''Down Periscope'' is a 1996 comedy movie starring Creator/KelseyGrammer as Lieutenant Commander Thomas Dodge USN, Executive Officer of the ''Los Angeles''-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine USS ''Orlando''. Though considered by many to be a talented officer, he has been denied command of his own submarine twice for his... [[MilitaryMaverick cavalier command style]]. A third denial will forever bar him from commanding a submarine.

But Vice Admiral Winslow has a feeling that summarily dismissing an officer like Dodge would be a bad thing, and has come up with a method of proving it -- a war game which pits USS ''Stingray'', one of the last remaining diesel submarines still owned by the US Navy (and long since forgotten in the Mothball Fleet at that), against the East Coast nuclear navy. Dodge's assignment -- simulate a terrorist strike against Charleston and Norfolk.

However, his opponent, Rear Admiral Graham, doesn't think the Navy needs irrepressible screwups like Dodge, and is willing to [[TheNeidermeyer stretch the rules to the breaking point]] to prove it -- starting by giving said screwup [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits the crew he believes such a screwup deserves]] -- ultimately a mistake that will make a laughing stock of the U.S. nuclear navy, as Admiral Winslow has explicitly ordered Dodge to "think like a pirate" to show that most of the world doesn't play by the book, and that's exactly what Dodge is going to do.

Notably Lt. Emily Lake (Lauren Holly) is supposed to be the first female submarine crew member in the history of the United States Navy. She is a Diving Officer.

The film is a parody of ''Up Periscope'' and other films in the submarine-film genre.
!!Examples of:

* AccidentalInnuendo: InUniverse, Dodge's speech introducing Diving Officer Lake to the rest of the crew has some of these, much to his embarrassment and their amusement.
* AccidentalMisnaming: Nitro can never get Admiral Graham's name right.
* TheAllegedCar: USS ''Stingray'', a ''Balao''-class fleet submarine, was the fastest, quietest, deadliest, most advanced weapon under the sea in her prime... which was in [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece 1943]]. She was considered obsolete by the late 50s, has been rusting on Red Lead Row since 1965, and didn't even get the GUPPY-II upgrade like many of her sisters. She was chosen to be the aggressor for the war game ''because'' of her obsolete, decrepit nature.
** A submarine without the GUPPY upgrades or any of the things a modern diesel submarine has is damn near impossible to find when it goes silent and a WWII-era submarine can go silent for 2-3 days.
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary: There's plenty of stuff that has those actually familiar with the RealLife US Navy's Submarine Service laughing not only at the intentional comedy that's a surprisingly accurate reflection of submariners, but the unintentional variety as well. While some of the inaccuracies are due to writer ignorance, and some are due to RuleOfCool or convenience to the plot, some of the issues surrounding USS ''Orlando'' can be chalked up to the film production staff not having access to classified USN information.
* TheBadGuyWins: InUniverse, the ''Stingray'' and her crew are the opposing force of the war game and they succeed in infiltrating Charleston harbor and sinking the dummy warship. On the other hand, Admiral Winslow considers it a good thing, since something like that happening in a war game is ''far'' better than an actual terrorist attack. And now the Navy knows one way it could happen and can act accordingly.
* BehindTheBlack: When Pascal is walking the plank, Lt. Lake doesn't seem to notice Pascal is going to fall safely into a fishing net until he actually does so.
* BigGood: Vice Admiral Winslow sees potential in Dodge and arranged the war game to give the Lieutenant Commander once last shot at commanding his own submarine. He's also determined to figure out if it's possible for a rogue obsolete sub to seriously threaten the mighty US Navy, unlike the rest of the brass, who automatically dismiss the notion as ridiculous. [[spoiler:He's proven right]].
* BlunderCorrectingImpulse: While the submarine is [[spoiler:passing between the propellers of a larger ship]] Dodge has to remind Lake that ''he does not have dive officer training'' and '''desperately''' needs her to get over her crisis of ability and back behind the wheel.
-->'''Dodge''': ''You're the only one who can, Lake. I'm ''guessing'' here!''
** [[spoiler:Lake later figured out that he was deliberately giving incorrect orders in order to force her to step in. Had she not done so, he would've given the correct orders "in half a heartbeat."]].
