A passenger ship, on her way to the scrap yard is pushed to her limits by the new owners to save on the dismantling fees. A tidal wave hits her, flipping her over so that all the internal rooms are upside down. A priest takes a mixed band of survivors on a journey through the bowels of the ship in an attempt to survive.
Based on a Paul Gallico novel and directed by British stalwart Ronald Neame, this was the film that launched (as it were) the 1970s disaster cycle. There's enormous post-pub enjoyment to be had from watching preacher Gene Hackman leading the survivors up a Christmas tree and Shelley Winters swimming bravely underwater.
Rob Cohen clearly took lots of notes before making Daylight. Obviously bags of money were thrown at this picture (most of it probably to coax in the stars) and the Oscar-winning effects have dated, but the all-star cast's battle with some risible dialogue is as compelling as the escape bid.
Could've gone down with the ship but a great cast resues it.