Das Boot (1981)

R   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller


Das Boot (1981) Poster

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.

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8.4/10
206,384

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  • Ortwin Freyermuth and Hannes Nikel in Das Boot (1981)
  • Bernd Tauber in Das Boot (1985)
  • Wolfgang Petersen in Das Boot (1985)
  • Erwin Leder and Claude-Oliver Rudolph in Das Boot (1985)
  • Wolfgang Petersen in Das Boot (1985)
  • Edwige Pierre and Martin Semmelrogge in Das Boot (1985)

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Cast & Crew

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Director:

Wolfgang Petersen

Writers:

Wolfgang Petersen (screenplay), Lothar G. Buchheim (novel)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


8 September 1999 | susy-7
10
| 15 years and I'm still thinking about it
Das Boot is not just a great war film: it's a great film period. Maybe it is true that epic themes make the greatest novels and films. Here is a movie that explores heroism, duty, patriotism, hope, fear and the futility of war--all grand themes--explored in the confined, and collapsing, spaces of a German u-boat.

I saw this film when I was a freshman in college during a weekend that I later dubbed my "depressing movie festival." (The Wall and Apocalypse Now were the other weekend "entries.") Of these films, it was Das Boot that haunted me--when I laid down at night, I saw Jurgen Proctow's pained blue eyes. When I woke in the morning, I felt as if I were escaping through the hatch of the submarine. I could not shake the images, and now some fifteen years later, I still remember how completely meaningless the movie made everything seem, and the nihilistic message stayed with me for a long, long time. How few films are there which affect the viewers on this level. To say this film is "powerful" seems so weak a description.

Part of the "power" of the film comes, I think, from a certain restraint in the direction. So often, films which aspire to move the audience quickly fall into melodrama, over-acting, and overblown images. Too much. These often succeed in the immediate response (usually crying) but fail to impact the viewer on anything more than a surface level. Here, it is the small moments which fill the screen. Everywhere, all around is War, but for these men as we witness them, war does not begin with a capital "W". It is reality, not a grand concept. The director lets the story shock and horrify the audience, not by forcing it, but by letting the story just tell itself. Drama, tension and resolution occur naturally in Das Boot, which contributes to the very real impact of the film.

Story is a 10, direction is a 10, acting is a 10 and the cinematography is a 10. One of the all-time greatest films.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several additional scenes were scripted based on the original "Das Boot" novel, but in the end were never filmed due to budget and time constraints. In the original script, the U-Boat departs from St. Nazaire and docks at La Rochelle only at the end of the film due to heavy damage and an inability to reach its home port. The escape out of Gibraltar is also extended somewhat including the U-boat stopping a passenger liner and nearly sinking it, but at the last moment realizing the ship is of Spanish registry. The U-boat also encounters another submarine with an inexperienced crew at the entrance to La Rochelle harbor. The second submarine strikes a mine and the entire crew must be rescued. Finally, the character of Lieutenant Werner is much more heavily explored in the original script, including a love interest where Werner was seeing a French girl and by the end of the film suspected she was a member of the French resistance.


Quotes

Captain: Out boatswain's mate. Been on quite a bender tonight.


Goofs

When Lt. Werner (War Correspondent) is looking through pictures from one of the other officers family in the snow, you are shown the current picture he looking at. He clearly turns over to view the next picture, only to see the same picture again.


Alternate Versions

Theatrical release is 145-minutes long, edited down from a six-hour miniseries developed for German television (available in Germany on home video)


Soundtracks

Parlez-moi d'Amour
(uncredited)
Music by
Jean Lenoir
Lyrics by Jean Lenoir
Performed by Lucienne Boyer

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Drama | Thriller | War

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