Until recently the problem with making Naval films was that the ships were not available and later substitutes ( as used in Battle of the River Plate ) looked "wrong"
Models rarely looked completely convincing ( I think Tora Tora Tora is a superb exception to that )
While "mocked up" ships tended to leave you wincing ( I think of the old USN Tug , got up to be a German destroyer , at the end of that excellent film -- I forget the name -- which showed how the Americans captured the enigma machine )
However , computer animation and generated images proceed by leaps and bounds , and I am regularly astonished at how good and realistic they are , when done well in films .
I would like to see some naval war novels made into films now ;-
Firstly Alistair Maclean's book " HMS Ulysses " , possibly the best fictional account of the Russia convoys ,
In which a Black Prince type ( Dido ) Light cruiser with a battle-fatigued crew is sent out as escort flagship for a convoy to Murmansk which undergoes unremitting attrition from every hazard imaginable while trying to bait the Tirpitz to come out and attack it , during the run up to D day .
Although many of his later books are pretty formulaic thrillers , often appearing to have been written as virtually straight commercial screenplays , this one is from his earlier , and I think better , period .
"The Guns of Navarone " is one which everyone will know as the film with Greg Peck / David Niven .
Another one of his you could make into a film would be " South by Java Head " , in which a big tanker flees fallen Singapore in 1942 with many extra escaping passengers on board , well worth a read if you havent yet .
Secondly C.S.Forester's book " The Ship " , which uses a fictionalised account of the Battle of Sirte to meet the forty or so of the crew of the Arethusa class light cruiser " HMS Artemis " through the course of the battle to get a convoy through to Malta from Alexandria .
C.S.F. actually visited the real life HMS Penelope during the Mediterranean Sea war , so the book is written from life .
You will all know this author as the source of the Horatio Hornblower books , some of which were made into another Greg Peck film , but his other stuff is well worth a read too , in particular "The Good Shepherd " in which a USN Commander , captain of a Mahan class destroyer ( and escort commander ) with just one other destroyer and two corvettes has to get an Atlantic convoy east through a wolf pack , in the course of which he spends nearly three days on the bridge . One of the few books I have ever read where someone actually goes to the loo in it ! That probably WOULDN'T make a good film because a lot of the book is set during the long nights and in dirty weather .
You will remember "The African Queen" with Humphrey Bogart / Kate Hepburn ; - originally one of his books . Another good one about the First World War at sea is "Brown on Resolution" . A fictional additional cruiser is detached from Maximilian Graf Spee's squadron to raid the American coasts of the Pacific . She encounters a weaker British light cruiser , sinks her in short order , and pulls one survivor from the water . She has sustained one hit during the action which requires a difficult and complicated repair , so they head for one of the uninhabited Galapagos islands to do this work . While they are there , the survivor they picked up escapes , taking a rifle with him . Go read and enjoy .
Thirdly , some of Douglas Reeman's books . Again , some of the later works got formulaic in regard to the main plot , but I do like "The Pride and the Anguish" which is about "China" gunboats operating along the coast of Malaya during the 1942 campaign which ended with the surrender at Singapore .
Lastly , I would like to see a film telling the story of Operation "Pedestal" , the famous Malta convoy ,( known there as the "Santa Maria"convoy ) , with the tanker Ohio and her captain Dudley Mason . Perfect for an extended action film , with a true " Hollywood " ending .
The trouble is , you will see the trailer and hear that guy with the deep Gravel voice say the words " ...... And DANNY DE VITO IS ......... " and just know It'll be another load of old Cac ! Oh well , can but dream I suppose .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."