* BrickJoke: When he first meets his crew, Dodge gets Stepanek to settle down by informing him that "if I throw you off, it'll be in the middle of the Atlantic." Later in the film, Dodge does in fact throw an insubordinate member of his crew off of the ''Stingray'' in the middle of the Atlantic - but it's not Stepanek, it's [[spoiler:Pascal]], and [[spoiler:he's tossed onto the waiting net of a helpful fishing boat rather than into the water]], [[spoiler: and Stepanek is the one doing the tossing]].
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Most of the crew fit this trope, [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits which is how they ended up on the ship to begin with]], starting with their Commanding Officer, LCDR Dodge. Both on and off the job, he's an immature goofball, but he also shows that immature does not necessarily mean irresponsible. His antics are never shown to actually affect his job performance, he gets along well with his subordinates, and he whips a derelict rustbucket submarine into seaworthiness over the course of a montage.
** Even the way he screws around can indicate his skills. He treats [[OfficeGolf teeing a golf shot off the deck of the boat]] the same way he would calculating a torpedo shot, with subordinates reading off relevant information about distance, heading, and weather conditions. [[ChekhovsSkill And gets rather close to a hole in one.]]
* ButtMonkey: LT Marty Pascal. Bonus points for the fact that he's played by Creator/RobSchneider.
* ChekhovsSkill: Sonar's attempts to mimic whales by recording their calls. Also, Dodge's skill in calculating targeting solutions is shown early on via him nearly getting a hole in one while teeing a golf shot from the deck of a moving submarine.
* ChekhovsGun: Two live torpedoes.
* TheChewToy: Nitro has to endure electric currents through his body ''several times'', just so Dodge can talk to somebody.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Nitro, due to having "absorbed a lot of voltage" in his electrical career. His EstablishingCharacterMoment is basically him testing loose wires for voltages ''without a meter''. 'Sonar' Lovacelli is, to a lesser degree, one as well.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: When ''Stingray'' makes her first dive in 40 years down to 500 feet, [[CoolOldGuy Chief Machinist's Mate Howard]] attaches a string to the inside of the pressure hull from port to starboard. As ''Stingray's'' depth increases, the water pressure begins squeezing the hull, causing the string to sag noticeably. Howard grins at Nitro (having put up the string to demonstrate this very thing) and says...
-->'''Howard:''' Bet ya never saw anything like that on one of those big nukes.\\
'''Nitro:''' Uh, no, we didn't have clotheslines. We had those dryer things, with a window in the front.
* TheComicallySerious: Just about the entire crew of ''Orlando'', from Commander Knox on down. They act completely professional and serious at all times, completely unaware of [[HilarityEnsues ensuing hilarity]] happening on ''Stingray'', or the [[CrazyEnoughToWork unconventional tactics]] her crew is pulling off to elude them.
* CommunicationsOfficer:
** Nitro, a skilled but very eccentric electrician who manages to coerce the aging ship's radio equipment to work via various short-circuits (including several passing through [[AmusingInjuries his own body]]).
** Creator/PattonOswalt has a small role as ''Stingray'''s dedicated radio operator.
* CompositeCharacter: Nitro is apparently both the boat's electrician and radio operator (in RealLife, these are separate rates). Justified in that for this mission, the ''Stingray'' really doesn't need a full-time radioman.
** Another possible justification is that the equipment is in such bad shape that only Nitro knows how to keep it working.
* ControlFreak: Executive Officer Martin Pascal just can't relax and go with the flow...
* CrazyEnoughToWork: Several of Dodge's plans are incredibly risky, dangerous, or just so ludicrous that they seem unlikely, such as disguising themselves as a trawler full of drunk fishermen. {{Lampshaded}} in the climax by Spots, who says that the crew would ''prefer'' the risky maneuver, since it keeps working for them.
* CurseCutShort: When Admiral Winslow asks Captain Dodge what he thinks of the ''Stingray'', he replies, "It's a complete piece of...antiquated equipment, sir."
* CustomUniformOfSexy: Lt. Lake's uniform ends up being much more revealing after her shipmates sabotage her laundry.
-->'''Dodge''': Lt. Lake, you are ''almost'' [[DoubleEntendre out of uniform]].
* DamageControl: ''Stingray'' ends up busting some water mains in the engine room during a risky maneuver, leading to Stepanek's BigDamnHeroes moment.
