20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997 Village Roadshow film)

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
DVD Cover
Based on Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne
Screenplay by Brian Nelson
Directed by Rod Hardy
Starring Michael Caine
Patrick Dempsey
Mia Sara
Bryan Brown
Theme music composer Mark Snow
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Dean Barnes
Cinematography James Bartle
Ron Hagen
Bruce Phillips
Editor(s) Drake Silliman
Running time 158 minutes
Distributor Village Roadshow Pictures
Original network ABC
Original release May 11, 1997 -
May 12, 1997

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a 1997 two-part television miniseries[1] produced by Village Roadshow Pictures, based on the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. It was written by Brian Nelson and directed by Rod Hardy.


The Nautilus has been sinking and damaging ships and is at first thought to be a giant narwhal.

Pierre Aronnax and Ned Land and Cabe Attucks fall off the USS Abraham Lincoln and are picked up by the Nautilus.

Pierre Aronnax's father Thierry Aronnax is with the US naval party.

Nemo is setting up an underwater domed city under the Atlantic south of West Africa. To avoid earthquake risks to it, he is first setting up a network of underwater explosives to release all Earth's geotectonic tensions at once and thus ensure that no more build up for a long while. During this a Chinese-looking pearl diving girl accidentally activates one of these devices and the Nautilus rescues her in time.

Nemo has a daughter called Mara.

The US Navy finds where Nemo's base is by a concentrated area of sightings of the Nautilus. The USS Abraham Lincoln sails to the place.

At the site, damage caused by Ned Land, and torpedoes fired downwards by the Abraham Lincoln, force the Nautilus to surface. The Nautilus's crew come out on deck and are summarily machine-gunned by the Abraham Lincoln's deck-mounted Gatling guns. Mara and some others escape in one of the Nautilus's diving bells. Pierre Aronnax and Ned Land and Cabe Attucks get on board the Abraham Lincoln. A US naval man boards the Nautilus and shoots Nemo and another survivor on sight. Nemo, before dying, activates a switch which makes the Nautilus explode.

Pierre Aronnax's account of these events finds its way to Jules Verne, who uses it as a basis for his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.


Differences from the Novel[edit]

The Nautilus gets its power by extracting the sun's heat from the sea water: this is impossible technology, and the movie wrongly calls it hydroelectricity.


DVD Verdict wrote the miniseries "comes off as incomplete", but praised Michael Caine's performance as Captain Nemo.[2] David Cornelius of DVD Talk called the adaptation "dreadfully dull", disapproving of director Hardy's and screenwriter Nelson's work.[1]


  1. ^ a b Cornelius, David (April 25, 2006). "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". DVD Talk. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ McEntire, Mac (May 24, 2006). "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1997)". DVD Verdict. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 

External links[edit]