×

Das Boot

Produced at a cost of DM25 million (circa $12 million), Wolfgang Petersen's The Boat is far and away the most expensive German film made since World War II, possibly in the history of German cinema. It's based on a bestseller by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim and is a two hour-plus action film on the fate of a German U-Boat in 1941.

With:
Jurgen Prochnow Arthur Grunemeyer Klaus Wennemann Hubertus Bengsch Martin Semmelrogge Bernd Tauber

Produced at a cost of DM25 million (circa $12 million), Wolfgang Petersen’s The Boat is far and away the most expensive German film made since World War II, possibly in the history of German cinema. It’s based on a bestseller by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim and is a two hour-plus action film on the fate of a German U-Boat in 1941.

Everything described in the film is authentic: it’s the story of a single mission in the Atlantic, from the departure of the boat from La Rochelle in Occupied France to its return to port some months later. In between, it’s constantly a question of life or death, give and take, kill or be killed – a descent into the pit of hell with slim odds of ever returning.

When Buchheim joined one of these boats as a photo-journalist during the war, he was a kid among equals. His experiences on missions were later compiled into an autobiographical book. The captain, tagged the ‘old man’ (Jurgen Prochnow), already wears an iron cross for bravery in action. So does another drunken U-Boat officer, Thomsen (a strong cameo by Otto Sander), who nearly incites a riot in the Bar Royal by speaking his mind on both the war and its Fuhrer in vividly blunt terms.

Then comes the dull, monotonous early days at sea followed by some initial skirmishes and hide-and-seek games with the enemy. At last, about midway through the film, the first opportunity to strike presents itself, and the real action begins. Then come orders to brave the Strait of Gibraltar and enter the Mediterranean for further seek-and-kill operations.

Two model subs were constructed for shooting at La Rochelle and the Bavaria Atelier in Munich. All the actors are, with a few major exceptions, unknown faces to the German film and TV scene.

[Pic was also made as a six-hour TV miniseries. A 207-min. Directorector’s Cut was released theatrically and on homevideo in 1997.]

Das Boot

W. Germany

Production: Bavaria Atelier/Radiant. Director Wolfgang Petersen; Producer Gunter Rohrbach; Screenplay Wolfgang Petersen; Camera Jost Vacano; Editor Hannes Nikel; Music Klaus Doldinger; Art Director Rolf Zehetbauer, Gotz Weidner

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 145 MIN.

With: Jurgen Prochnow Arthur Grunemeyer Klaus Wennemann Hubertus Bengsch Martin Semmelrogge Bernd Tauber

More Film

  • Tarantino Movies Ranked Illustration

    All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies Ranked

    In the history of cinema, has any director done more to elevate the idea of movies as cool than Quentin Tarantino? Certainly, the idea that films could be made by fans dates back at least to the French New Wave, when a group of die-hard critics stepped behind the camera. A few years later, Spielberg, [...]

  • A Stranger on the Beach

    Anonymous Content Wins Film Rights to Michele Campbell's 'A Stranger on the Beach' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anonymous Content has won the adaptive rights to the forthcoming Michele Campbell novel “A Stranger on the Beach.” In a competitive situation, Anonymous outbid multiple players for the thriller, which it will adapt for the big screen with in-house producers Alex Goldstone and Rosalie Swedlin. “Stranger” has been likened to sensual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” [...]

  • Ridley Scott Matt Damon Ben Affleck

    Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener Team on 'The Last Duel'

    Ridley Scott looks to have his next directing job, as he has signed on to direct “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attached to star. Damon and Affleck co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated Nicole Holofcener. Scott, Damon and Affleck all producing along with Scott’s producing partner Kevin Walsh. Drew Vinton is also [...]

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

  • Chris Rock - Netflix

    Chris Rock's 'Saw' Reboot Moves Up Five Months to May 2020

    Lionsgate has moved Chris Rock’s upcoming “Saw” reboot forward by five months to May 15, 2020, vacating the pre-Halloween date of Oct. 23, 2020. The studio indicated Monday that it decided to move the untitled “Saw” movie into the summer slot after seeing early footage from the set of the film currently shooting in Toronto. The move [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content