuate the ship are underway, another torpedo strikes the ship, leading quickly to disaster. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Animation | Short


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 July 1918 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sinking of the 'Lusitania', an amazing moving pen picture by Winsor McCay. See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The event depicted in this film occurred on Friday 7 May 1915. See more »


It was German submarine U-20 that torpedoed RMS Lusitania, not German submarine U-39 as shown on the inter-title card. However, on the same day (7 May 1915) U-39 shelled and sunk the United Kingdom trawler Benington in the North Sea. Her crew survived. See more »


Featured in The Moving Picture Boys in the Great War (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Until Cameron decides on his big disaster sequel....
28 August 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

I first became aware of Windsor McCay when years ago I read those surreal dream comics he did in the first decade of the 20th Century "Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend" and "The Adventures of Little Nemo in Slumberland". I never saw anything quite like his art work (for that time - it was the age of "Mutt and Jeff" and "The Katzenjammer Kids". They just were amazing to me. Then I learned that he was the first major American cartoonist who tried his hand at motion picture cartoons. I saw part of his "prehistoric" joke, GERTIE THE DINOSAUR, in some television shows - but only part.

I had heard of his twelve minute long cartoon of the sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania, but had no real knowledge of it. Then, last Friday, I finally saw it on the internet. As a meticulously drawn cartoon of that sad, sea atrocity of May 7, 1915 it is remarkable. As has been said on this thread before by others, when the ship is sinking we see little figures jumping off the ship and drowning in the ocean. Hideous in reality, that McCay did it shows great care in trying to seem accurate. He even shows that one of the smokestacks of the ship had fallen in the attack. McCay must have studied survivor's reports. Only one major fact he got wrong - but understandably so. He insists that there were two torpedoes fired by the U-Boat. Walter Schweiger's notebooks survived, and he insisted he only fired once. Today it is believed a second explosion occurred from either a boiler being hit, or coal dust exploding, or (this has been somewhat discredited) hidden explosives being taken to Europe for the war effort being blown up. Whatever it was, it probably blew out the side of the boat and caused the ship to sink in 18 minutes (not quite the 15 minutes McCay mentions in the cartoon).

It was meant for war propaganda - part of President Wilson's propaganda campaign under newspaperman George Creel, which made all Germans look anti-human. Today there would be a more balanced approach to the story - a tragedy of three governments (Britain, Germany, and the United States) who managed to bungle matters so that 1,198 people (124 of them Americans) died by drowning or freezing or injuries from the explosions.

The real tragedy is show by photos that are superimposed of some celebrities who were lost. Most are forgotten now, but were major figures in 1915. Alfred Vanderbilt, of the great railroad family, is shown. So is Charles Frohman, the theatrical producer of plays by men like Clyde Fitch and James Barrie (including PETER PAN - in the recent film about Barrie Frohman was played by Dustin Hoffman). Also the dramatist Charles Klein (who did the libretto for Sousa's best operetta EL CAPITAN), and the editor and writer Elbert Hubbard (who wrote THE MESSAGE TO GARCIA). It is an interesting aspect that these real photos are used, but drawing the figures might have seen somewhat sacrilegious towards these famous dead people.

Unless a film about the sinking is done by James Cameron as a follow-up to TITANIC, this is the closest we will ever get to a film on the loss of the "Lucy". That is, unless one thing turns up. If you read A.A. Hoehling and Mary Hoehling's book, THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE LUSITANIA, they mention that a newspaper cameraman was on the ship who actually took motion pictures of the panic and the destruction as it went under. He said they'd be the greatest pictures ever taken.

This idiot was lost in the disaster and his camera was never found. But was he wrong? Movies of the sinking of the "Andrea Doria" are still shown and one photo of it going under won a Pulitzer Prize for the photographer (who shot from a plane). Similarly, in 1928, the S.S. Vestris sank in a storm off the Virginia Capes with the loss of 130 people. A photo of the fear crazed passengers trying to stand on the crazy slanted deck of the "Vestris" was taken, survived, and was published. It too won the Pulitzer Prize for best news photography. Maybe, if the idiot and his camera, or just his camera, survived he would be honored today as a pioneer in photographic journalism. Apparently it didn't, but we do have McCay's excellent, fairly realistic cartoon to look at instead.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed