Best of all, to me, is the inevitable scene where everyone goes silent while nervously gazing upward as they await the depth charges that will almost certainly come. I can't help stifling a laugh when that scene finally makes it onscreen. Not because it's funny in itself, but because it's almost always done the same way in every movie, and I admit that I love the familiarity of it. Just as an example, here it is in U-571:
Another favorite scene for me is the somewhat less common, but still pretty recurrent, maneuvering blind scene. In this one, the crew has to trust their charts and instruments, and, often enough, the instincts of their skipper, to avoid crashing into something - a submarine net, a submerged mountain, the ocean floor. You get the idea. My absolute favorite of these scenes comes from one of my very favorite movies, The Hunt for Red October:
So what does any of this have to do with anything, besides me bloviating here on my blog about random stuff? Only this: in many ways, it seems to me that submarine movies are a lot like the way we maneuver through our lives. The analogy that often leaps to mind is that we live life while facing backwards down the path, only able to see and analyze everything in retrospect. But I'm starting to think it's more like piloting a submarine. We may not be able to directly see what is in store for us, but we can use all of our senses, all of our past experiences, all of the knowledge we've managed to glean from others, and our own instinctual sonar to get a pretty decent idea of what surrounds us. We're never perfect, of course, and we may blunder and scrape bottom or be caught flat-footed by depth-charges we didn't expect and can't predict, but we do have some idea of how to keep moving ahead, carefully navigating the treacherous canyons and peaks that loom in the murky dark around us.