Jules Verne’s classic adventure story 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has been captured on film before (in 1907 and 1916) and since (an animated version in 1973 and for TV in 1997 and 2002), but this Disney version is perhaps the most entertaining, featuring a cast that includes Kirk Douglas, James Mason and Peter Lorre.
A professor (Paul Lukas) is determined to discover whether a rumoured sea monster that attacks boats really exists, but when his own ship sinks, he, harpoon master Ned Land (Douglas) and Conseil (Lorre) discover the supposed monster is actually an atomic submarine called the Nautilus, captained by the brilliant but megalomaniac Nemo (Mason).
There’s lots of macho posturing from Douglas, a deliciously bonkers performance from Mason and some very impressive sets depicting the Nautilus (the film won Oscars for Art Direction and Special Effects), but kids and grown-ups alike will get most enjoyment out of the classic battle with a giant squid that’s not to be missed.
Is 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Little viewers may be scared by the giant squid attack.
Two of the men are chased by cannibals which is quite tense.