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Das Boot - The Original Uncut Version
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I loved the theatrical release of this film when it was new in about 1985. I watched it on VHS.

Now I wanted to update to DVD and didn't really look too closely at the different versions that were available. I figured, "Director's Cut" new scenes added, ten bucks, that's for me.

Well, they did add new scenes but they also took out scenes, too. Why? And why did they sanitize it? In several scenes they took out an innocent natural swear word, and they cut almost entirely the crew's expression of their real wishes when they think they are returning to La Rochelle.

In addition the film was shot twice, I think, when it was made -- once in German and once in English. That is I do not remember the film being overdubbed. Here it is in German with overdubbed English and the dubbing is not so good.

I am searching now for the proper version, sheesh.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2001
Format: DVD
Wolfgang Peterson's classic Das Boot, is now almost 20 years old. I didn't even remember this movie very well anymore when I had the chance to see it again. DB, recognized as the best submarine movie of all time, one of the most heart-pounding thrillers ever filmed (and of course, one of the top war movies) shows a WWII period when submarine duty in Nazi Germany was considered an elite job. It was nearly every young man's dream to be granted the rare privilege of serving the fatherland aboard one of the glorious U-Boats. But only 25% of these would return -The grim truth proved to be radically different from the shining fiction. Submarine service was a gruelling, debilitating, dehumanising experience, and Das Boot was the first motion picture to de-mythologize it completely. Within the bowels of the submarine there is a huge contrast between the absolute boredom and the action moments: The crew is anxious for combat, facing continuous boredom for days and days, but when they do find a possible kill, their joy can quickly turn to unbearable fear and panic. The horror and destruction caused by Nazi U-Boats' crews also somewhat clashes with moments of the captain, like when he calls Hitler's minions fools or when himself and the crew are deeply disturbed watching the drowning and burning death of enemy sailors, swimming towards the U-Boat while the german commander gives orders to drift away from them, knowing they could not take prisoners - "Why didn't their own boats save them?!"
I could go on, but since this movie is so well known, I'll give up trying to describe it (just watch it, trust me) and will focus on the DVD transfer instead... My friends have shown no interest in this title, and I heard some "that sucks for DVD, it's way old, sound and image are lousy". Oh, how wrong were they. This version of Das Boot has very good-looking image. Picture looks clear and clean, the original negative has been restored in this very good anamorphic transfer. There is also one hour of additional footage, now being shown as Peterson considered it better. Most amazing is perhaps the new Dolby Digital 6 channel soundtrack of completely remastered audio. It has nothing to do with the "old Das Boot" and it will blow you away. There seems to be things going on all over the place, all the time. Sonar pings, water drops, the creaking and cranking of the structure when the boat is being crushed by excessive depth, rivets beginning to pop being heard coming from all directions, the sounds of the ocean, etc. This is an amazingly enveloping sound, which is now a reference (I also have Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan, considered two of the best DD/DTS audio discs, and this version matches them easily when it comes to audio impact). Be sure to watch the movie track in the original german+subtitles - Even with good English soundtrack, that's the way the U-boat would sound.
As extras, you get a somewhat short Making-Of and an audio commentary track by director Wolfgang Petersen, actor Jurgen Prochnow (The Captain) and the director's cut supervisor. Petersen talks for most of this commentary. Commentaries are often boring and rather uninformative, but in this case we get lots of technical detail from Petersen, and in general the commentary is very useful and enjoyable. The talk about how Petersen and crew built these sets down to the last detail is incredible to listen to. This is one the best DVD commentaries around.
There's quality and also quantity: You don't get a slow-paced commentary, this one has almost no pauses, the group talks consistently throughout the 3:30 hours. Even if you think you won't have the pacience to endure the 200 minutes, give it a try. This is a very good movie when it comes to content and acting, and if that isn't enough for you, it's worth watching just for the fantastic audio, and very good commentary. The only weak aspect is perhaps the (now) not-so impressive visual special effect of the depth charges, now showing its age, and the fairly basic DVD menus, but those are minor stains. Overall, I was very impressed with DB Director's Cut - One of my favourite movies.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
In 1981, German filmmaker and screenwriter Wolfgang Petersen began their work on the film adaptation of Lothar-Gunther Buchheim's 1973 German world war II novel.

