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The Atomic Submarine (1959)

Not Rated | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | 29 November 1959 (USA)
Ships mysteriously disappear on route across the Arctic Sea, and a specially-equipped submarine is sent to investigate.


Spencer Gordon Bennet (as Spencer G. Bennet)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Franz ... Lt. Cmdr. Richard 'Reef' Holloway
Dick Foran ... Cmdr. Dan Wendover
Brett Halsey ... Dr. Carl Neilson Jr.
Tom Conway ... Sir Ian Hunt
Paul Dubov ... Lt. David Milburn
Bob Steele ... CPO 'Grif' Griffin
Victor Varconi ... Dr. Clifford Kent
Joi Lansing ... Julie
Selmer Jackson ... Adm. Terhune
Jack Mulhall ... Justin Murdock
Jean Moorhead Jean Moorhead ... Helen Milburn
Richard Tyler Richard Tyler ... Frogman Carney
Kenneth Becker Kenneth Becker ... Frogman Powell (as Ken Becker)
Sid Melton ... Yeoman Chester Tuttle
Frank Watkins ... Watkins


In the far and distant future of 1968, many ships and planes are crossing the North pole to transport passengers and cargo. However lately more than eight ships and seven submarines have vanished mysteriously. The Tigershark is sent out to investigate their whereabouts and - if possible - remove the cause of their disappearance. But the life form Commander Vandover and his crew encounter may be too powerful even for their weapons of newest technology... Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"Our fleet of atomic submarines has disappeared!" See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Producer Alex Gordon wanted to hire veterans Frank Lackteen and Edmund Cobb as passersby. The studio objected to the $100 salary for each, contending that they were functioning as extras and were only entitled to $20. Wanting these old-time actors to get a day's pay, Gordon paid them out of his own pocket. See more »


At minute 44:20 when the Skipper tells Reef to make all engines full stop, the model being used in the underwater scenes has the propellers running in forward, rather than reverse as previously ordered, to extract the Tiger Shark from the saucer. See more »


Voice of Spaceman: At last Commander, we meet as your people say... face to face!
Cmdr. Richard 'Reef' Holloway: That's a face?
See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'A' rating. See more »


Referenced in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: The Sky Is Falling (1964) See more »

User Reviews

The Nautilus Saves The Day
24 March 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Five years after the Nautilus the first atomic powered submarine made its debut, the nuclear submarine was still a unique enough weapon of war that films could be made about them. Such was this low budget science fiction thriller entitled simply The Atomic Submarine that came from Allied Artists.

Dick Foran is the skipper of the USS Tigerfish and he's been given a heavy duty assignment by the Chief of Naval Operations, Selmar Jackson. Something's been destroying all shipping in the Arctic Sea causing untold damage. The whole crew has been brought aboard, all leaves canceled.

The Executive Officer, Arthur Franz, has a heavy duty date with Joi Lansing so you can imagine it didn't put him in the best of moods. Especially when an old rival, Brett Halsey, is also assigned to the submarine. These two have an artificially scripted conflict which I'm still at a loss to understand. I guess the producers felt they needed something to occupy the time before we found out who's sinking the polar shipping of earth.

Of course it's a particularly nasty alien creature and it's a flying saucer that goes underwater that's doing the job. What he's on earth for and how they deal with it you'll have to see The Atomic Submarine.

Remember at the time The Atomic Submarine was considered the cutting edge of technology. Now practically our whole fleet is nuclear powered so it's not as big a deal as in 1959. The film is set in the futuristic date of 1968 and that's interesting to see what the film's creators take of the near future would be.

Also remember that this is Allied Artists which used to be Monogram Pictures. No great original special effects here just decently edited clips from other submarine and science fiction films.

The Atomic Submarine is a decent enough B film and I'm sure it was big hit with the kiddie trade back in the day.

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Release Date:

29 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Atomic Sub See more »


Box Office


$135,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gorham Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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