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3 reviews, 83 user ratings

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Das Boot
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by Slyder

"A Perfect Example Of The Word “Thriller”"
5 stars

Fuck U-571 or Crimson Tide or even The Hunt For Red October. You want a great submarine movie? Try this film. Director Wolfgang Petersen’s claustrophobic masterpiece Das Boot is the ultimate submarine adventure that will leave you on the edge of your seat and with no more fingernails to chew. A film that only Germany would make, it received 6 Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Screenplay, and it would’ve easily been nominated or won for Best Foreign Film hadn’t American producer Edward Pressman been involved with the project. Still, this film (Based on the best-selling true story novel by WWII veteran Lothar Gunther Buchhein) is one hell of a ride from start to finish and never lets you rest for a single moment, and it’s one of the few films that depict the war (submarine warfare in this case) from the other side of the fence. That alone is worth viewing, and in return you get one of the finest films that Germany has ever produced.

The film is the story of a German U-Boat crew, and their adventures and nightmares onboard Germany’s deadliest weapon: The U-Boat or Submarine. Back then, the submarines were the ultimate war toy, capable of swimming underwater and firing torpedoes up a ship’s ass without it even noticing. For this crew in this day an age, which is 1943, the war is also starting to bring out its new technologies too, one of them being sonar. Soon, sonar would be used in destroyers to track and destroy submarines, which thanks to this new technology, the subs are nothing but sitting ducks. Everyone but Adolf Hitler knew this, since he kept enlisting young men to their deaths in the turbulent sea, and thanks to that, only 10,000 out of 40,000 German sailors lived to tell their tales. But war has always been about bravery, and the 43 sailors onboard their assigned U-Boat; they go to seek honor, glory and fame. But for their Captain (Jurgen Prochnow), it’s just another suicide ride into a sea of Hell. A sea where enemy warships await and watch your every move, and when the moment is right, they will blast you and bombard you with depth charges, until they destroy you. Before, the U-Boats were untouchable and would search and destroy their targets, now U-Boats are vulnerable, and the once “hunters” are now “the hunted.”

What is there to say about this film? It’s perfect. The U-Boat interior is just a claustrophobic 10 feet by 150 feet. But the magic of filmmaking, when used correctly, can work in any space, and it worked here. Petersen removed all that “Evil Nazi Germany” bullshit and focused 100% into the story of these 43 men and their Captain. The movie logically isn’t about the war, but much less about the U-Boat’s mission (which is to hunt down and destroy Allied merchant ships coming towards Europe), all that stuff is in the background, and in the foreground, it shows you the excitement, the horror, the Hell that was then, the job of the sailor in a submarine. From days of utter bore, to their hunting of enemy ships, to the evasive action the U-Boat must take whenever it feels threatened by a destroyer. Petersen’s direction is masterful here, since he manages to build up the atmosphere of suspense that just shoots straight up towards a point of nerve-shatterness. You see the men, crammed up in their bedrooms, running to their battle stations, joking around, and all filthy and infected with crabs due to lack of hygiene, scared, waiting for the bombs to blow, but praying that they never come. Just watch the scene when the boat is damaged and hurls to the bottom of the sea. You’ll be on the brink of your toes. The atmosphere is effective enough to make you feel the emotions of the men; you laugh with them, cry with them, and even be as scared-shitless as them. Filmmaking at it’s best I always say, and there is no question about that.

For the making of this film, they had to rebuild two full-size U-Boats, one for interior filmmaking and one for sea shooting, plus four miniature models for FX. What shines in this movie is also the cinematography, courtesy of Jost Vacano. I know for a fact how tough the assignment was for Vacano to film the interior scenes in such a crammed space, and his creative work of using a hand-held gyroscope moved camera is fantastic, and therefore, helps the film a lot in the case of realism. I say realism, because cutting the sub in half or building the set on a studio would’ve easily looked fake. But thanks to Vacano’s creativity, he manages to give some of the best photography in such a narrow space. The outer shots of the sub when the depth charges blow underwater are also effective.