* DeadpanSnarker: Most everyone gets a moment or two, it's that kind of movie, but of note is Stepanek's introductory scene; dressed like a biker, being escorted by [=SPs=] as he yells at and threatens them...
-->'''Dodge''': Oh good, our chaplain has arrived.
* DidntThinkThisThrough: Pascal tries to remove Dodge from command, as Dodge has intentionally disregarded Graham's orders (Dodge did so because he has higher orders from Winslow). He fails to account for two things. One, Dodge's actions have [[AFatherToHisMen earned the respect of the crew]]. Two, his own actions [[TheNeidermeyer have alienated the whole crew]]. He seems shocked and outraged when he realizes that Dodge has called him mutinous and is about to take care of the matter.
* DoAnythingSoldier: Nitro is the ship's electrician, but he is doing double duty as a radio operator as well. Also, Buckman is seen doing deck maintenance when he should be cooking.
* DoubleEntendre: Take a RagtagBunchOfMisfits. Add one cute dive officer. HilarityEnsues.
** Stepanek, on seeing Dodge exiting the aft torpedo room serving as Lake's quarters:
---> Polishing the old torpedo, Sir?
** Dodge ends up unintentionally doing this a few times when introducing Lake to the crew.
---> '''Lt. Cmdr Dodge:''' All right, look, gentlemen! I know this is an unusual situation. Can't be easy for Lt. Lake here to be thrown into a jungle such as this, and I know it will make things hard on all of us... (''laughter'') Let me rephrase that. It's going to make things ''difficult'' on all of us as well. But if we just work together as a team, I'm sure we can handle ourselves... (''laughter'') ''Comport'' ourselves as professionals. That is all.
* DoubleMeaning: Stepanek gets "relocated" when he fails to help prepare the ship for service.
* TheDrunkenSailor: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Dodge to fool the ''Orlando'' into thinking his sub is just a civilian fishing boat caught in a storm. [[RefugeInAudacity It works.]]
---> '''Captain Knox:''' Great. We've just chased down a boatload of beered-up fishermen.
* EmbarrassingTattoo: One of Rear Admiral Graham's complaints against Thomas is his owning one of these.
-->''' Rear Admiral Graham:''' I just don't think it's good policy for the Navy to hand over a billion dollar piece of equipment to a man who has [[spoiler: 'Welcome Aboard' tattooed on his penis]]!
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Lt. Commander Dodge's threat: "If I throw you off, it'll be in the middle of the Atlantic." The only difference between when he said it and when he finally does it is the person to whom he speaks. [[spoiler: He says it to Stepanek, but he does it to Pascal. In fact, it's Stepanek who ends up doing the throwing.]]
* FreakierThanFiction: The basis of the movie - war games pitting decades-old naval hardware against modern equipment - has not only been done repeatedly in RealLife, but has often resulted in victories for the low-techs through skill and guile. The losing side has even [[MovingTheGoalposts changed the rules mid-game]] on occasion, but not in a subtle manner like Graham's manipulation of the playing area - they actually declared that ''[[TheBattleDidntCount the ships the low-techs sank were floating again]].''
** At least one of the incidents in question, however, the low-tech forces were cheating even by the standards of the exercise (real assets cannot teleport, and a 2,000 pound fishing trawler cannot launch a missile whose launcher alone weighs double the boat's displacement). And "refloating" sunk assets is actually SOP for a naval wargame: The exercises exist as much to train the crewmen as they do the Admirals, and getting "sunk" on day 1 of a wargame and having nothing to do for the rest of the exercise would be counterproductive.
* FriendlyEnemy: The crew of USS ''Orlando'' are just doing their best to win the wargame, same as the crew of USS ''Stingray''. It's Graham that acts as the BigBad of the film. Even Commander Knox, who's excessively straight-laced and refused to recommend Dodge for promotion, is not a bad guy at all.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: When Graham dares his fellow admirals to "call [him] prude" during his anti-Dodge rant in the prologue, one of them can be seen grinning and giving a subtle "that's exactly what you are" nod in the background.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: "So what's this tattoo I've been hearing about?" "Well, it's a long story..."
* GoshDangItToHeck: Commander Knox. Profanity is his BerserkButton.
* GroinAttack: Pascal gets his luggage tossed straight into his groin [[spoiler:right after he's made to walk the plank]].
