Das Boot - The Boat
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Produced by Günter Rohrbach
Written by Wolfgang Petersen (screenplay)Lothar-Günther Buchheim (novel)
Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer
Music by Klaus Doldinger
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
September 17, 1981 (West Germany)
Running time: 216 Min (long cut) - 293 Min (Uncut Version)- USA330 Min (Full Length Version)
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, adapted from a novel of the same name by Lothar-Günther Buchheim.
The movie is the story of a single mission of one U-boat, U-96, and its crew. It depicts both the excitement of battle and the tedium of the fruitless hunt, and shows the men serving aboard U-boats as ordinary individuals with a desire to do their best for their comrades and their country. The story is based on an amalgamation of the exploits of the real U-96, a Type VIIC-class U-boat commanded by Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, one of Germany's top U-boat "tonnage aces" during the war.
Hans-Joachim Krug, former first officer on U-219, served as a consultant, as did Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, the actual captain of the real U-96.
The movie has a strong anti-war message. One of Petersen's stated goals was to guide the audience through a "journey into madness," showing "what war is all about." Petersen heightened suspense by very rarely showing any external views of the submarine unless it is running on the surface and relying on sounds to convey action outside the boat, thus showing the audience only the claustrophobic interior the crew would see.
The original 1981 version cost DM 30 million (US$40 million in 1997 dollars) to make; it was at the time the most expensive film in the history of German cinema. The director's meticulous attention to detail resulted in an extremely realistic and historically accurate movie.
Strife occurs among the crew.
The movie drew high critical acclaim and is seen as one of the greatest of all German films, along with Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau, Metropolis by Fritz Lang and Der blaue Engel with Marlene Dietrich. It is regarded as significant among the subgenre of submarine movies.