One of the things that help this film is the importance of Lieutenant Werner (Herbert Gronemeyer), who’s a military correspondent traveling with the sub crew and recording their experiences (Reflects pretty much on Buchheim). Thanks to this character, many of the submarine’s aspects and German Naval techniques are developed, and it explains to you the hows and the why’s of submarine warfare. It’s a clever element since after that; you won’t be caught off-guard by the following complicated sequences of the film. The sound FX were totally fucking awesome, and furthermore with this new Director’s Cut, it was nerve-shattering hearing the sound of the sub being slowly crushed by the pressure of the water and the endless explosions of depth charges, trying to blow the sub and it’s crew into shreds. I applaud Wolfgang Petersen for this movie, and for making his version of the movie. I’ve watched both versions, and I have to say that his cut was even better than the original. Sure, in a certain way the film lacks certain character development, and some small parts of the history aren’t that accurate, but in anyway, this film kicks it. Too bad that Petersen has later made such big but cotton-candy movies like Air Force One, The Perfect Storm and The Neverending Story, even though he managed to make another almost perfect film that is In the Line Of Fire. But not even In The Line Of Fire can manage to surpass this film.

The performances are fantastic. Jurgen Prochnow gives so far his best performance to date as The Captain of the U-Boat; Herbert Gronemeyer also gives a charismatic performance as the Lieutenant Correspondent Werner. The rest of the supporting cast was also great.

