The Ship That Died of Shame


Directed By

Basil Dearden


Produced by the great Ealing Studios and written and directed by Ealing stalwart Basil Dearden (The Gentle Gunman, The Green Man), this lesser-seen gem is a notable example of a grittier side to the studio’s output and a welcome antidote to the flag-waving patriotic post-war films like The Dam Busters and In Which We Serve that were so prolific at the time. 

Based on a short story by Nicholas Monsarrat (‘The Cruel Sea’) and starring Richard Attenborough (Brighton Rock, The Angry Silence), George Baker (I Claudius, DCI Wrexford in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries), Bill Owen (Georgy girl, Last of the Summer Wine) and Roland Culver (To Each His Own, The Teckman Mystery), The Ship That Died of Shame is a rare document of a bewildered British masculinity in the post-war years.

The ‘1087’ is a British Royal Navy boat that navigates its crew through the worst that World War II can throw at them. With war over, George Hoskins (Richard Attenborough) convinces former skipper Bill Randall (George Baker) and Birdie (Bill Owen) to buy their old boat and use it for what he persuades them is some ‘harmless’ smuggling to supply the black market. 

Soon, however, the crew find themselves mixed up with the corrupt Major Fordyce (Roland Culver) who leads them to transport ever-more sinister cargoes, including counterfeit currency and weapons. As the jobs become more nefarious, the once robust and reliable 1087 begins to protest and frequently breaks down, seemingly mirroring the crew’s descent into the criminal underworld…

In the course of a career that spanned 60 years, Richard Attenborough (29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014) was a prolific actor, director and producer. The winner of two Academy Awards, four BAFTAs and four Golden Globe Awards, Attenborough was also recipient of the 1983 BAFTA Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement.

Richard Attenborough, George Baker, Bill Owen, Virginia McKenna, Roland Culver, Bernard Lee, Ralph Truman, John Chandos, Harold Goodwin, John Longden
Release Date
11 September 2023
  • New Interview with Author/Professor of Film Neil Sinyard
  • Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery
Restoration Details

For the 2023 restoration of The Ship That Died of Shame, STUDIOCANAL went back to the original camera negative which was scanned and restored in 4K to produce a brand new master


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Related Titles

Guy Hamilton1954
Michael Winner1963
Richard Lester1973
Charles Crichton1953
Herbert Wilcox1950
Basil Dearden1947

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