* A really good miniseries put out by the BBC is To The Ends Of The Earth, in which Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) is a young British aristocrat taking passage to Australia, finding himself and the value of people in lower stations than himself along the way; set during the 1810s. I really found myself captivated by this trilogy and scooped up a copy for myself… But I suspect you might find it on Netflix.
* How can you not have seen Master and Commander? As one of the many devoted fans to Patrick O’Brian’s twenty-one books, I cringed at painfully obvious and (in my opinion) poor choices in changing the characters and storyline for the sake of making a single, epic film… But that is the common cry of book fans versus movie fans. In truth, taken on its own merits, I find this film to be among the very best examples of a film covering life at sea on a man-o-war. It is the first example I give to people when I explain my research and I wish to give them something to see and relate to. If you have a love of the stories we sing of or of history at sea, this is a movie that must grace your DVD shelf.
* An excellent evening’s entertainment is the 1956 version of Moby Dick, with Gregory Peck as the driven Captain Ahab. It has several scenes of sea music being used appropriately, and while I courteously disagree with the comment by the man who posted this video below about chanties not being fully developed by the time of story of the book and movie, it is a fine sampler.
* A classic is the Spencer Tracy version of Captains Courageous… Rudyard Kipling’s story about a spoiled and entitled boy being sent on a cruise but ending up in the drink and picked up by a fishing schooner. A deck hand Manuel (played by Spencer) befriends the little brat and teaches him some life’s lessons. One of those heart-tuggers that even men secretly love, like Ol’ Yeller…