Based on a real-life memoir, this nautical rites-of-passage story set in 1960 sees a crew of teenage boys on a school ship maturing rapidly under the hard-but-fair tutelage of 'Skipper' Sheldon (Bridges). They gain valuable lessons in character, responsibility and individual integrity as the 'Albatross' sails from the Caribbean into a ferocious hurricane that will fatefully test the mettle of all on board. Although the early sequences win no prizes for originality, Scott bathes his handsome young charges in plenty of tropical sun and draws a convincing partnership between brooding old hand Sheldon and his ship's doctor spouse (an impressively natural Goodall), which gives the material an emotional core later to prove deceptively potent. It is, however, the 'white squall' sequence that stands way above anything else in the movie, detailing with you-are-there intensity the vessel's helpless plight as she's buffeted by a series of enormous waves and the Skipper battles to keep her upright. This particular landlubber felt like jelly for the rest of the day, notwithstanding the hokey courtroom showdown that closes the picture.
Cast and crew