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Hellcats of the Navy (1957)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller, War | May 1957 (USA)
2:03 | Trailer

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The daring exploits of a submarine commander whose mission is to chart the minefields in the waters of Japan during World War II.


Nathan Juran


Charles A. Lockwood (book) (as Vice-Admiral Charles A. Lockwood Vice-Admiral USN Ret.), Hans Christian Adamson (book) (as Col. Hans Christian Adamson USAF Ret.) | 3 more credits »



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Cast overview:
Ronald Reagan ... Cmdr. Casey Abbott
Nancy Reagan ... Nurse Lt. Helen Blair (as Nancy Davis)
Arthur Franz ... Lt. Cmdr. Don Landon
Robert Arthur ... Freddy Warren
William Leslie ... Lt. Paul Prentice
William 'Bill' Phillips William 'Bill' Phillips ... Carroll (as William Phillips)
Harry Lauter ... Lt. (j.g.) Wes Barton
Michael Garth Michael Garth ... Bill aka Lt. Charlie
Joe Turkel ... Chick (as Joseph Turkel)
Don Keefer ... Jug


The daring exploits of a submarine commander whose mission is to chart the minefields in the waters of Japan during World War II.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Down . . . Down . . . Down . . . into enemy waters with the fightin' hellcats of the U.S. sub pack !


Drama | Thriller | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

May 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hellcats of the Sea See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Morningside Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This movie was the first and only time that former American President and actor Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy Reagan (aka Nancy Davis) star-teamed and made a movie together. The couple however did appear frequently together in television episodes of General Electric Theater (1953). See more »


Near the beginning of the movie when the frogmen are retrieving the mine, they are all wearing light colored wetsuits. A close up of the two next to a mine are suddenly in black wetsuits, but then back to light colored in other shots. See more »

Crazy Credits

The scenes used to show the island they are attacking are from the movie "Crash Dive" See more »


Referenced in Better Call Saul: Marco (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

If Ed Wood ever made a war movie!
6 January 2007 | by vawlkeeSee all my reviews

I've seen this film a few times and it makes me cringe......And believe me I know my sub films!

Ronny is as stiff as a board throughout the film....In fact, he conveys the claustrophobic feeling of being cooped up in a fleet boat during WWII better than any other film does...He's grim and wooden...It's nigh unto impossible to build up any feelings or emotions for anyone in the cast.

Arthur Franz shines - as always, as the exec.......He's the one guy that manages to rise above the banal (make that abysmal) script and Nathan Juran's limp-wristed direction....It's kinda' like "Ed Wood does WWII".....Araggh!

You can see swipes from all over the place.....The scene with the guys swimming underwater with flaming fuel above was lifted from 1943's "Crash Dive" done by Fox!!!! Also the footage from the scene with the jap sub surfacing was actually Dana Andrew's sub from the same film! Neat huh?....Then you take the underwater scenes with the divers wearing 1950's scuba equipment(!) dealing with the japs....Looks like it too was influenced by Fox - this time from 1951's: "The Frogmen"....Ouch!

The few high points in this film stem from good location shots which appear to be off of Long Beach and Palos Verdes Penninsula aren't bad...No doubt shot on an old Gato class sub that was part of the active reserves....

Take note of the typical cheesy Columbia budget-that's all too obvious! Mischa Bakaleinikoff's (Columbia's in-house composer)hokey soundtrack sounds like sloppy seconds from Columbia's 1955 sub/sci-fi flick: "It came from Beneath the Sea".

This film might have been credible with a decent script, decent direction and decent acting.....But it isn't....

If this movie were a sub wreck, even Bob Ballard wouldn't touch it!

Try watching "Hell Below" if you want to see an outstanding sub film...They don't get much better!

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