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Purchase Das Boot (1981) Movie Online and Download - Wolfgang Petersen 🎥
West Germany
Drama, Thriller, Action, Adventure, History, War
IMDB rating:
Wolfgang Petersen
Jürgen Prochnow as Capt.-Lt. Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock - Der Alte
Herbert Grönemeyer as Lt. Werner - Correspondent
Klaus Wennemann as Chief Engineer Fritz Grade - Der Leitende-Der LI
Hubertus Bengsch as 1st Lieutenant - Number One-1WO
Martin Semmelrogge as 2nd Lieutenant - 2WO
Bernd Tauber as Kriechbaum - Chief Quartermaster-Navigator
Erwin Leder as Johann
Martin May as Ullman
Heinz Hoenig as Hinrich (as Heinz Hönig)
Uwe Ochsenknecht as Chief Bosun
Jan Fedder as Pilgrim
Ralf Richter as Frenssen
Joachim Bernhard as Preacher
Storyline: It is 1942 and the German submarine fleet is heavily engaged in the so-called "Battle of the Atlantic" to harass and destroy British shipping. With better escorts of the destroyer class, however, German U-boats have begun to take heavy losses. "Das Boot" is the story of the crew of one such U-Boat, with the film examining how these submariners maintained their professionalism as soldiers and attempted to accomplish impossible missions, all the while attempting to understand and obey the ideology of the government under which they served.
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German masterpiece
This film is really a masterpiece in history of the German film industry. Although it is quite long with over 3 hours, it is worth seeing it and by the way, one never gets bored. Instead, tension is built up throughout the entire film with outstanding acting of Jürgen Prochnow first of all and Herbert Grönemeyer and rest of the "crew"!!! It is really a must see film. I am not only saying it because I am half German myself, but because it is a second world war movie that doesn't focus on who are the good and who the bad. Its all about the people in the submarine trying to survive, far away from political attitudes. The ending could not be better, its simply a film of my taste. Its just so disappointing that current German film industry can't manage to do such great work again, except of last year's "Der Untergang"!!!!!
Not Your Typical War Movie
I am not a fan of war movies. I find that war movies, especially American ones, glorify war and portray those who fight as 'heroes'. The typical war movie simplifies war to a struggle between good and evil, though real war is so much more complex. Das Boot is nothing like the typical war movie. It shows World War II for how it was: horrifying, ruthless, and ill-planned. The U-boat crew are ordinary guys, with lives back home in Germany which they long to return to. They are not heroes, they are men who are afraid and are in the line of duty out of self-preservation and patriotism, not because they are psychotic Nazis. (they're not.) It is a story far more complex that good and evil, it is about human decisions and mistakes, and the complex struggle between one's loyalties and one's nature. Watching Das Boot, you forget that the crew is German, which in Western society we are taught is the 'bad team' of WWII, and see them for what they really were: ordinary men. I loved this movie, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to see a film that's really about something, without the warm-fuzzies and Hollywood conventions steeped into most movies. It is gripping and consuming, and once you see Das Boot, you're not likely to forget it.
Das Best
Quite simply the best war film ever made. Das Boot nearly got made in the United States, with Robert Redford (!) in the starring role as the submarine's captain. Thank goodness it didn't; instead it went to a German production company with the then largely unknown Wolfgang Petersen and Jurgen Prochnow directing and starring respectively.

Petersen brings an obsessive level of detail to the screen, recreating the U-boat down to quite literally the last rivet and creating an extraordinary sense of claustrophobia - I've never experienced anything quite like it in the cinema. The effect is greatly enhanced by the sound, which is up there with "Saving Private Ryan" in terms of convincing you that you're in the middle of a battle. It really has to be experienced in a cinema, although you might get away with using a really good sound system at home (get the DVD Director's Cut version for this).

Even more remarkable is the cast. Prochnow is the highlight, of course, as the quietly heroic captain of the boat. But the rest of the cast - largely stage actors appearing on screen for the first time, or complete unknowns - are equally remarkable: Erwin Leder (in his first appearance on screen) is a standout as the veteran Chief Engineer, Johann, who faces a crisis of courage when the boat comes under attack. There really isn't a single performance that you can fault.

So is there anything actually *wrong* with Das Boot? Some of the external shots are distinctly unconvincing, quite obviously being of model ships and projected backdrops. (Blame that on film technology circa 1981). The film does have a tendency to drag a bit in a few places - the section where the crew go ashore in Vigo is a case in point. Above all, steer well clear of the dubbed version, even though the dubbing into English is done by many of the original cast - this is a film which absolutely must be seen in the original German (with subtitles).

