on February 11, 2004
This film is amazing.
I served in the US Navy's submarine force, and Petersen's movie is the closest you can get to being in a sub without actually signing enlistment papers. This is one of the few war movies that is not relentlessly propagandistic. Petersen presents a story of humans--not stereotypes, not jingoistic misrepresentations of sailors. By the end of the film, you'll probably find yourself cheering for the Kriegsmarine crew, or at least hoping that they get home safely. As an American, raised after World War Two, I grew up with nothing but negative images and stereotypes of WWII Germany and Germans. Petersen and his cast do an amazing job of breaking through those representations and portraying a story of young, proud men who defy the odds and the elements and do what they perceive of as their duty, even though they find no glory--just despair.
I would recommend that you read Herbert Werner's memoir Iron Coffins in addition to watching this movie, especially if you are unfamiliar with the Battle of the Atlantic. Also, after the end of the movie, you should go outside, stand in the sunshine, and be glad that you are.
My father in law served in German u-boots in WW II. He was one of the lucky ones who survived. He watched the director's cut, in German of course, and he said it was very authentic. All the things in the movie would not happen on any one boat, but he said that if you combine the stories of any 5 or 6 boats, you would have a move like that.
I have watched the movie in its dubbed version and German version. I much prefer the German version. I also have the original uncut version. I highly recommend you only watch that in its German version or you will miss a lot.
on June 20, 2004
This is most definetly the best war movie I have ever seen. I have never seen anyone that has not taken interest in war after watching this movie. I have seen this movie many times and each time I learn something new. It is interesting to see how the other side was during WWII. I recommend this movie for anyone that has time to watch it.
on August 17, 2010
Is this the greatest war (or rather, anti-war) movie yet? I certainly think so. Before I saw Das Boot, my favourite movie with a war theme was actually Judgment At Nuremberg. But great as that movie was, it fell to second place even when the first time I saw Das Boot, it was a very badly annotated version.
Here we have the director's cut and the full suspense, horror and tragedy of Wolfgang Petersen's masterpiece has captivated me once again. The suffocating atmosphere of a WWII German U-boat is so real, you almost have to open a window in your home just to get through watching it. One can only imagine the stench in that tiny space crammed with dozens of men eating, drinking (and of course, defecating) whilst pouring with the sweat of effort and sheer terror.
You finish up wondering how it is that men can put themselves through such a ghastly experience in such a terrible environment. And then you realize that throughout the history of warfare it has always been so. From the hopelessness of the Spartans holding off the Persians at Thermopylae to the grisly trenches and massive casualties of WWI, the maxim that old men of dubious morals have always been able to convince young men of the glory and excitement of participating in war and of the moral right of doing so.
Only when they experience the reality of actual combat do these young men realize how truly human (even child-like) they really are and the horror of what they've gotten themselves into. And when you see the talents that many of them have, from the mechanics, electricians and other specialists that keep the boat running while at sea, to the human-management capabilities of the senior officers, you realize what a truly wasteful endeavour the practice of war is.
For those of us who have been fortunate enough never to have had to go to war, this film will reinforce our gratitude.
on March 31, 2004
Finally we can see the full cut of Das Boot on DVD. Not only does this new edition have a remastered anamorphic transfer, it finally has the full, original 4 hour 50 minute cut (290 minute)that was cropped into the US theatrical edition (2 1/2 hours) and the Director's Cut (3 1/2 hours), but in a movie where the quiet moments where we learn about the characters are the best, the original cut (it was originally made for TV as a 6 part mini-sieres)has my strongest recommendation. The movie itself is the BEST submarine movie ever made without question, and also a realistic portrayal of life in a crowded, dirty German U-boat in WWII, filled with people who just want to go home and live normal lives, but due to the war are denied the chance. You see throughout the movie that the characters are not sympathetic to the German cause and that they aren't really fighting for their country, but their lives. This is one of my favorite war movies for showing the war through a different viewpoint than the one normally seen and an example of great filmmaking (p.s. - aviod the dub at all costs - go for subtitles).
on May 22, 2004
Dang i just bought the superbit edition...which is 3.5 hours long.. and i thought this version will never be release.
oh well, screw it, i might as well buy it again..Das Boot is the BEST WW2 related movie ever. its a Masterpiece.
This is one of the great sea stories, alongside "The Cruel Sea' and "HMS Ulysses". The series is filmed in colour, as opposed to the original which was in stark B&W. Devoid of wartime propaganda, the captain and crew emerge as just what they are, not Nazi demons , but sailors subject to the remorseless unpleasant, stinking, dangerous life on a wartime submarine. My one trip on a Guppy class on trials in the Straits of Juan de Fuca off Victoria BC was enough for me!
