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Download Das Boot 1981 Movie Legally
West Germany
Drama, Thriller, Action, Adventure, History, War
IMDB rating:
Wolfgang Petersen


          Das Boot IMDb    Das Boot Wikipedia    Das Boot Soundtrack

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
Das Boot 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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This film will grab you from the opening shot and suck you into its grim, realistic portrayal of life aboard a German U-Boat. If your looking for 'gung-ho' action then i'm pleased to say you'll be grandly disappointed.

W.P (the director) and the actors have captured pure tension, absolute horror and genuine fear with alarming accuracy. It feels like your watching the 'real thing', not a movie. (And if, like me, you have to watch the subtitled version, this feels even more so! Note: Avoid the dubbed version, it ruins any suspense as the 'acting' is abysmal!)

Characterisation is wonderful in this film, the change in each man as their voyage becomes ever more doomed is gripping. Because of the films length, you can really experience why characters act as they do, their motivations and changing mental states are utterly believable and adds to the films substance. Every time a depth charge drops, you can smell the sweat coming off the foreheads of the actors, and thats testament just as much to the cinematography as the acting. You feel like your on board the boat. Just watching the men on board move around gives the viewer a sense of just how cramped conditions were, and this heightens the overall sense of isolation they must have felt. (For the most part) they have no contact with the outside world, just the guts of the boat and what their instruments and sounds tell them.

All in all, a far superior war film to say, the likes of Saving Private Ryan, which although employing skilled techniques and creative cinematography, forgot to motivate and 'humanise' its characters. D.B illustrates how effective good acting, directing and intelligent writing can combine (without the need for 'Hollywood' production values) to produce a moving, powerful masterpiece of a film that will live long in the memory.
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.
One word: WOAH.
I just watched this movie on television here, not having seen it, but having it on my list of movies I should see should I ever stumble over them.

All I can say is... WOAH.

An excellent war film portraying the horrors of war from the point of view of the real soldiers struggling to survive, not to triumph.

Highly recommended. I'm going to have to buy this film on DVD and watch it again, unprofaned by any commercial breaks.
Absolutely Fantastic
This is, perhaps, the best war film ever made. This may seem to be a little over the top, considering its opposition, but I feel that what this film lacks in special effects is more than made up for by the depth of its characters and the sheer claustrophobic suspense of the final hour. Das Boot is a very faithful adaptation of the original book (which is fantastic as well), and is best viewed in its original German, but with English subtitles (assuming you are not German!). As a proud resident of Great Britain, you can understand how easy it is to hate the members of the U-boat fleet for what they did to so many crews in our Merchant Navy. Despite this, it is easy to contemplate how terrible an experience life in a U-boat was. After having watched this masterpiece, I felt (and still do feel) that the sheer boredom and terror of U-boat life was far worse than that experienced by allied surface crews. This is not meant to disrespect anyone, but is meant to provide an accurate comparison.Other War films about the Battle of the Atlantic (e.g. "The Cruel Sea", "In Which We Serve" & "Sink the Bismark') are based almost entirely from the Allied perspective, and almost all Germans are portrayed as cold-blooded murderers. Das Boot is unique among movies of its genre in that it is based entirely around the Germans, but also that it does not portray any side to be morally superior. Das Boot's main theme seems to be the futility of war itself. The acting throughout is superb, and the set is highly effective at communicating the claustrophobia, cold and stench of the inside of a submarine. The soundtrack is uniquely chilling and thrilling, and simply adds to the rich feeling and accuracy of the plot. There have been far too few films made about the U-boat crews during the Second World War, but since Das Boot, it seems as though no others are necessary. This film is absolutely fantastic, and richly deserves its rating of 10 out of 10!!!
Wolfgang is amazing....
The underwater battles somewhat remind me of Sergio Leone in that Wolfgang Peterson takes forever and a day to get the fights started. Unlike Leone, once the torpedos are launched and the depth charges dropped, the cat-and-mouse game is ongoing and relentless, but never boring.

