Gray Lady Down

6.21 h 50 min1977PG
A run-in with a wayward freighter leaves a manned nuclear submarine crippled and precariously perched on a sea shelf. Now the race against time is on to rescue the trapped sailors as oxygen runs out and the vessel teeters close to destruction in this gripping thriller.
David Greene
Charlton HestonDavid CarradineStacy Keach
English [CC]
Audio languages
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
Add to Watchlist
Add to
By ordering or viewing, you agree to our Terms. Sold by Services LLC.
Write review

More details

Supporting actors
Ned BeattyChristopher ReeveRonny Cox
Walter Mirisch
Universal Pictures
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.5 out of 5 stars

844 global ratings

  1. 69% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 18% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
Sorted by:

Top reviews from the United States

J. C. BednarReviewed in the United States on July 3, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Finally seen in its entirety!!
Verified purchase
I remember when this movie came out in the 1970s. I pestered my mother to go see this at the local drive-in theatre. Well, that night it stormed so hard that the drive-in theatre was flooded out; the movie was canceled; and we had to call a tow truck to rescue us for the flood water reached above the wheels, thus flooding the engine.

She felt bad about that, so she took me to a regular movie theatre an hours drive from home. Well, in those days the theatres required a certain amount of people in order to show a movie. Not enough people and movie canceled. on HBO right??? Nope. Seemed like ever time that it came on HBO back in those days, there would be a power outage. Well, throughout the years, when able to catch on TV, would always catch it in the middle or near end. Going through the Amazon movie listing in these modern times, saw this movie and just had to watch it. guess I was never meant to see this movie.

Yep - what with my past history trying to view this movie, was actually expecting SOMETHING to happen. Nothing happened so FINALLY got to see this movie in its entirety.

Basic story line is that a US submarine collides with a Norwegian freighter and sinks to the bottom of the Atlantic. There is a desperate rescue mission to try to rescue the survivors before they run out of air or an underwater earthquake buries the sub. Also, I remember the main reason why I wanted to see this movie so bad as a kid: this was the very 1st film ever to show the DSRV (Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle) for the movie was promoting this new technology for the US Navy as well. Would have liked to seen more of the interior of the DSRV but, since it was brand new to the Navy at the time, do not see that much for security reasons.

Movie was a bit slow in some spots, but held my attention. The real star was the DSRV. Some good acting by everyone I thought. Some "staged" acting for when the sub started sinking, you can actually see the "damaged" parts set to fall apart once someone bumped into the sets (just a minor observation).

Overall, a good movie, even after all these years. Now I can rest easily for I have seen this movie and nothing has happened - yet. Watched movie via the Amazon video selection.
9 people found this helpful
R. S. KernReviewed in the United States on February 28, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Verified purchase
A surprise to me, as I had seen this at a drivein when it did not hold my attention very well. This time it did, in a fun and entertaining way. Heston as a sub boat captain is something that does not disappoint,with Heston adding humorous touches you don't often see in his characters. He's sophisticated in this, clever, and you see him holding in the tension as things go south in a hurry. Nothing like Heston when he's likable all the way through, in command and confidently getting his sailors out of trouble. The supportung cast was good too, with unusually entertaining turns from David Carridine as a rescue sub captain and his XO a fine character performance from Ned Beatty. My wife said this is one of Hestons Better ones we like them all - and if it hadn'nt been for the early, iffy underwater special effects of the sub itself. The effects are not bad, but would benefit from a modern wire removal process. But thats just me being picky, the majority of shots are fine -- in particular the giant underwater canyon they are caught in. If you like Charlton Heston movies and haven't seen this one you should.
One person found this helpful
Robert I. HedgesReviewed in the United States on May 10, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Well-Acted And Directed Nautical Nightmare
Verified purchase
"Gray Lady Down" is a 1978 submarine saga from director David Greene. Greene got superb performances out of his all-star cast, fronted by Charlton Heston as Captain Paul Blanchard, skipper of the USS Neptune. While fictional, the tale is riveting and suspenseful, and brings to mind the tragic sinking of the Russian Navy's Kursk in 2000. The narrative gets underway after a collision with a Norwegian freighter (with an inoperative radar) in fog. Neptune sinks onto a seismically active ledge and Captain Bennett (an excellent Stacy Keach) is put in charge of the rescue. Blanchard and Bennett are obviously old friends and Bennett is resolved to use all tools at his disposal to rescue the crew. Help arrives in the form of the Snark, a small two man submarine designed and piloted by Captain Gates (a better than usual David Carradine) with help from Ned Beatty, his assistant.

The sole reason I didn't give the film five stars is there is a bit of an overdramatic flair from some of the secondary stars, most notably Ronny Cox as Commander Dave Samuelson who is due to take command of the sub, but who, after the collision, sulks and pontificates against Blanchard. While I understand that using this conflict amped up the tension in the movie, it seemed wholly out of place, particularly given the apparent closeness of the pair immediately before the sinking. Ultimately Samuelson redeems himself in a big way, and if you're a student of foreshadowing, you'll guess that Gates is going to get tapped as a big hero as well given his election to dive alone at the conclusion. While there is a bit of the overly dramatic at times, the film is extremely well made with good (great for 1978) special effects and excellent editing and musical score adding to the palpable tension in the submarine.