The captain comes across as a true seaman and at this distance one can abstract the fact that the German submarine force was an unrelenting killer of allied merchant marine, a force which almost isolated Britain in the early days of 1942. Had it not been for the intelligence gained from Ultra, the development of effective airborne radar finally improved so that it could pick up a snorting sub, the British survival story might have been different. But the true value of this film is the story of a crew in their day-to-day life attacking Allied shipping, and finally, in being attacked themselves by depth-charging and from the air when they were safe (they thought) in their base at Las Rochelle. While it is not perfect trying to follow English subtitles, the film in German strikes a chord of realism . All in all a great film and better as a miniseries in colour.
on June 24, 2011
The realism here is among the best you will ever see in any film. The characters, the sets, the script, the action...nothing seems contrived. It is like you were there. This film set the bar for subsequent "action" films, in terms of getting the details right, but few if any of its imitators have measured up to the story and the acting here.
The U-boat crew become so familiar, so human and fallible to us that one cannot help sympathizing, and hoping they survive. The author of the book of the same name, on which it is based (Lothar-Gunther Buchheim), was unhappy with this film as he felt it did not adequately portray the anti-war sentiment of his book. But by no means is this film pro-war, it really highlights the futility, and the senseless waste of life.
Watch it in German language with subtitles! Watching it in dubbed English seemed completely unrealistic, plus there is so much noise and confusion in many scenes that you can't hear what is being said. With the subtitles you miss nothing.
How much did I like it?...I have the DVD Director's cut, plus the Superbit edition, have ordered the new Blue-Ray release, and bought copies of the DVD for both my adult kids. They need to see what war was like: ugly, gritty, tragic, senseless. Plus they will see some of the best acting in moviedom.
on November 30, 2009
Das Boot (The Boat) presents us with a view of German submariners as was never done before. Forget the two-dimensional, semi-robotic Nazis perpetually portrayed in Hollywood films. These are men, ordinary men, serving in extraordinary times. Whatever the reasons that compelled them to go to war, here they are cast in all their glory with their human frailties facing up best they can to War and her unimaginable cruelties & painful ironies.
The best anti-war films are actually the ones that depict war the most realistically, and here, Wolfgang Petersen & his team really outdid themselves. From the decors that would have you believe a real U-boat appeared out of its legendary past to the first rate performance of all the actors involved. Nothing looks, or feels, fake about this movie. You simply have the impression of being really there getting your soul shaken to its very foundation by the Allied depth charges.
Having said this, this full-length version is only for the true fans of this type of saga. Mainstream viewers may find this a bit lengthy. After all, the movie is almost 5 hours long! Also, I was disappointed by the special features in this DVD. It just contains a re-hash hastily put together of material presented in earlier releases of the film. They could have done something a bit better as a complement to such a masterpiece of cinematography.
This movie, a classic in its` genre, is a fitting tribute to Dönitz`s Grey Wolves of the Kriegsmarine.
on July 17, 2004
The first time I saw director Wolfgang Petersen's epic film, Das Boot, I was about 13 years old. My cousin had a copy on laserdisc. When it was all over, I remember saying that I couldn't wait to see it again, so almost imediately, I had my cousin start it all over. There have been a number of "submarine" movies made over the last 20 years, however, none have even come close to matching the sheer brilliance of Das Boot (aka the boat). I alredy own The Director's Cut on DVD, but I was still curious to take a look at this 282 minute version, since I like the film so much.
Captain Hans-Jürgen Hellriegel, (Jürgen Prochnow) commands German U-Boat 96, during World War II. For him, this is a mission to defeat the enemy and bring glory to Germany. For his young crew, they are in this for respect and adventure. The U-Boat's mission is to engage and destroy all allied troops that they can. But they are being hunted as well DAS BOOT is intense and gut wrenching The film may be told from the German perspective, rather than the allied point of view, but it's really a story of courage and perseverance,. It's told in a way though, that anyone can feel for this crew. The film really does have a clausterphobic feel to it. As a viewer, you do get a true sense of what it must have been like for these men on this boat. The battle sequences seem quite realistic and have never been topped since the film's theatrical release in 1981
For anyone who wants to know how the three different versions of the film stack up: The director's cut (running 209 minutes) also on DVD, incorporates 60 minutes of footage, not seen in the 149 minute theatrical version. Most of this footage lets us get to know the crew better than ever before. Das Boot The Original Uncut Version allows the major events of the story to build a little more, rather than giving us any new crew insight or additional plot revelations. Like the director's Cut disc, the movie also boasts a remixed soundtrack, that sounds great, even without a home theater system. Viewers can watch the film with its original German language track or in its English form. The brief featurette on the making of the movie makes a return visit for this 2 disc set. It's a shame that the really interesting and enjoyable commentary track from Petersen and Prochnow was not included here for those checking it out for the first time. This is another great presentation for the BEST sub movie ever made. Period. Buy this if you like sub movies. As for me, I'm glad I rented the uncut set, but in the end, I'm still sticking with the Durector's cut as my favorite way to watch Das Boot. Highly Recommended in any form.