And despite the fact that most of the film takes place inside a cramped submarine, Das Boot is never boring to look at; in fact, it's a visually spectacular film (given the dated special effects, who hold up reasonably well and add to the old-school charm). And the freedom of the camera in those tight corridors came as an incredibly pleasant surprise. The color and composition of the shots in those tight quarters -- particularly upon approaching the first destroyer when we get the first real glimpse of the interior prepped for war -- it is both haunting and beautiful.

Jurgen Prochnow delivers the most believable performance of a ship captain I've ever seen on film. All the emotions register on his face--his concern for his own life, ship, and crew; his hatred for the decisions he's forced to make; the disbelieving joy of beating the overwhelming odds--while simultaneously holding it back so the crew sees a strong unmoving man forever in control of the situation. His performance is, in a word, brilliant.

The rest of the cast also delivers amazingly believable performances, and trust me, I could write an entire review on the film's characters and their portrayals. It's both disappointing and satisfying that I'm not given enough space to do so (I wish I could state that about a tenth of the films I've reviewed here on IMDb.) I liked the entire crew of this U-boat, the war correspondent and his character arc as he realizes the truth behind these "heroes", the chief and his longing to return to his wife, Johann and the story of his redemption--all well cast, well acted, and believable.

Another aspect I adored about Das Boot - the controversial scenes simply rolled by with no more or less emphasis than any other statement the film makes. In fact, I saw the film before really reading anything or researching it and found myself somewhat shocked to hear about these "talked about" scenes. Granted, the film does pose some moral questions, but I felt the film handled it with grace and great subtlety, showing what it needs to get the point across and not a step further . . . unlike typical Hollywood where controversy gets bold print, italics, and a highlighter. Maybe I should move to Germany.
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.
Plain excellence and one anti-war movie worth watching
The claustrophobic life of submarine soldiers relived - and in a way, portraying the tension and misery of every soldier and everyone in such tight a situation.

Having read the novel now for the second time, I'm still overawed by the suspense and fear of the situation U-boat sailors found themselves in. The novel is a very interesting read and in my opinion very well reflects the boredom and sudden tension those pitiful sailors found themselves in. The movie keeps closely to the storyline set by the novel. It is not a movie about German navy men. There is no glory but just the resentment of the way to fight a war in such a terrible situation. Still, the people were there to do the job - with terrible losses on any side. In that way, the situation reflects the life of soldier on any side of WW2 - or any conflict to that extent. Being put in such situation requires a lot of courage and belief in values - not the values set by the leadership but values of your own virtue. Still in me it just fortified the belief: Whatever you do in a war, you do the wrong thing.

The movie itself is extremely well done by any means. Historically accurate as the novel which was written down some decades after the end of WW2 by a innocent war reporter, so there is no space for false glorification but just the bare facts on life on a submarine during a war tour of duty are on display. By today's standards, most of the effects are still very good. Admittely, you can see the boat is a model when you compare closely wave heights and especially water bubble sizes to the boat. The interior shots are perfect with excellent lighting and really portraying the tightness which doesn't compare to living room quarters on today movies (OK, submarines have gained in size but come on!). Nearly a quarter century has passed since shooting, still the movie loses nothing of its fascination due to the excellent editing, shooting and acting. The actors are extremely well cast and resemble the original persons of the novel very well. Most of the actors are today top actors in Germany but at the time of shooting the movie they were relatively unknown. But they already had the skills to make them credible beyond doubt. The story of course is laid out by reality but it matches any good Hollywood yarn of today, reflecting the long weeks of boredom and inactivity changing in a second to full alertness on the attack and eventually sheer terror being hunted down by increasing Allied technical and tactical superiority.