However, these are minor quibbles when the rest of the film is so good. There are very few films that I would instantly rate a 10, but this is one of them.
bloody brilliant
all i can say is..

i love this film...

this movie and others like Stalingrad, cross of iron and downfall, to name a few, are more entertaining and "gritty" than all the pro alliance Gung-ho for America movies that have been churned out since the end of the second world war. i say this not as a political point but as an honest opinion...

how many times can you sit and watch America/england with America take the beaches etc... the Germans were in the war too... my granddad even said that a bridge too far wasn't realistic and he WAS THERE IN ARNHAM. all the political correctness seems to have overridden the basic truth in movies, if it is based on real events then make it real... Das Boot gave you the claustrophobic feeling of being in a 1940's Uboat in the north sea/Atlantic ocean, hunting whilst being hunted.

the acting is suburb and the tension between the actors at times is brilliant. truly capturing what it might have been like in the sub.

i would recommend this movie to anyone. regardless of their movie reference.
The Reich Stuff.
Never has nothing happening been such compelling viewing.

No debate, no discussion, no contenders - DAS BOOT is THE submarine movie for the ages.

In autumn 1941, World War II U-Boat 96, crewed by young rowdy Germans, puts to sea with its veteran captain, wildly Teutonic Jürgen Prochnow, his eyes the color of eagle and high cheekbones set on stun.

The battle for control of the Atlantic is turning against the Germans, yet Hitler orders more and more U-boats with ever younger crews into battle against the British freighters and their destroyer escorts. This opening pitch and the antsiness of Jürgen's young hooligan crew seems to presage a roaring Hitlercoaster of war war war Amerikan style - but director/co-writer Wolfgang Petersen and writers Lothar G. Buchheim and Dean Riesner swerve to port with a counter intuitive yet singularly entertaining and tension-filled, character-driven non-action action movie. These young punks discover that being at war is much like the waiting room in any doctor's office.

DAS BOOT is filled with periods of waiting in fear, waiting in boredom, waiting in terror, waiting in anxiety - and sudden action that rips throats and bends steel with its bare hands.

DAS BOOT does something which most commercial war films are too gutless to do - humanizes Germans: they carry photos of their girls, they write home, there are heroes and cowards, there are hard men and those that crack under the strain; they catch crabs and rib each other about it; at one point, a sailor stops a celebration with the announcement of bad news on the radio - into the silence, he declares that back home, their team has lost! These men doubt much of the war propaganda they are fed. Even though German tacticians convey Churchill as a "paralyzed guzzler" the officers on U-96 respect the British fleet ("Those aren't amateurs up there"). Yet they do not fear the British simply because that is the default position of Germans in Westernized film, but because the British had better equipment. These Germans are not one-dimensional haters, not committed blindly to the Führer, not simple villain props as in countless Brit and U.S. movies. They are the heroes. And our hearts are with theirs in their throats every watery step of the way.

Even in its shortest version, DAS BOOT is 2 hours, 29 minutes. The Director's Cut is 209 minutes, the uncut version is 293 minutes (4 hrs, 53 mins). It's the most fun you'll have growing a five o'clock shadow.

DAS BOOT attains such a high level of drama, we forgive Wolfgang Petersen for the subpar exteriors, with those model subs and little dolls on the tower being foamed in slow motion to emulate a sizable u-boat.

When most movies are ending - at the 1:33 mark - this movie sees its first action. Yet even the action is not what one expects: after U-96 fires torpedoes at a British convoy, they submerge and wait in silence, listening for the muffled far-off explosions and counting the British ships sinking by the groans of steel they hear through the depths. And they know they're in for repercussions - depth charges. The waiting begins anew - the interminable, unbearable waiting for death to claim you or not - as they "run silent," all lights out, submerging further, engines at minimum. The sound of sonar pings their only warning that something is closing on them from above. The Captain says into the silence, "Here it comes. The revenge." And all they can do is hang on through the bucking explosions and bolts bursting on pressurized pipes.

After the terror subsides, Prochnow simply declares, "That's the end of that." Not heroes. Not cowards. Just doing their job.