Buckheim who was an officer in the German Navy was a war correspondent who drew and took photographs and in 1941, joined the U-96 on their seventh patrol during the Battle of the Atlantic and with his experience, he wrote "Die Eichenlaubfahrt" (The Oak-Leaves Patrol) and later on writing a novel based on his experienced in "Das Boot" (the Boat) which would feature him as a fictionalized autobiographical character known as Lt. Werner.

As Wolfgang Petersen took on the directorial reigns of "Das Boot", not only would the film become the most expensive German film at that time, it would be the most daunting and challenging film that the filmmaker has ever worked on and though the film was not a financial success, it was critically acclaimed, a big hit in the United States and other countries, winner of two of the six Academy Awards that the film was nominated for and also would eventually lead Petersen to an International career which would lead to him directing Hollywood films "In the Line of Fire", "Outbreak", "Air Force One", "The Perfect Storm" and "Poseidon".

It is important to note that "Das Boot" was released in 1981 as a 150-minute film. The longer version that many people watched was a three 100-minute episode series aired on television in 1984 (followed by six 50-minute episodes in 1988).

Seeing the power of how the longer TV series was compared to the original theatrical film, producer Ortwin Freyermuth who worked with Petersen on his 1991 film "Shattered" asked the filmmaker about the possibility of taking the longer footage from the TV series and creating a longer version of the film. Petersen was open to it but only if Freyermuth can raise the financing to make it happen.

And sure enough, Ortwin Freyermuth made it happen! And it's due to the emerging DVD technology at the time as studios wanted to release films for a generation who cared about the quality of film and audio.

But it was not that easy as the original negatives for the film was submerged underwater due to a flood and while many of the reels were rescued, the audio portion was damaged to the point where existing sound would have to be baked and captured digitally. Fortunately, both video and audio were rescued and the painstaking effort of editing by Hannes Nikel, getting copies of the original soundtrack from Klaus Doldigner and working with a company to bring the film with new immersive surround sound and also re-recording the English dubbing for the film.

In the end, "Das Boot - The Director's Cut" was released on DVD and became a best selling DVD and for many DVD fans, is a must-own release!

Fast forward to 2011 and here we are with "Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set" improving on the wonderful DVD version with 1080p High Definition and as for that soundtrack that everyone loved, now it is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA.

The 2011 release comes with both the Director's Cut and the original theatrical version plus newer special features including an exclusive new documentary and more!

VIDEO:

"Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set" is presented in 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:85:1). It's important to note that this film was released back in 1981 and also that this film is 30-years-old. This movie was created before CG and a lot of the scenes were created with technology that was used back then, including the use of miniature models. It's also important to note that the version that the worked on is the longer director's cut version.

So, with that being said, let's begin with the "Das Boot: The Director's Cut". This version of the film looks fantastic and much better than its DVD counterpart. You can actually see the skin pores, the various age marks on the skin of the Captain, the hair follicles, the detail of clothing to the detail of wounds.

The colors that you see from the red and blue lighting (amber colors come alive during the British convoy on fire) is colorful and vibrant and while skin colors are natural and black levels are deep, there is a good amount of grain that can be seen but also the actual film seems to come alive. I was very impressed by the picture quality of the film.

But it's not 100% perfect. There is some banding during certain scenes that really showcase the lights and of course, certain shots of the submarine (shorter scenes), you can see a lot of noise which probably is more enhanced in HD than it was on DVD. By no means is the banding or the noise affecting your viewing pleasure of the film because those scenes are rather short and miniscule to the more positive PQ scenes throughout the film.

