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Crimson Tide (1995)

Crimson Tide


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 41
Rotten: 6

Critics Consensus: Boasting taut, high energy thrills and some cracking dialogue courtesy of an uncredited Quentin Tarantino, Crimson Tide finds director Tony Scott near the top of his action game.

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 12
Fresh: 11
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Boasting taut, high energy thrills and some cracking dialogue courtesy of an uncredited Quentin Tarantino, Crimson Tide finds director Tony Scott near the top of his action game.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 60,081


Movie Info

Two leaders with different philosophies about battle and leadership wage war with each other in this tense military thriller. Capt. Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) is the commanding officer of a nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Alabama. Ramsey is a distinguished veteran near the end of his career, and he leads his men with an iron hand; as he puts it, "We're here to preserve democracy, not to practice it." Ramsey is assigned a new second-in-command, Lt. Cmmdr. Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington); Hunter is … More

Drama , Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By:
Michael Schiffer , Richard P. Henrick
In Theaters:
Feb 3, 1998
Buena Vista Internationa


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Critic Reviews for Crimson Tide

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (6) | DVD (26)

This is a boy's movie all the way.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

The screenplay may be credited to Michael Schiffer, but the punchy dialogue has Quentin Tarantino written all over it. The cast has a ball.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Isn't there something awfully satisfying about the throbbing missiles and cathartic explosions that constitute this film's main excitement? Maybe so, but nothing else here delivers a comparable thrill.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Crimson Tide has everything you could want from an action thriller and a few other things you usually can't hope to expect.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Nope, this picture doesn't bear thinking about, but, if you resist that nasty temptation, setting all your mental gauges at Dead Slow, the flow of the action will see you through.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

If ever a picture crackled, Crimson Tide fits the description.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

As good a thriller as 1995 produced, keeping things as simple and direct as possible.

Full Review… | July 24, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

War Games in the water; older teens and up.

Full Review… | December 18, 2010
Common Sense Media

Tony Scott is a deft hand with these Bruckheimer/Simpson productions and provides the perfect vision for their big budget fodder.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

A big, bold Hollywood movie that won't be winning any awards for subtlety but can't be denied its popcorn appeal. [Blu-Ray review]

March 9, 2008
Groucho Reviews

I don't know what the full Naval procedure is to launch nuclear weapons, but I hope to God it's more structured and fail-safe than what we see in this film.

Full Review… | June 8, 2006
7M Pictures

A riveting, high-testosterone nail-biter.

Full Review… | May 30, 2006

...the thrills remain authentic, even though we know exactly how the plot is going to turn out.

Full Review… | May 18, 2006
Movie Metropolis

Considerably more intelligent than most of Jerry Bruckheimer's productions -- and Hackman's just awesome.

Full Review… | May 14, 2006

If this film is based on real events, we're all doomed.

November 10, 2004

Quentin Tarantino contributes some priceless dialogue, but the wearying pattern of mutinies and counter-mutinies ultimately sinks it.

October 29, 2004
Flipside Movie Emporium

Great tension between the leads.

February 25, 2004
NUVO Newsweekly

What the film lacks in slam-bang action it more than makes up for in sheer suspense.

Full Review… | January 13, 2004

It's great to see a high-tech thriller that thrills because of its actors, not its special effects.

September 25, 2003
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

The ending of the film is a bit of a letdown, but the balance of the film is both thought-provoking and suspenseful.

Full Review… | March 23, 2003
Laramie Movie Scope

Post-Cold War thriller set aboard a Trident ballistic nuclear submarine.

Full Review… | August 30, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Crimson Tide


Where would we all be without the good US of A to save the world at the drop of a hat huh. This time its the proud US Navy that gets to show us their stuff and stop those pesky Russians once again, darn pesky Russians.

A Bruckheimer/Simpson production and boy can you tell, a veritable feast for the eyes with the standard graphic novel-like adaptation imagery that looks glossy, sharp and always exciting (with the assistance of some guy called Michael Bay). All together these three guys created some memorable action flicks that really are the true meaning of blockbuster.

'Crimson Tide' is no exception, well maybe one small exception, and that's the fact this film is probably the most sensible, realistic action flick they've created. Now if you will, this is my little videogame analogy of these flicks. Most of the Bruckheimer/Simpson flicks are what I would call 'arcade' type action flicks, they're big, loud, flashy and give plenty of bang for your buck.
'Crimson Tide' is more of a 'simulator' action flick in the simple fact its more realistic with deeper tension. This of course would be down to the brilliant direction of Ba...errr Scott who knows his way around a good looking military action flick.