* HarmlessVoltage: Nitro, of course. With all the voltage he's absorbed over the years, he's built up a considerable amount of tolerance.
* HehHehYouSaidX: Dodge, when talking to the crew about a woman (Lt. Lake) being on board:
-->'''Dodge:''' All right, look, gentlemen. I know this is an unusual situation. Can't be easy for Lt. Lake here to be thrown into a jungle such as this, and I know it will make things hard on all of us...\\
'''Crew:''' [laughter]\\
'''Dodge:''' Let me re-phrase that. It's going to make things ''difficult'' on all of us as well. But if we just work together as a team, I'm sure we can handle ourselves...\\
'''Crew:''' [laughter]\\
'''Dodge:''' ''Comport'' ourselves as professionals. That is all.
* HiddenInPlainSight: Dodge's idea to get past the Orlando in their first run-in involved surfacing, placing some lights on the periscope, and having the crew sing like they were drunk to convince Knox that they were just drunken fishermen caught in a storm. [[spoiler: It works.]]
* HisNameReallyIsBarkeep: Nitro's name really is Nitro -- his full name being "Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Michael K. Nitro" according to the filming script. He's considering "Mike" as a nickname.
* {{Homage}}: Sonar is one to Radar from ''Series/{{MASH}}'', in name if not necessarily manner.
* HotSubOnSubAction: ''Stingray'' has to make the final stage of their run on Norfolk with ''Orlando'' in hot pursuit.
* HyperAwareness: Sonarman 2nd Class E.T. "Sonar" Lovacelli can hear how much change is dropped on a nearby submarine. And a crewman eating an Oreo on another deck. And a couple of lobsters dukin' it out. This IS helped by his listening equipment, but it takes more than fancy gear to point out that someone dropped "forty-five cents. A quarter... and two dimes", after jerking as if an explosion went off in his ear after the coins hit the deck.
* IndestructibleEdible: The can of Deviled Ham in the galley. It's been on that shelf since Korea. It expired in 1966. It still tastes like cream corn...
* IndyPloy: Almost everything Lt. Cmdr. Dodge does amounts to winging it.
-->'''Dodge:''' Presently there are several ships positioned outside the harbor to intercept us. To get in, we'll need to use a tactic that is somewhat bizarre and extremely risky. If any of you think it's not worth it, please let me know now.\\
'''Spots:''' Actually, sir, [[LampshadeHanging I think we prefer to go with the bizarre and risky]]. [[CrazyEnoughToWork It's worked for us so far]].
* InsaneAdmiral: Rear Admiral Graham. He starts off as just an asshole, but by the end of the film the lengths he goes to to try and rig the wargame and screw Dodge over have pushed him fully into Mad Brass territory.
* InsultBackfire: Graham's protests against giving Dodge a submarine over his "Welcome Aboard" tattoo only amused the other Admirals, and potentially made them more impressed with Dodge as a submariner (a naval branch that ''emphasizes'' roguish qualities). Admiral Winslow himself saw it as a positive trait for a renegade sub captain.
-->'''Winslow:''' Damn it to hell, don't go by the book! Think like a pirate! I want a man with a tattoo on his dick! Have I got the right man?\\
'''Dodge:''' (glumly) By a strange coincidence you do, sir.
* InterserviceRivalry: Downplayed, but when R.J. sings the Army's then-current recruiting jingle ("Be all that you can be") while participating in one of Dodge's CrazyEnoughToWork plans, Dodge is visibly annoyed. ''In the middle of a storm.''
* JerkassHasAPoint: While Lt Pascal may be a [[NoIndoorVoice loud]] ControlFreak, his complaints about how [[LethalChef Buckman]] runs the galley are entirely justified.
* JoinTheArmyTheySaid: When stringing halogen lamps on the periscope as part of a ruse [[spoiler:to look like a fishing boat in rough nighttime weather]], Jackson sings an old US Army recruiting ad song.
-->'''Jackson:''' Be all that you can be!\\
'''Dodge:''' That's the ''army'' song, Jackson!
* LargeHam: Dodge - sure, the part involves a captain who has many reasons to be gleeful in giving Graham his comeuppance, but Kelsey Grammer clearly was relishing every line.
** Admiral Winslow. It's Creator/RipTorn for Christ's sake!
* LethalChef: Buckman's kitchen practices are probably what landed him on the ''Stingray'' in the first place; the most glaring things we hear about are a fingernail and band-aid in the food on two consecutive days (the band-aid was holding the fingernail on, you see,) and then there's the deviled ham...