"Das Boot" on Blu-ray makes a world of difference compared to its DVD counterpart and PQ-wise, this film looks magnificent on Blu-ray!

As for the original theatrical version, while presented in a higher bit-rate, it doesn't have that sharpness, contrast and detail of the longer Director's Cut version. In fact, some parts, you can tell that the look of the film, looks its age. But there's no comparison to the PQ of the shorter film versus the Director's Cut.

Also, while most people may be intrigued to see the original theatrical version and see what newer scenes were added to the Director's Cut, if anyone is to watch "Das Boot" for the first time, one must watch it via the Director's Cut version. It's the best way to watch the film and it does make a difference.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

"Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set" is presented in German and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. And clearly, the lossless soundtrack is phenomenal. If you have the proper audio setup, "Das Boot" is magnificent. You can each droplet of water and is it lands, hear every bubble from the outside of the submarine, hear the steel of the submarine compress and expand, hear the ambiance inside the submarine from the men who are working during the most silent of times to the most alarming of times during battle.

Ambiance of one walking on the metal flooring, the twisting of a valve, a call from the distance, a scream from the distance, the radio playing at a distance, the torpedo hitting its targets to a depth charge hitting the U-boat, "Das Boot" is immersive!

Even outside of the submarine, the swishes of ocean water from left to right and right to left and while you are in the middle watching and feeling you are right there! You hear everything and as much as the DVD version was wonderful in terms of its soundtrack back then, one must watch "Das Boot" in HD to truly see how the lossless audio soundtrack enhances one's appreciation for this film! I was amazed to hear the sounds this much clearly and this much immersive compared to when I did watch this film on DVD.

It's also important to note that the music by Klaus Doldinger and hearing it in lossless is also wonderful!

While it was my preference to watch this film with its original German dialogue in 5.1 DTS-HD MA, there is a English dub included. Bare in mind, the voice acting is British (and in some way, it felt weird to watch German's speak British, since the enemy on the water was the British) and because the original German film wanted to showcase the various dialects, the same can be said with the British voice acting and some of the dialogue is hard to understand and I felt I needed the subtitles on just for that. But you do have a choice between the Germana and English lossless soundtrack!

It's one of the few films where audio and also silence makes a big difference in a film and I can tell you right now, this is a brilliant lossless soundtrack!

Subtitles are Arabic, Danish, Dutch, English, English SDH, Finnish, French, Hindi, Norwegian and Swedish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set" comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

Filmmakers Commentary - Featuring a new audio commentary by Wolfgang Petersen revisiting the director's cut version of the movie along with Ortwin Freyermuth.

DISC 2:

The Perfect Boat - The Director's Cut - (13:02) The process of "Das Boot", the theatrical movie, the TV series and the making of the longer version of the film and the challenges to make the longer version in 1996.
Maria's Take - (9:16) Maria Petersen (assistant director) reflects with husband/director Wolfgang Petersen on working on the set of "Das Boot".
Historical Material - Featuring the original "Behind-the-Scenes" 1981 featurette (1:00:20) and "The Battle of the Atlantic" (1983) featurette (40:18) which is a German documentary with interviews with former WW2 veterans from both the German and British side.
Captain's Tour - Inside the Boat - (8:12) Actor Jurgen Prochnow gives us a tour of a submarine - Rooms Overview, Entry Conning Tower, Torpedo Room and Crew Quarters, Captain's and Officer Rooms, The Control Room, Petty Officers Room & Gallery and Diesel & Electric Motor Rooms.
Wolfgang Petersen - Back to the Boat - (44:48) Wolfgang Petersen, Jurgen Prochnow, Director's Cut Producer Ortwin Freyermuth visit the original location of where "Das Boot" was shot and visiting the submarine and reflecting on memories from the past.

EXTRAS:

"Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set" comes with a slipcover case.

JUDGMENT CALL:

"Das Boot" is one of the best war films of all time! It's also the definitive masterpiece for filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen.

