Ned Land is a sailor and master harpooner. He is one of the protagonists and one of the four main characters in Disney's 1954 hit 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He is also notable for singing "A Whale of a Tale", the only song in the film.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Ned first appears early in the film once Pierre Aronnax and Conseil board a ship investigating the reports of a "sea monster". He is working as a master harpooner and has a great deal of experience with life in the ocean, as evidenced in one scene where he casually offers a banana to a seasick Conseil during a storm.
Eventually, the Captain announces that he intends to give up the search. Ned is indifferent, simply stating that he'll just sign onto the first whaling ship which will take him when he gets back. He goes on deck to perform "A Whale of a Tale" (the only song to be featured in the movie). Immediately after he is finished, a crewman sights the monster, and the sailors quickly rush into action. However, as he is being lowered in a longboat, the monster strikes the ship, causing the boat to fall into the water and capsize. He is also seen trying to kill it with a harpoon but it fails.
Ned manages to get on top of the capsized longboat and eventually stumbles upon the Nautilus, where he is reunited with Conseil and Aronnax. Both he and Conseil agree to leave quickly, but Aronnax is very intrigued by the submarine, and when he is seen looking out the window by Captain Nemo, all three are captured and the longboat is sunk.
Initially, Ned and Conseil are forced onto the deck and apparently left to drown as the Nautilus submerges. However, it turns out to be a test of Aronnax's loyalty to his companions, and when he refuses to leave them, both are spared.
The three captives are given a meal made entirely from underwater resources, much to Ned's annoyance. He and Conseil volunteer for a hunting expedition hoping to get off, only for the expedition to be revealed to be taking place on a sunken continent. They try to make the best of it by exploring a shipwreck and finding a treasure chest but are forced to leave it after a close encounter with a shark.
Over the next few months, Ned begins scheming ways to escape the submarine, secretly stealing treasure along the way as well as creating a makeshift guitar. He eventually forms a friendship with Conseil and devises a plan to alert the navy to their destination. They promptly proceeded to steal several bottles containing preserved samples, which are drained, the bottles being used for notes, whilst Ned keeps the alcohol for himself. He also begins befriending Nemo's pet sea lion Esmeralda, whom he teaches a few tricks.
Ned's hatred for Nemo increases after witnessing him obliterating a warship, leaving no survivors. When this incident leaves Aronnax reluctant to visit the coast of New Guinea, Ned tries to take advantage of the opportunity, ignoring his warnings that the natives on the island are cannibals. When Ned tries to go through the jungle, the natives quickly drive him out and back to the Nautilus. Nemo is furious and has him locked in the brig.
Ned eventually manages to break out of his cell once the Nautilus starts flooding after going unusually deep. The crew were suddenly attacked by a Giant Squid and Ned finds himself running outside to fight it. He manages to severely injure it and even saves Nemo, an act which he claims to regret afterward. Nonetheless, Nemo is grateful and rewards Ned with his freedom.
Finally, the Nautilus reaches its homeport of Vulcania. Unfortunately, it turns out that the island is being attacked by an unidentified army. Ned realizes they followed the messages and tries to signal the soldiers, to no avail. Aronnax is furious, and even Ned begins to rethink his actions after realizing that Nemo is planting a bomb.
When Nemo is fatally wounded, he decides to let the Nautilus sink, and that everyone will die with it. The crew supports him, but Ned objects. As the crew tries to lock him in his quarters, Ned begins fighting back, overpowers the first mate, and releases Aronnax and Conseil. He manages to raise the Nautilus back to the surface and leads the two men outside, where along with Esmeralda they manage to escape just before a nuclear blast destroys Vulcania and causes the Nautilus to sink again. Before escaping, Aronnax intends to go back to get his journal, but Ned objects knocks him out and carry him out. Now stranded out in the middle of the ocean, Aronnax and Ned begin to reconcile, with the former suggesting that perhaps "[he] performed a service to mankind". Seeing as Aronnax is narrating the film, it is most likely that he, Conseil, and Ned were eventually found and rescued by a passing ship.
Discovery Bay (unbuilt)
A photograph of Ned can be found in Trader Sam's which identifies him as being a friend of the titular proprietor. His turtle-shell guitar can also be seen on display within both versions of the bar.
- In the book, Ned Land is explicitly identified as being Canadian while this is never brought up in the film.