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Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)


Mike and Tony Petrakis (Robert Wagner) are a Greek father and son team who dive for sponges off the coast of Florida. When they are robbed Mike decides to take his crew to the dangerous 12 mile reef. When Mike has fatal accident Tony partners with Gwyneth Rhys (Terry Moore), the daughter of their rival. Mystic Nights Videos

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef is a 1953 American adventure film directed by Robert D. Webb. The screenplay by A. I. Bezzerides was inspired by Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The film was the third motion picture made in CinemaScope, coming after The Robe (film) and How to Marry a Millionaire.


Mike and Tony Petrakis are Greek American father and son sponge diving entrepreneurs who find themselves in competition with the Rhys family, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant fishermen who are prepared to resort to violence and even murder to maintain their established fishing grounds off the Gulf Coast of the United States of Florida. Run-ins between the two clans lead to an exchange of threats and all-out brawls. Further complications ensue when Tony Petrakis meets Gwyneth Rhys, and the two fall in love.


The film was shot on location in Key West and Tarpon Springs, Florida.< name=NYT></>


  • Robert Wagner as Tony Petrakis
  • Terry Moore (actress) as Gwyneth Rhys
  • Gilbert Roland as Mike Petrakis
  • J. Carrol Naish as Socrates Houlis
  • Richard Boone as Thomas Rhys
  • Angela Clarke as Mama Petrakis
  • Peter Graves as Arnold Dix
  • Jay Novello as Sinan
  • Jacques Aubuchon as Demetrios Sofotes
  • Gloria Gordon as Penny Petrakis
  • Harry Carey, Jr. as Griff Rhys
  • Rev. Theophilus Karaphillis as Greek Priest at Epiphany

Critical reception

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times observed, "Another and further extension of the range of CinemaScope ... is handsomely manifested in Beneath the 12-Mile Reef ... But that, when you come right down to it, is just about the only novelty provided by this third employment of the Anamorphic format. For the scenes shot above the surface, while large and imposing, are routine, and the drama developed in the screen play is hackneyed and banal. And, unfortunately, most of the picture takes place above, not below, the reef ... There is nothing at all fascinating or edifying here."

Awards and nominations

Edward Cronjager was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and Robert D. Webb was nominated for the Grand Prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival.< name=""></>

Category:1953 films
Category:American films
Category:1950s romantic drama films
Category:1950s adventure films
Category:Films based on Romeo and Juliet
Category:Modern adaptations of works by William Shakespeare
Category:Films set in Florida
Category:20th Century Fox films
Category:Films directed by Robert D. Webb
Category:Film scores by Bernard Herrmann
Category:Films shot in Florida
Category:Seafaring films
Category:Sponge diving
Category:Underwater action films

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