* LaserGuidedKarma: Admiral Graham tries to nullify the exercise by complaining about Dodge ignoring orders. Admiral Winslow shuts him down with a terse "Stow it. He had higher orders. And you can forget about that third star." Graham figured this war game would clinch his appointment for promotion; however, his promotion wasn't yanked for the war game. The Navy would probably overlook his changing the size of the game board; however, [[spoiler:a visiting US Navy admiral on board a ship has no authority to just take over which Graham does on board the ''Orlando'' because it's personal between him and Dodge]]. Command in the US Navy is sacrosanct.
* MeaningfulName: Lt. Lake, who's never done an actual dive, having only been on a simulator—think of anyone who's only had training experience (if anything) in a lake, who suddenly has to face the open ocean.
* MilitaryBrat: [[spoiler:Stepanek]], of all people. Turns out his father is [[spoiler:Vice Admiral Winslow]], and [[spoiler:Stepanek's]] been using his mother's maiden name to avoid allegations of favoritism.
* MovingTheGoalposts: Graham constantly changes the rules in order to give himself the advantage in the war games, including "I have to know where my attacker is coming from in order to catch him," as if a real enemy combatant would make it that easy. Dodge rightly ignores him; he had higher orders.
* TheMountainsOfIllinois: An odd version: The Appalachians do run through Virginia, but aren't visible in any way in Norfolk, being nearly 200 miles away! Most of the film was shot in and around San Francisco Bay in California (USS ''Pampanito'', which plays USS ''Stingray'', is a museum ship in San Francisco), where the hills are much closer to the coast.
* MsFanservice: Lt. Lake, after her laundry is sabotaged.
--> '''Dodge:''' Lieutenant Lake, you are ''almost'' out of uniform.
** In-Universe, the crew views Lake as this until she proves her skill as dive officer.
* TheMutiny: Lt. Pascal, way too by-the-book for this RagtagBunchOfMisfits, eventually decides to "relieve the captain of his duties" [[AntiMutiny after Dodge ignores both Rear Admiral Graham's orders]] and Pascal's advice to follow them. However, as Dodge secretly had orders from a higher-ranking admiral, Pascal's move was a classic case of mutiny. As for how well it worked, see above under DidntThinkThisThrough.
* TheNeidermeyer: Rear Admiral Graham, [=LT=] Martin Pascal as well.
* NeverLiveItDown: In-universe example: Dodge's EmbarrassingTattoo, which everyone seems to know about and feel the need to mention.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: Graham's providing a bum crew for Dodge probably would have steered him straight for another wargame victory, if only Sonar hadn't been among them. His insane talents for hearing and sonar use, [[spoiler:not to mention mimicry]], are the most directly responsible for Dodge coming ahead in troubling situations.
* NoIndoorVoice: Pascal, most of the time. Of course, it ''is'' Rob Schneider...
* NoodleIncident: The Murmansk brushing incident. Although it's known that in RealLife there have been such incidents (which generally are the end of the responsible CO's career), the details of the one involving Dodge are mostly unknown; all that's known is that he was an Ensign at the time (meaning he likely was not in command, though he was probably running the tactical plot and miscalculated the range to the Russian sub, leading to the collision), got blindingly drunk afterwards, and received his EmbarrassingTattoo while inebriated.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Buckman, when confronted by Pascal regarding his [[LethalChef cooking]].
--> '''Pascal:''' Buckman! There was a ''fingernail'' in my food! You fat ass moron! Yesterday, it was a ''band-aid''!\\
'''Buckman:''' Sorry Sir, the band-aid was holding the fingernail on.
** Also, while Pascal is yelling at him, Buckman sprays shortening on the floor and ladder behind Pascal's back, leading to the latter to slip on both items.
* OfficeGolf: Early in the film, Dodge gets chewed out by his captain for playing golf off the weather deck of USS ''Orlando'' as she was sailing into port. He actually does rather well, hitting a long shot onto shore and getting very close to the hole.
--> '''Knox:''' Well, what the heck? Why don't we pull in so you can putt out!?
* PermissionToSpeakFreely: Emily Lake asks for this, gets it, and then kisses the captain.