When U-96 surfaces to survey their kills, they are outraged to find that one of the flaming ships they torpedoed still has men onboard, jumping off, screaming, aflame. And the focus of the Captain's outrage will surprise you: "Why weren't they rescued after all these hours?" One of his officers begins to weep for the dying. It's a wondrous portrayal of war empathy, of humanity. It makes us question war yet again, and question the supposed intelligence of the species that can create the marvel of submarines and battleships only to use them in such unproductive, moronic fashion against each other.

Imagine the frustration of knowing that on a submarine, humans are the least important cargo - literally stacks of torpedoes, spare parts, tools for repairs (it's like being in space - there is nowhere you can turn if you need a certain part), food, fuel, ballast, the mechanics of the sub itself, and at the very bottom of the list - as evidenced by the way sleeping bunks are haphazardly squeezed into crawlspaces - people.

Director Petersen instructed the whole crew not to go out into the sun during filming, so they would retain that bloodless pallor. He effectively suffocates us in the ghastly, claustrophobic passageways and "living spaces" of a submarine; he sends his cameras barreling through crawlspaces full tilt, pursuing running men who trip and glide through hatches; we almost feel the cracking of our skulls on jutting iron overhangs; sea water thunders in every time the top hatch is opened, drenching the plastic-coated charts and everyone nearby; everything is wet and damp, dark and cold...

DAS BOOT is a gritty study in patience, tactics, anxiety, tolerance, futility, and brings a whole new meaning to wetting the bed.
Captures the essence of submarine warfare.
From the director who brought us Air Force One, In the Line of Fire, and the Perfect Storm; this is definitely his best work of all. Hands down. Carried by the performance of Jürgen Prochnow. This is perhaps the best war movie ever made. I recommend the German version- even if you do not like subtitles it is worth it. While the dubbed version is very well done, you still lose something when you take out the live German voices. A true masterpiece. I showed this movie to an American WWII Navy Veteran, and he said that it was the most realistic portrayal of submarine warfare he had ever seen. This from a man who was on a PT Boat in the same area part of the movie takes place. This is a must see for anyone. It shows the war from an entirely different perspective and it is very effective.
The most influential war movie of the last quarter of the 20th Century.
This epic masterpiece has influenced nearly all the war movies, many action and suspense movies, and all submarine movies since it's first release in 1981. Especially in the area of realism. If you look for it, you can see it's influence in such different movies as Aliens, Die Hard, Apollo 13, The Alamo, The Right Stuff, The Hunt for Red October, Tears of the Sun, Crimson Tide, Top Gun, K19 the Widowmaker, and many more. I really think Bruce Willis studied Jürgen Prochnow's portrayal of the Captain, among others like Clint Eastwood, to learn how to express emotions with just his eyes and minimal facial expressions.

The movie starts with the grim statistic that of the 40,000 men who served in U-Boats in WWII, 30,000 didn't survive. No other branch of any military service that fought in WWII had 3/4 of the men who served in it KIA. Military historians have noted that if the commander of the German submarine forces, Admiral Karl Donitz, had been provided with most of the 300 U-Boats he asked for to start the war with, (he had 57, only 20 of them suitable for ocean-going operations), he could have effectively cut Great Britain's supply lines, and probably forced them to capitulate. One of the oldest military maxims states: "Amatuers study tactics, professionals study logistics". Thank God Hitler was an amateur!

The cinematography, lighting, sound design, mock-ups, props, and production design set new standards for the industry. Cinematographer Jost Vacano designed a special Arriflex camera to film most of the interior sequences to convey the claustrophobic atmosphere of the boat. It is a miniaturized version of a Steadicam that has 2 gyroscopes for stability. Vacano wore full-body padding to minimize injury as he ran and the mock-up was rocked and shaken. Wolfgang Petersen insisted that every gage, control, hatch, torpedo tube, piece of equipment, and fitting in the hydraulically mounted interior mock-up had to exactly match that of a Type VIIC-class U-boat, down to the smallest screw. This attention to detail extended to virtually every aspect of the production. Here's an interesting sidelight. All of the main actors speak fluent English as well as German; when the film was dubbed into English, each actor recorded his own part. The German version is actually dubbed as well; the film itself was shot "silent", since in any case the dialog spoken on-set would have been drowned out by the gyroscopes in the special camera developed for filming. I saw the subtitled version when it was first released in the US, and own the Director's cut on DVD. I prefer to watch it with the English language soundtrack, and I swear that it's so well synchronized with the actor's lip movements that I can't tell that it's dubbed!

