Fierce competition among sponge fishermen forces a Greek-American family to fish in the dangerous 12-mile reef area off the western coast of Florida.


Robert D. Webb


A.I. Bezzerides
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Robert Wagner ... Tony Petrakis
Terry Moore ... Gwyneth Rhys
Gilbert Roland ... Mike Petrakis
J. Carrol Naish ... Socrates 'Soc' Houlis
Richard Boone ... Thomas Rhys
Angela Clarke ... Mama Petrakis
Peter Graves ... Arnold Dix
Jay Novello ... Sinan
Jacques Aubuchon ... Demetrios Sofotes
Gloria Gordon ... Penny Petrakis
Harry Carey Jr. ... Griff Rhys


Mike and Tony Petrakis are a Greek father and son team who dive for sponges off the coast of Florida. After they are robbed by crooks, Arnold and the Rhys brothers, Mike decides to take his men to the dangerous 12-mile reef to dive for more sponges. Mike suffers a fatal accident when he falls from the reef leaving Tony to carry on the business. But now he has a companion, Gwyneth Rhys. Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...with all the wonders of true and complete Stereophonic Sound! See more »


Adventure | Drama


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Did You Know?


Famous puppeteer Jack Shafton made the miniature figures used in underwater sequences. See more »


Sponges are harvested (at least in Florida) on the protected West Coast (as in Tarpon Springs) where this movie was shot. See more »


Tony Petrakis: [to Gwyneth Rhys] Hey, you want to know what my real name is? Adonis. My mother named me after a Greek god. I'm a beautiful young man.
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Alternate Versions

The Platinum DVD release cuts the nighttime fight at around the one-hour mark shorter. Most noticeably some dialogue ("Better be not here tomorrow morning, do you hear? You'd better clear out!") has been omitted. See more »


Featured in A Century of Cinema (1994) See more »


It Had to Be You
Music by Isham Jones
Played on the juke box when Tony and Gwyneth dance
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User Reviews

nice since my father was the stunt man
8 July 2007 | by skarakos0See all my reviews

it was nice to find out the stunt man in the water was my father nick karakos of tarpin springs Florida. it was nice to notice some of the buildings in the movie was at tarpin springs when i was 17 years old. i did notice that in the movie the word tarpin was mention 2x and every time the diver would go into the water a notation of word (Greek) was stated. when i visit my father back when i was 17 years old they would call him Greek. it was a nice movie to watch and i had a understanding of the plot. you can tell they showed some of the Greek life that was made living down in Florida. i don,t know if they still have the sponge diver boat they would give people tours and show how they would pull up spouges. overall i would give this movie a 6.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Greek

Release Date:

2 December 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef See more »

Filming Locations:

Nassau, Bahamas See more »


Box Office


$1,560,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
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