So in short the visuals here are crisp, smoky and sweat inducing in nice shades of green, blue and red. Life aboard a sub has been created seriously well and you really get that tight feeling as the camera peers down steel tubes and stairwells. Despite the fact almost the entire film takes place in the sub you never once lose interest as we go from action stations against Russian subs to one mutiny after another as Washington faces off against Hackman.

This of course leads me to the cast which is really superb here. Even the small fry roles played by small fry character actors are decent. The big guns naturally fire on all cylinders, Hackman is pretty intimidating as the sub Captain whilst Washington easily gains your support as the 'good guy' of sorts. Supporting roles are also solid with Gandolfini in his usual slightly nasty persona, the guy who likes to make his presence known, and Mortensen as the guy torn between his captain and friend.

Nice early build up into the film as we gather the crew and see what each are like. There isn't too much in special effects either as most of the action is simply viewing the crew and sub innards as each suspenseful situation looms, kicks off and passes. Brave move that pays off as you would expect lots of fancy CGI sequences. Finally a stirring moving bold musical score to really bring home the seriousness and heroism of the story...less you forget this is an AMERICAN military thriller damn it!!

So end of the day yes you know how it will all end, pretty obvious of course. You know which man will stand tall and victorious by the end credits. You know there will be a change of character by the loser and you know there's bound to be a scene where men get trapped in the bowels of the sub and must be sacrificed to save the rest of the crew. Many typical scenes where the crew must decide who is in charge and if they're doing it the right way, the Navy way, the American way...cue rousing musical score and close ups of sweaty stern jawed faces.

I like to think of this as Scott's grown up follow up to 'Top Gun' (had to mention it). All the hallmarks of a slick military action flick but much more sensible without 80's pop music and male posing. I saw this opening night at the cinema (ye olde 'Warner Village' cinema's) back when I was a young teen and liked it, I still like it now, what more can I say!?.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Totally entertaining naval suspense film with great cinematography and fantastic performances.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Enjoyable somewhat, "Crimson Tide" is a classic men's film combined with a beer and shouting at the screen, but it sometimes fails at times as I found myself just getting angry at the over the top gun-ho Americans.

Michael Schiffer and Richard P. Henrick provide a decent script, snatched up by studios as a box office smash, but they are let down by slightly poor direction from Tony Scott, who I would love to like but have found it hard so far.

Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman portray not very deep characters, but you find yourself egging Washington on and I found myself developing a slight grudge against Hackman, who play Executive Officer Hunter and Captain Ramsey respectively.

The man who can only be known as Tony and another as Aragon provide good performances. No one steals the show but they are among the decent cast the best.

There are interesting shots, moments which capture the fear that sub-mariners must feel in these situations, and at times a gripping storyline, but the film is let down by over the top beats and acting that does drive me to frustration at times.

Although not the best film of all time, "Tide" is a decent film, enjoyed by not only the typical man but also many others as well.

*** 3 Star

Adam Kelly
Adam Kelly

Super Reviewer

Crimson Tide is one of the best submarine films that I have seen. Along with The Hunt For Red October, Crimson Tide is one of the most solid sub films. There are a few imperfections, but man is this film entertaining. The cast here deliver strong performances, and it's simply intense to see Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington going head to head. Tony Scott knows how to deliver a wicked action film, and Crimson Tide, though flawed is action packed, filled with thrills and suspense and is basically the perfect film to thrill an audience. Crimson Tide is a top notch action film that definitely delivers the action, and is among the best action films that I have seen. Tony Scott is always able to create something action packed and entertaining, but Crimson Tide though not perfect, is among one of the best action films ever filmed. Hans Zimmer has crafted an epic film score too. Crimson Tide is a pure, entertainment film that shouldn't be dismissed. A well crafted action, Crimson Tide is one of the best action films of the 90's. A well plotted and tense war action film, Crimson Tide is a pulse pounding, thrill a minute action film. Not only that, but the acting is superb and you can forgive the films imperfection due to its good cast. A memorable film and one of Tony Scott's most accomplished directorial efforts. A film not to miss if you're a fan great action. This film delivers it all.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Crimson Tide Quotes

Capt. Frank Ramsey:
Mr. Hunter, I've made the decision. I'm captain of this ship. NOW SHUT THE F**K UP!
– Submitted by Moe J (17 months ago)
Capt. Frank Ramsey:
What'd you think, son? That I was just some crazy old coot, putting everyone in harm's way as I yelled 'YEE-HA!'?
– Submitted by Scott G (3 years ago)

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