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Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 1949 (UK)
Whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling trip to teach him core life values while First Mate Dan Lunceford is tasked with tutoring Jed.


Henry Hathaway


John Lee Mahin (screenplay), Sy Bartlett (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Richard Widmark ... First Mate Dan Lunceford
Lionel Barrymore ... Capt. Bering Joy
Dean Stockwell ... Jed Joy
Cecil Kellaway ... Slush Tubbs
Gene Lockhart ... Andrew L. Bush
Berry Kroeger ... Manchester
John McIntire ... Thatch
Harry Morgan ... Britton (as Henry Morgan)
Harry Davenport ... Benjamin Harris
Paul Harvey ... Capt. John Briggs
Jay C. Flippen ... Luke Sewell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ruth Donnelly ... New Bedford Neighbor (scenes deleted)
Hubert E. Flanagan Hubert E. Flanagan ... Capt. Rumley (scenes deleted)
Connie Marshall ... New Bedford Neighbor (scenes deleted)


At the end of the 19th century, Massachusetts whaling ship captain Bering Joy takes his grandson Jed on a whaling expedition.The old captain wants to teach his spoiled grandson real life values such as honesty, courage, wisdom, fairness and hard work.At the same time, First Mate Dan Lunceford is entrusted with tutoring the boy in his schoolwork.A small competition and rivalry starts when both men,Captain Joy and First Mate Lunceford, strive to become young Jed's male role model.Captain Joy may have the wisdom dictated by his life's experiences but young Jed's imagination is rather captivated by Dan Lunceford's seafaring tales. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thar She Blows! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Has no connection to Down to the Sea in Ships (1922). See more »


When asked what is the longest river in the world, Jed answers the Narragansett (not the Mississippi as noted elsewhere). This was a 19th century name for a complex of small rivers (now called the Blackstone, Seekonk, and Providence rivers) that empty into Narragansett Bay. The river system is located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Since Jed is from New Bedford, he would have been familiar with this river system and bay. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: NEW BEDFORD 1887 See more »


Referenced in The Screen Writer (1950) See more »


Arranged by Alfred Newman
See more »

User Reviews

Do you like sailing ships, whaling....?
27 July 2001 | by bigdinosaurSee all my reviews

In this film progress is overtaking the old and outdated: Captain Joy (L. Barrymore) is a stern old man set in his ways and his first mate (R. Widmark) is a modern man with modern ideas. Add to this a catalyst in the form of the Captain's grandson (Dean Stockwell) and tensions mount.

I love most sailing films and this is no exception. Good acting all around. Somewhat of a tearjerker, although that's not bad in this instance. Save the whales advocates may not care for this movie because it shows whales being taken and blubber removed to prepare oil. I wonder where they got the idea for the ship to hit an iceberg?---At least it didn't sink.

This movie may be hard to find in video format, but I've seen it aired a couple of times in the last few years.

I gave this one a 9 of 10 mostly because it was a good story with fine acting. Also the ship scenes were realistic and full of action.

A nice clean movie your whole family will enjoy even if it is in black & white.

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Release Date:

1949 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Down to the Sea in Ships See more »

Filming Locations:

Seal Beach, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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