35 user 22 critic

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama | 2 December 1953 (USA)
1:58 | Trailer
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


The triumphant adventure of those who plunder the ocean floor for booty, for power, for love! See more »


Adventure | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Filmed in Tarpon Springs, FL. As of 2019 is it still the home of the natural sponge industry in the US, and has the highest percentage of Greek-Americans of any city in the country. 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.
See more »

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 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »


It Had to Be You
Music by Isham Jones
Played on the juke box when Tony and Gwyneth dance
See more »

User Reviews

A great movie from 20th Century Fox
26 April 2003 | by Bruce_CookSee all my reviews

I saw this film on NBC's "Saturday Night at the Movies" in the middle 1960s, and I loved it. It has a great cast, a great music score by Bernard Herrmann, and a great story.

Be sure to watch it in "letterbox", if you can. The Cinemascope composition is important to the the story -- and the stereo sound is wonderful. But you'll enjoy it in "full screen" and monaural, too, if that's the only way you can see it.

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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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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