Greyhound is a 2020 American war film directed by Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks, who also wrote the screenplay. The film is based on the 1955 novel The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester and also stars Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, and Elisabeth Shue. The plot follows a commander of the US Navy on his first war-time assignment in command of a multi-national escort group defending a merchant ship convoy under attack by submarines in early-1942 during the Battle of the Atlantic, only months after the U.S. officially entered World War II.
Greyhound was initially scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on June 12, 2020 by Sony Pictures, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The distribution rights were then sold to Apple TV+, which released the film digitally on July 10, 2020. It received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for the action sequences and effective use of the 90-minute runtime.
Plot: During the Battle of the Atlantic, convoy HX-25, consisting of 37 Allied ships, is making its way to Liverpool. The convoy’s escort consists of the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Keeling, radio call sign Greyhound, captained by Commander Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) of the United States Navy; the British Tribal-class destroyer HMS James, call sign Harry; the Polish Grom-class destroyer ORP Viktor (with a Royal Navy liaison officer on the radio), call sign Eagle; and the Canadian Flower-class corvette, HMCS Dodge, call sign Dicky. The escort ships are also under the command of Krause. Despite his seniority, it is his first wartime command. The convoy enters the “Black Pit” – the Mid-Atlantic gap where they will be out of range of protective air cover.
While they are still three days away from the resumption of air cover, high-frequency direction finding (HUFFDUFF) from the convoy flagship reports to Greyhound that it has intercepted German transmissions that are likely from a U-boat (submarine). Greyhound’s crew identifies the surfaced sub heading toward the convoy. Greyhound moves away from the convoy to intercept it based on its bearing and gets the U-boat within firing range, but the heavy seas allow the U-boat to dive before Greyhound can get a visual. After sonar contact is re-established, the submarine tries to slip under Greyhound, but Krause maneuvers Greyhound above the U-boat and fires a full pattern of depth charges, resulting in his first kill. The crew’s jubilation is cut short as they soon receive reports of distress rockets at the rear of the convoy.
A Greek merchant ship was attacked and is sinking. Krause moves Greyhound to assist, evading torpedoes fired by another U-boat in the process. After the rescue Greyhound returns to the convoy receiving multiple messages from the other escorts: a wolfpack of six more subs is staying just out of firing range of the convoy, which Krause suspects is waiting for nightfall in order to attack. As night falls, the attack commences with five merchant ships being torpedoed and sunk. One U-boat torpedoes an oil tanker and escapes Greyhound by using an underwater decoy to waste depth charges. Krause chooses to rescue survivors from the burning oil tanker before proceeding to the action at the rear of the convoy.
The next day, the submariners mount an attack on Greyhound. The captain of the submarine Grey Wolf taunts the convoy and its escorts via radio transmission, threatening to sink them all. Krause learns that Greyhound is down to six depth charges. The U-boats launch multiple torpedo runs, which Greyhound is barely able to evade. Meanwhile both Dicky and Eagle take damage, with Eagle eventually sinking. Greyhound and Dicky combine to sink one of the U-boats in an exchange of surface broadsides. Greyhound is hit on the port side by one of the U-boat’s deck guns, which kills Krause’s mess attendant George Cleveland and two sailors.
Krause elects to break radio silence by transmitting a single word, “help” to the Admiralty. On the last day in the Black Pit, the remaining U-boats mount an all-out attack. One of the torpedoes glances off the side of Greyhound as the destroyer barely manages to evade the other. After heavy fighting, Greyhound manages to sink the lead U-boat. To everyone’s relief, they spot air support deployed from British RAF Coastal Command. With spotting assistance from Greyhound, a PBY Catalina bomber lines up on the last visible U-boat with depth charges, sinking it instantly. The remaining three subs are assumed to have slipped away.