The strong ensemble cast, many of whom went on to successful careers in the German and American entertainment industry, is an integral part of the movie's success. Since they are listed on the main movie page, I'm not going to duplicate it here. Most of the filming was done in one year; to make the appearance of the actors as realistic as possible, scenes were filmed in sequence over the course of the year. This ensured natural growth of beards and hair, increasing skin pallor, and signs of strain on the actors, who had, just like real U-boat men, spent many months in a cramped, unhealthy atmosphere. Throughout the filming, the actors were forbidden to go out into the sunlight, to create the pallor of men who seldom saw the sun during their missions. The actors went through intensive training to learn how to move quickly through the narrow confines of the vessel. Movies like this, The Great Escape, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy form the basis of a strong argument that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences needs to add an award category for best ensemble cast. Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, the captain of the real U-96, survived the war and was one of the consultants for this movie.

To me, the saddest thought that occurs to me every time I see it is that they wasted all that incredible courage on the biggest A$$HOLE in human history, Adolph Hitler. Boo! Hiss! Pbththt! (The last is a Bronx cheer!) These sentiments are for AH, not the movie. To learn more about it, see the article on Wikipedia. This is one of those movies EVERYONE should watch at least once in their life.
Where great story telling meets realism!
My two uncles where submariners in the 2nd WW. Both survived, and I had the opportunity to meet the one that was a commander. Although he would not talk much about his experiences, I was able to extract from him his opinion of the TV Mini-Series when it came out. With the exception of the noise levels that crew members made in the movie (for drama purposes) he told me that it was a very faithful depiction of the life and hardships a submariner lived on a U-Boot.

I personally have always admired the film because it depicts war without glorifying any of the participants. You are not guided by the director or the plot to identify with any particular character - you can actually relate to many of them, and therefor immerse yourself in the claustrophobic experience they live.

Its an excellent piece of film making that combines drama and action into a very powerful anti-war message. Although I personally prefer the original mini-series, the directors cut with its remastered sound is also a great experience.
Hunters or hunted?
Probably the main reason that "Das Boot" is so great is because it shows that the men in the submarine aren't really Nazis: they were just drafted. But once the submarine dives, then the suspense sets in. Capt. Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (Jurgen Prochnow) leads his men on a voyage of adventure and terror alike. As the viewer, you feel like you're in the submarine, getting attacked from all sides. Rarely do you see the kind of intensity that you see in this movie. Overall, it makes us question the idea of who's good and who's bad in wartime. It's widely agreed that the Axis Powers were the bad guys in WWII, but the men here don't hold Nazi ideology; we sympathize with them every step of the way. A great movie.
You have to have good men. Good men, all of them.
If I had the time to take this movie door-to-door and sit down with everyone in America to watch this film, I would. Everyone needs to realize that I have a fascination with submarine films. I loved The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide. Both of them rank as my top action films. I don't know why I love this genre so much. I think it has to do somewhat with my passion for sci-fi. The ocean is almost like fighting in another world. So many times we have seen wars play out on land, and while there is only so much you can show with a land fight, the war field on the open sea allows for so much more creativity.

Director Wolfgang Peterson gives us some great characters. While not much dialogue happens in this film, you can see everyone's expressions on their faces, and those expressions tell better stories than words. You can see their fear, their excitement, their sadness, and their power by just the way that Peterson directs them. With his direction, I felt that I was on this U-Boat with the crew. Peterson perfectly portrays a feeling of crampness and claustrophobia wrapped together as one. I think that during one of the bombing scenes I broke a sweat because of what was happening on screen.

Finally, I am also a fan of films that tell a different angle on the story. So many years I have watched war movie after war movie that show the victorious American's beating the classic "evil-doers". Now don't get me wrong, these are fun sometimes, but I love to see a different angle. In history class we didn't learn about the casualties of the Germans in WWII. We learn about them as a statistic, and never put these heroes on a human level. This film humanizes the German's conditions during the war. The Germans are human being also, who fought for their country just as valiantly as our soldiers did during WWII. They had families, they had pasts, they had homes that they left to become a part of history. To fight for your beliefs. That is what America teaches us, fight for what we believe in....doesn't it?

I could talk about this for hours, but instead I am going to sit back, relax, and tell you how wonderful Das Boot was to watch. I have not been this entertained for a long time. Bravo to everyone involved in this film. I think it IS the best war film ever released (that I have seen). I want everyone to get out of their seats this weekend and go rent this movie. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Grade: ***** out of *****
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