* PirateParrot: Nitro wears one [[spoiler:at Pascal's walking the plank. Oh, and it is an uncooked chicken.]]
-->'''Buckman:''' Don't let it fly away, that's supper.
* PlankGag: Dodge gets Buckman to unwittingly pull one on Stepanek, as Stepanek's comeuppance for slacking while everyone else is doing scut work.
* PrecisionFStrike: Captain Dodge (reading his own fitness report): "This is a confirmed kill. Twenty years down the fucking drain!"
* RadioContest: Nitro tried to connect the sub to Admiral Graham's phone call. Being Nitro, it got misdirected,
--> '''Dodge:''' Dodge here... 'Stairway to Heaven'... Music/LedZeppelin, 1971, right? OK! Hey, good news, guys! We just won the Music/BillyJoel tickets and the WROK T-shirts! Nitro, you wanna get me ''Admiral Graham'', now?
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Dodge's crew obviously. We've got:
** A hot-tempered and uptight Executive Officer.
** A crusty old Chief Machinist's Mate who's actually retired and working as a civilian contractor (because no active Naval personnel is familiar with a ''Balao''-class engine system).
** A rebellious Engineman who ''wants'' to be court-martialed.
** A sharp-eared Sonar Technician who could not only hear a pin drop, but identify the make and model of said pin from the sound it makes hitting the floor. In this case, there wasn't anything wrong with how he did his job, his leadership were just paranoid that [[BlessedWithSuck anyone with hearing that sharp would be a security risk]] and wanted him gone.
*** Oh, he doesn't hear ''[[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial everything]]''. And don't worry, he's very trustworthy...
** A compulsive gambler with a well-established (and hilarious) losing streak.
** A former U.S. Naval Academy basketball player who choked on his Big Game, flunked out, and wound up as an enlisted Seaman.
** A shock-prone (and shock-addled) Electrician who can channel more voltage than a [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Pikachu]].
** A cigar chomping chef of questionable culinary skill and even-more-questionable personal hygiene.
** A female Dive Officer to test the feasibility of a coed crew (giving Dodge further headaches).
** And pretty much every other insubordinate reject the Navy had available. All put together in a World War II vintage rustbucket of a submarine by a GloryHound Admiral who was actively sabotaging both the wargames and Dodge's career.
* RealSongThemeTune: "In the Navy" by the Music/VillagePeople.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Vice Admiral Winslow. He's sees the potential in Dodge and gives him higher orders that give him more flexibility than Graham would permit in the war game.
* ReassignmentBackfire: Dodge and his ''entire crew''. He also sees the importance of the war game to the Navy, while Graham simply sees it as another feather in his cap.
* RockBeatsLaser: The whole point of the film's plot is that an old diesel submarine could be a threat to US harbors - if it was crewed and commanded by people willing to play outside the rule books of more conventional submarine forces in an underwater version of guerrilla warfare. This is TruthInTelevision for modern diesel-electric subs with air-independent propulsion; not so much for a UsefulNotes/WorldWarII vintage submarine.
* RuleOfThree: Played with. Each time Dodge gets a call from Admiral Graham, he has Nitro put it through on a different method. The first time, it shocks Nitro. The second time, it seriously shocks Nitro. The third time, Nitro prepares himself with as much safety gear as possible. [[spoiler: It works as intended and Nitro isn't hurt at all, much to his own surprise.]]
* ShipTease: Dodge and Emily. At one point Emily even expresses her admiration and gratitude to Dodge by giving him a kiss on the lips.
* ShutUpHannibal: Towards the end, Dodge calls out Admiral Graham on his flagrant cheating.
-->'''Dodge:''' Since when did the rules become important to ''you,'' sir?\\
'''Graham:''' You watch yourself, Dodge. You are addressing a ''superior officer''!\\
'''Dodge:''' No, merely a ''higher ranking'' one! Catch us if you can!
* SideBet:
** Money changes hands aboard ''Orlando'' right after the climax of the film, between Captain Knox (CO of ''Orlando'') and his XO.[[note]]eXecutive Officer[[/note]]
** Spots and Jackson are seen exchanging money a couple of times. Keep an eye on them whenever something exciting happens.