"Gray Lady Down" is a classic of the era, filmed in cooperation with the US Navy, and boasting an extremely talented cast giving excellent performances under the restrained, professional eye of David Greene. I recommend it without reservation.
10 people found this helpful
Jeffrey T. MunsonReviewed in the United States on January 7, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars
An Undersea Adventure
Verified purchase
Charlton Heston stars in this exciting film about an American nuclear submarine which is disabled in a collision with another ship.

Heston stars as Capt. Paul Blanchard, commander of the submarine USS Neptune. Blanchard is retiring and has just turned command of the boat over to Commander Dave Samuelson (Ronny Cox). The ship is making its way back to port in very foggy conditions when suddenly, a Norwegian freighter slams into the sub. The freighter had lost its radar and could not see the sub. Immediately, the sub begins to sink, finally coming to rest 1,450 feet below the surface of the sea and perched precariously on an underwater ledge.

The Norwegians managed to notify the Navy about the accident and soon, Captain Al Bennett (Stacy Keach), along with the Navy's DSRV recovery sub is racing to the scene of the collision. Also included in the rescue effort is Captain Gates (David Carradine), the pilot of an experimental submersible called the Snark; a tiny two-man sub which can be used for various tasks. Gates' job is to clear debris off the deck of the Neptune so the DSRV can dock with the Neptune's escape hatch.

Meanwhile, the Neptune has been enduring several undersea earth slides which threaten to push the sub off the shelf its resting on and into a deep undersea canyon. Blanchard does his best to keep the morale of his crew up, but its become a race against time as the sub begins to lose oxygen and more compartments are flooded by the seawater. Several tricks, including an underwater detonation of explosives, are tried to correct the sub's angle so the DSRV can successfully dock with the Neptune's escape hatch. Finally, the DSRV is able to dock with the Neptune and the task of transporting the surviving crew members to the surface begins. However, the sub begins to slip off its ledge before the rescue can be completed. Will the remaining crew be rescued, or will they slide off the ledge and into the canyon with the Neptune?

This is an excellent film. Made during the height of the Cold War, this film shows what could happen if an American submarine were to sink in a deep part of the ocean. The DSRV has since become the main rescue vehicle for American subs. The film's story is very good, and the acting, especially by Keach, Heston, and Carradine, is first-rate.

I give this movie my highest recommendation. The story is believable and the action is non-stop. Fans of Naval history and action films will be sure to enjoy this exciting movie.
5 people found this helpful
Barry MckeeReviewed in the United States on August 1, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Good film
Verified purchase
Good movie. Entertaining and a great cast. Christopher Reeve's first movie role. If he was doing his 2nd movie role (Superman) This movie would have been over in 10 minutes.
One person found this helpful
Paul UReviewed in the United States on November 16, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Very Enjoyable Blu-Ray
Verified purchase
The Blu-Ray looks and sounds great. The movie is quite good and has a fair amount of suspense.

The cast is top-notch with Charlton Heston, Stacey Keach, Ned Beatty & David Carradine. Highly Recommended.
SnozberryReviewed in the United States on April 1, 2010
3.0 out of 5 stars
Chuck Heston and the Silent Service
Verified purchase
A grizzled submarine captain (Heston) making his last run as commander of the U.S.S. Neptune is thrust into crisis mode when his nuclear submarine collides with a Norweigen freighter that sends this gray lady down 1450 feet below the surface. The only hope for the crew of the Neptune is an eccentric inventor (David Carradine) who attempts to navigate his Snark to the Neptune's blocked escape hatch. But time is running out.

A modest thriller that respects its genre and delivers on its premise, but does not distinguish itself. If you are a fan of Heston and underwater adventure films, and you prefer miniatures and (admittedly crude) stock footage to computer generated effects, this should hold your interest. It does feel like something from 1950's television rather than 1970's cinema and offers little in the way of surprise, but it's competent. Not surpisingly, it was helmed by a television director named David Greene ("Roots" "Rich Man, Poor Man") who doesn't quite have the feel for this material. It's no Das Boot, but it's pretty good.
3 people found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United States on September 20, 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
Verified purchase
I have seen this film 28 years ago in the cinema, when I was ten years old. I liked it. But I was not that mature enough to understand the real content of this film. Finally thanks to, I bought the film and my perspective was at large. The collision of Neptune brought down the submarine crew to a doomed fate. Sinking below and imprisoning the crew in the belly of the sub in an underwater sea canyon that had rubble heaps running down over the sub. The despair and continous anguish were those prominent features which appealed to my empathy. What captivated me was the caption relationship towards his crew In this movie the skipper ( Charlton Heston) kept great self-control in such state and the compassion that was embodied in the actor's features was strong in him. The heartbreaking moment in the character of the skipper was most significant when two men of the crew sacrificed their lifes to save his and others. Another heroic feature of this film is when caption Gates sacrifices his life with his little sub, to prevent the Neptune from sliding down from the high bank of the canyon into complete oblivion.
One person found this helpful
See all reviews