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In the midst of World War II, as the tide turns against the Axis, a German U-boat crew is sent out to patrol the Atlantic and fire at Allied ships bringing supplies to England. The submarine also carries a press correspondent, there to report from the front lines of nautical warfare. Meanwhile, the crew's captain (Jürgen Prochnow) is becoming disillusioned with the Nazi regime and with war in general. What starts out as a routine mission is soon livened up beyond the crew's expectations when their boat's surprise attack on a convoy is thwarted by a fast-moving destroyer. Battered by depth charges, the crew must pull together to survive the attacks of their unseen enemy.
Widely considered to be director Wolfgang Petersen's best film and one of the finest German films ever made, DAS BOOT is stunningly realistic in its portrayal of the cramped conditions aboard a German submarine. Based on a novel by Lothar G. Buchheim, it is a striking example of an intelligent antiwar film clothed in the guise of a military thriller.
This gripping World War II drama dealing with the exploits of a German submarine crew is the highest grossing film in the history of German cinema. The crew's fight for survival while on patrol in the North Atlantic is a remarkable study in human determination.
DAS BOOTwas filmed in German. Different versions of the film are either dubbed in English or use English subtitles. At the time of its release, the film was the highest grossing film in German cinema. The re-edited, remastered director's edition of DAS BOOT was culled from the original six-hour rough cut by director Wolfgang Petersen himself. DAS BOOT also aired as a television mini-series featuring around 20 minutes of additional footage. Director Wolfgang Petersen made the actors go through weeks of training to ensure that they could maneuver authentically in the tight quarters of the U-boat set. He also forbade them to be out in the sun, so that their pallor matched that of a real submarine crew. The film's many long tracking shots in the narrow confines of the submarine set forced director of photography Jost Vacano to develop his own camera technique to obtain the intricate shots. Petersen commented that the captain of the U-boat in DAS BOOT, at around 30 years old, would have been considered one of the German fleet's oldest captains. Of the 40,000 crewmen sent out on German U-boats during World War II, some 30,000 never returned.
"...A great movie just got greater, thanks to this thorough restoration....The movie is letterboxed on tape for the first time ever and has a magnificent new stereo soundtrack..." -- 4 out of 4 stars - 06/27/1997 USA Today, p.3D
"...Sweaty and claustrophobic, exciting and horrifying at the same time....The new DAS BOOT feels rawer, gloomier, more pungently authentic than it did before..." - 04/18/1997 Entertainment Weekly, p.45-8