In the end, this film is worth the rent. You WILL NOT find another submarine adventure film as good as Das Boot, which deserves to be amongst the greatest war or anti-war movies ever. This film will always be imitated by its American counterparts, but will never be equaled. That’s how good this little film is. See it and enjoy the ride.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=952&reviewer=235
originally posted: 03/11/02 23:13:14
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell decent no more no less 3 stars
9/02/17 Ken Very well-done film and one of the best of the 1980s. 5 stars
5/29/17 Anne Selby very powerful 4 stars
7/18/16 TdW Very good 4 stars
2/15/16 Ed Richardson The very best submarine movie EVER!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/13/15 Trev29 very overrated to see it in top 5 on this site 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol again 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/19/15 Chris Jarmick Best Submarine movie and great war movie. see long version! 5 stars
2/16/12 Alex Gomez see it in german with subtiles. very intense. 5 stars
9/01/10 Barbara Leaf This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
11/28/09 Phil M. Afficiando Even if 1/2 hour too long, the director's cut version is worthy 5 stars
2/25/08 pkr one of the ww2 films you shouldn't miss at any chance. 4 stars
2/10/08 Mark One of the best war movies, and absolutelly the best U-boat flick ever!!! 5 stars
6/14/07 fools♫gold Finally, a film that doesn't seem short (well, THAT short). 1000% 5 stars
12/27/06 R.W.Welch Could have been tighter, still the ultimate submariner movie. 5 stars
10/03/06 dickie t Masterpiece, The best war film going..ever 5 stars
3/17/06 MP Bartley Absolutely essential. Greatest ending to a war movie ever. 5 stars
1/10/06 Gerry Dunne U sure Jim?. Realistic and highly entertaining view of WW2 from a different perspective 5 stars
1/09/06 Jim Das Crap 1 stars
1/04/06 me f weird! 5 stars
9/26/05 Jeanne The final seconds are a jolt to the heart and everything you've ever believed about WWII. 5 stars
9/02/05 Indrid Cold Puts all other submarine movies, and just about all other war movies to shame. 5 stars
5/28/05 Strutho forget about U573 and support zee Germans 5 stars
5/03/05 Greg Plank Other than some liberal translations from you are always looking out for the next ALARM!! 5 stars
4/16/05 Cary Gordon Incredible realism. Sometimes hard to watch it's so good. 5 stars
4/08/05 Larry Weisberg THE best submarine movie around. 5 stars
2/27/05 mike best war movie 5 stars
9/12/04 Matthias B my first film i saw and still the best.. 5 stars
7/20/04 Harry J High drama under the high seas. Makes Perfect Storm look like a picnic. 5 stars
6/30/04 Ryan Best movie ever! 5 stars
6/06/04 Daveman Utterly gripping from start to finish. 5 stars
5/14/04 Read it, Seen it, Done it One of the great war movies of all time! 5 stars
2/17/04 Whatevr This movie has been my favorite since I was a kid. Still is. 5 stars
2/10/04 dave maxwell Finest submarine movie ever made...par none 5 stars
12/29/03 Michael E True suspenful, hold your breath, drama doesn't get any better 5 stars
12/16/03 Tim Triangle Pretty cool characterisations a bit played out towards end a bit nihilistic 4 stars
11/27/03 John maybe the best war movie ever made 5 stars
8/16/03 punjab the definitive war movie-a classic 5 stars
7/22/03 Flounder This is one of the best war movies that I have ever seen bar none 5 stars
6/26/03 cochese Just saw it and I loved it. 5 stars
5/07/03 Nikola A must see for any film fan - a classic 5 stars
1/28/03 lisa Prochnow is nice 3 stars
1/27/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer Intense, dramatic, everything you could want in a war picture. 5 stars
12/27/02 Ally Gator Tense, exciting and totally engrossing! 5 stars
12/07/02 Jussi You're there, suffering through terror, with the crew. 5 stars
11/20/02 Mason Watch this movie! 5 stars
11/18/02 DAN By far the best submarine film to date go out and rent it now!!!! 5 stars
11/15/02 Muggs GREAT!!!! 5 stars
10/01/02 Zaw Only film I seen that make me feel sorry for Nazi soilders in WWII movies. 5 stars
9/04/02 NavyUboat Awesome depictation of what we submariners even today under certain circumstances endure 5 stars
8/15/02 Feathers McCoy Realistic and gripping 5 stars
7/13/02 Klute A mammoth event. The best submarine, nay, war movie ever. 5 stars
7/08/02 Kiersten Mueller Best German Movie ever made - hunky casting too ! 5 stars
5/21/02 sara stalkfleet this was a really great movie 5 stars
4/25/02 Charles Tatum The best sub film- catch the long uncut version 5 stars
4/07/02 Meg Rosenfeld Unforgettable dirge for young men at war. 5 stars
3/14/02 Paul I have never been as captivated and genuinely impressed by a movie as by Das Boot. 5 stars
1/21/02 Monster W. Kung Spellbinding. One of the best war movies ever made. Get the director's cut! 5 stars
7/14/01 Gremlin Great, Realistic and based on an actual uboat comandr, its excellent 5 stars
6/01/01 G-MAN Long but worth it. 4 stars
5/07/01 Mikko Salminen Realistic. 4 stars
5/04/01 Jason Learn German to watch this movie - the dialog changes and the subtitles do it no justice! 5 stars
4/23/01 Skip Young Masterpiece 5 stars
4/04/01 Hawkeye The movie that got me to see The Perfect Storm. I should hold that against it, but I don't. 5 stars
3/21/01 Roger the Shrubber The director's cut DVD is loooooong, but worth it. Great ending too. A fine movie. 5 stars
3/07/01 master.node So tense it should carry a health warning. An all-time great! 5 stars
3/06/01 Shams Huque One of THE great movies. Period. 5 stars
3/03/01 The Bomb 69 loooooooong, but great acting and an awesome ending make up for it 5 stars
2/06/01 Skip Incredible. One of the all time best films. 5 stars
10/17/00 Monday Morning Director's cut: extra 60 minutes are not a positive. Go for short version and DIVE! DIVE! 4 stars
8/11/00 Matthew Bartley Ground breaking stuff. One of the best war films EVER! 5 stars
7/18/00 Bruce Filled with tension, this is a great film 5 stars
12/20/99 Kevin Way Great WWII War movie. Genius. 5 stars
11/09/99 Ralf Behet One of the best war movies ever made. A classic! 5 stars
10/31/99 banana A true look through the eyes of the so called "enemy". 5 stars
10/10/99 Weird Andy What the hell has happened to you, Wolfgang? 5 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Brilliant. 5 stars
2/01/99 Vick Di Brecci Liked the conceit but could have been better with a sharper screenplay & better situations 4 stars
11/23/98 {{{OZ}}} Great fucking war movie. Find it. 5 stars
11/22/98 Peter Great WW-II Movie. You get a great look at the 'glory' of submarine warfare in the 40s. 5 stars
11/12/98 Jules I really got into this film, even to the point of feeling clausterphobic. Honest film. 5 stars
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  26-Feb-1982 (R)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004


  22-Jan-1998 (MA)

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