Gray Lady Down is a 1978 disaster film by Universal Studios starring Charlton Heston, David Carradine, Stacy Keach, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, and is the feature film debut of Christopher Reeve. It is based on David Lavallee's book Event 1000.
An aging, respected commander Paul Blanchard, played by Charlton Heston, is on his final submarine tour before promotion to command of a submarine squadron (COMSUBRON). Surfaced and returning to port, the submarine USS Neptune, is struck by a freighter in heavy fog, and sinks to a depth of 1,450 feet (442 meters) on a canyon ledge above the ocean floor. A United States Navy rescue force, commanded by Captain Bennett (Stacy Keach), arrives on the scene, but Neptune is subsequently rolled by a landslide to a greater angle that does not allow the Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) rescue submarine to complete its work.
A small experimental submersible, Snark, is brought in to assist with the rescue. Snark is very capable, but run by a nonconformist U.S. Navy officer misfit, Captain Gates (David Carradine). The tiny submersible is the only hope for a rescue.
Ronny Cox plays Neptune's executive officer, scheduled to take over command from Charlton Heston's character; Ned Beatty plays Snark's second crewman; and Christopher Reeve appears in his first film role.
In the opening credits, footage of the real-life submarine USS Trout (SS-566), filmed specifically for Gray Lady Down, depicts the fictional USS Neptune. Gray Lady Down also re-used submarine special-effect footage and the large-scale submarine model originally used to portray the fictional submarine USS Tigerfish in the 1968 movie Ice Station Zebra to depict USSNeptune.
- Charlton Heston as Captain Paul Blanchard
- David Carradine as Captain Gates
- Stacy Keach as Captain Bennett
- Ned Beatty as Mickey
- Stephen McHattie as Murphy
- Ronny Cox as Commander Samuelson
- Dorian Harewood as Fowler
- Rosemary Forsyth as Vickie
- Hilly Hicks as Page
- Charles Cioffi as Admiral Barnes
- Michael O'Keefe as Harris
- Charles Robinson as McAllister
- Christopher Reeve as Phillips
- Melendy Britt as Liz
- David Wilson as Hanson
- Robert Symonds as Secretary Of Navy