Summing it up, this movie is definitely worth watching as it visualizes the terror of war, no matter which side one is on. It stands out as the prime anti-war movie in my opinion, giving the audience a lot of identification with the actors only to be put of by their final fate - and also by the atrocities they are committing - on purpose or not. 10/10 for sure.
Absolutely superb
I love War films, so why did I wait so long to see this amazing film? I don't know, but last week i picked it up in my local supermarket for a measly £5!. It was a wonderful, heartbreaking film. I never thought I'd be rooting for the Germans in a WWII film but I certainly was here, actually I was either on the edge of my seat or biting my nails through the whole 3hrs 20 minutes running time of my directors cut version . It was dubbed, but it was very well done. I hope there is or will be a special DVD version released with the original German speaking version with subtitles. I must also add the acting in this film was of the highest quality. I just found a film to add to my all time favourite movie list, its called DAS BOOT. 10/10
Packing, genuinely, overwhelming!
Using the term 'authenticity' in connection with any kind of art is rather difficult and daring as well. Sometimes it looks posed or is by certain purposes manipulated. Referring to Petersen´s "Das Boot" however, I consider it justified to call it authentic and true. I think this statement can be strengthened mainly by the fact that Lothar Gunther Buchheim was consulted. He composed the novel this breathtaking movie bases on and he himself was employed as a war correspondent in the Second World War.

The entire plot has no weak points. Starting at "Bar Royal" at the very night before the forces living journey of the submarine crew begins, the director fittingly manages to confront the audience with the protagonists and their way of dealing with the pounding uncertainty. Once put to sea, the character of the scenes changes abruptly. Every member of the crew and the audience as well comes into very close contact with the tightness of the action space. At this point it is necessary to underline the excellent work of the cameramen. The fast and partial hectic cuts draw an exact picture of the drama on board. Too do not forget the outstanding lighting. However besides this abundance of obvious suspense, there are also a number of moments going into in-depth psychology and thoughtfulness. To outline only a few of them: At "Bar Royal", when the chief engineer reflects about the uncertain fate of his family, or when the captain, with a kind of 'Weltschmerz' in his eyes, is astound and proud of the unbelievable efforts of the crew. It would probably be too laborious to refer to the decisive symbols the director uses, therefore I recommend this movie to everybody, especially those who are interested in the Second World War.

It presumably sounds pretty weird, yet I suppose that mankind gladly participates on the misfortune of others, without being closely involved with it. This closing notion may account for the huge success of this movie.>
A masterpiece which should be required viewing
I was fourteen when this film was released, and even then, I remember hearing how wonderful it was. Watching a foreign film at that age was out of the question, though! Now, twenty-one years and several foreign films later, I finally saw this film. To say that it did not disappoint in the least is a grossly unfair understatement..

I watched the director's cut DVD, and I can't imagine shaving anything from this version without the impact being felt, so my advice is to watch this version if possible. Another benefit of this version is the remastered sound; while I usually wince when a movie's sound is listed as one of its chief merits (I would hope that, oh, PLOT might be more important!), sound is absolutely vital to the enormous impact this movie gives the viewer. Whether it's the thunderous explosion of enemy depth charges bombarding the sub or the nail-biting silence of the crew as they try to determine the whereabouts of their enemy, sound is of paramount importance to this story. Those of you with Dolby digital systems will not be disappointed.

So, what about character development and plot? No film is worth watching without those elements, and Wolfgang Peterson and his team fully grasped this. There must be at least twenty minutes of film before the crew even steps aboard the sub, and during this time, we are being introduced to the captain and his crew. The crew are predominantly men in name only. They are, for all intents and purposes, boys, and that fact is a major theme throughout the film, as we watch their gleeful boyhood faces turn to those of terrified older men as they see what war really is. By the end of the movie, you know and care about these people, despite the fact that they are (let's face it) our enemies from a war most of us never lived. We never see them as Nazis, or even Germans for that matter; had Peterson delved right into the sub without giving these characters the depth (no pun intended) they deserve, we wouldn't feel the tensions that they feel during the story.and make no mistake, you will feel them. The plot? The less I say, the better the movie will be for you. Suffice to say, being on a U-boat must be like the phrase I heard describing what it is like being an anesthesiologist: 99% boredom combined with 1% sheer terror. The percentages are altered in this movie for obvious reasons, but you get to experience both. What's amazing is that even the slow points of the film are nothing less than riveting.

At three and a half hours and with its being subtitled, most people wouldn't touch this movie with a stick. What a shame. At the time of my writing, this is number 37 on imdb's lit of all time films. That should be enough to convince anyone to see this. Enjoy!
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