* SilentRunningMode: Pretty much a given in a submarine movie, and played with in multiple scenes:
** When ''Stingray'' is trying to avoid detection by ''Orlando'' earlier in the exercise, they're doing well in hiding until Buckman [[ToiletHumor rips a massive fart]] that the Orlando's sonar operator says almost sounds like an explosion.
** Other notable events that break silence: three loose coins hitting the deck (''Orlando'') and ''[[SoMuchForStealth accidentally hitting the ocean floor]]'' (''Stingray'').
** However, it's successfully inverted by ''Stingray'' as well. At one point, being hunted by sonar, Dodge leads his crew in a drunken singalong. However, combined with some modifications to their profile and a howling storm, they convince the opposing sub that [[HiddenInPlainSight they're just a trawler full of drunk fishermen]]. It also helps that ''Orlando'' crew is unaware that their opponent is a diesel sub. When Knox's sonar technician tells him he heard a diesel engine, Knox immediately dismisses the possibility of a diesel submarine.
* SpringtimeForHitler: Since he doesn't want to serve on a submarine at all (let alone one like the ''Stingray''), Stepanek tries to get himself kicked out of Cmdr. Dodge's crew, starting from the moment he first arrives. Of course, Dodge sees through it immediately.
--> '''Lt. Cmdr. Dodge:''' Stepanak. If I throw you off, it'll be in the middle of the Atlantic. Board the damn boat.
* TheSquadette: Emily Lake.
* StrawHypocrite: Graham doesn't like Dodge because he doesn't play by rules, or act like a proper officer. So how does Graham go about ensuring that Dodge won't receive command of a submarine? By cheating, and generally being an arrogant prick.
* StripperCopConfusion: In RealLife, at the time the movie was made women weren't allowed on US submarines -- Dodge is thus thrown by Lake's appointment as the ship's dive officer, not knowing about a (then fictional) experimental program to see if women will be allowed to serve on subs. He thought that she was hired by the crew as a present for him.
* SubmarinePirates: A U.S. Navy wargame calls for simulating an attack by terrorists working in conjunction with Submarine Pirates. Winslow's orders explicitly say "think like a pirate". The ''Stingray'' crew even plays it up [[spoiler:when making LT Pascal WalkThePlank following CAPT Dodge's decision to ignore RADM Graham's attempt to rig the wargame]], flying a "Jolly Roger" flag and dressed up in piratical clothing. [[CloudCuckooLander Nitro]] never bothers to change out of his costume or wash off the fake beard for the rest of the run, and even giving the occasional "Arr".
* SubStory: The entire film focuses on wargames conducted on submarines.
* ThemeNaming: An interesting example as the different themes used by the two subs demonstrates just how far apart they are in terms of technology and service. ''Stingray'' is named using the US Navy's UsefulNotes/WorldWarII-era tradition of naming submarines for fish, while ''Orlando'' uses the Navy's later tradition of naming attack submarines for cities [[note]]similar to how they used to name cruisers; missile subs meanwhile use the old battleship theme of being named for states[[/note]]
* TitleDrop: It's a sub movie called "Down Periscope". A title drop is a given.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Spots and R.J., the ''Stingray'''s Planesmen. The movie occasionally pauses to show them discussing whatever while at their post, usually R.J.'s basketball career and Spots' betting.
* ToiletHumor: Buckman almost ruins SilentRunningMode with a mammoth fart. More comedy as the crew must stifle any urge to shout in disgust, which stretches into an [[OverlyLongGag Overly Long]] [[IncrediblyLamePun Gag]].
-->'''Dodge''': ''Someone find Buckman and launch him out a torpedo tube!''
* WalkThePlank: What the crew of USS ''Stingray'' makes [[spoiler:Pascal]] do when he pushes them too far. [[spoiler:A fishing boat is in on the joke and catches him in a strung net for laughs. As added injury, Dodge gives Pascal his luggage-by dropping it on his crotch.]]
* WayPastTheExpirationDate:
** The food stores in ''Stingray'''s galley date, in at least one case, back to UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar.
--->'''Pascal:''' Jesus, Buckman! This stuff's been on the ''Stingray'' since KOREA! ''This can expired in 1966!''\\
'''Buckman:''' What's the matter, sir? It still tastes like creamed corn...\\
'''Pascal:''' Except, it's DEVILED HAM!\\
'''Buckman:''' ''That'' would be a problem.
** Most of the crew view the ''Stingray'' as such, at least until she starts winning the wargame.