While I do know that the original author of the "Das Boot" novel had issues with Wolfgang Petersen's film and how certain situations depicted in the film (such as the crew partying in their quarters to have fun and make time fly by quickly), the fact is that this film is brilliant in many levels.

Not only does Wolfgang Petersen capture the loneliness of men being inside a submarine and capturing the various emotions that the men inside the submarine had, may it be out of boredom, fear or being in survival mode, the truth of the matter is that war is ugly and there are wide range of emotions that can take place in war and Petersen manages to get this crew of unknown talent, many who have never acted before, to make the film feel true and authentic.

Bare in mind, this was not a easy film to shoot. Not only were smaller-sized models and life-sized models of the submarine were created but the crew would shoot during the worst of conditions and risk their lives in order to make these shots work. Even production delays took place as the worst things that one can imagine happening during filming, did happen.

According to Petersen, the crew and talent were extremely exhausted and tired (as it required a long time to shoot the film, unexpected delays as well as a grueling schedule to get things right) and those scenes with the crew submerged in water, apparently one even caught pneumonia. Even the submarine that took one year to build was damaged during the storms and while the crew and film were able to get back to land safely, Petersen awoke to a urgent call that the submarine has disappeared.

Not only had it disappeared, parts of it were in the middle of the ocean and later hitting ocean shore. Plagued with even more problems, the crew manage to take the salvaged parts and make it happen. With careful cinematography and editing, you can't tell by watching the film that the submarine was not in the best of shape. And there are so many of these little tidbits of factoids that we learn through the audio commentary and also featurettes.

And once you are done with the film and are familiar with the curmudgeonly remarks made by the creator of the original novel, if you want to learn about the actual war in the ocean during World War 2, you are also provided an 40+ minute documentary on the subject.

There was true commitment in making this film work and when one goes through the special features and learns of how much went into creating this film, one would be surprised. It was not easy and with everyone's hard work, all of this has added to the efficacy of "Das Boot".

Herbert Gronemeyer does a wonderful job in playing Lt. Werner and his expressions gives us the idea of how fearful he was during those moments when you think you may die or are going to die.

Klaus Wennemann plays a Chief Engineer who longs for his sick wife and you know that deep inside, he should be with her but at the same time, know that his experience is what is needed because there is not many others who are alive that can save a submarine if all goes wrong.

But the person who rises to the occasion of establishing decorum on the submarine is Capt. Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock played by Jurgen Prochnow. He is the man who holds his emotions in check for the crew, trying to remain calm and not let anyone know of his emotional well-being, especially when it looks very bleak for the submarine and the entire crew.

I may not be the Word War 2 aesthete but I do know when I watch a good film, not only technically through its direction, editing, cinematography but also a film's storytelling and performance.

This film, "Das Boot" was not an easy film for Wolfgang Petersen. It's never easy when you create a film based on Nazi Germany and focus on the Nazi's. The fact is that many people on the boat were young people who probably didn't care or know the extreme about political ideals. The captain was cynical towards war and his role for the Nazi's and you have young people being young people on a submarine, not discussing the Nazi extremes or politics or even Hitler. These people were hired to do a job and follow their captain.

By no means does this film glorify the Nazi's because by film's beginning and by film's end, and of course knowing the history of the U-Boats, you know that things don't go well for the Germans. The question is who lives? Who dies? And what are the situations that will clearly affect the crew. I can tell you right now, when I first watched "Das Boot", it was an ending I was not expecting and by the film's end, I was pretty content with how Petersen ended the film.

"Das Boot" does not contain the banality of WW2 films but it should set the criterion of what can be accomplished with no-name talent and dedication from the talent all the way up to Wolfgang Petersen. This film is a true masterpiece! And I know that word is often over-used but in this case, there is nothing like this film.

And you have to give credit to Wolfgang Petersen and Ortwin Freyermuth for even attempting to create a director's cut of the film. But I'm glad that Freyermuth persisted and following his gut feeling that what he saw on television (the "Das Boot" mini-series) and taking all those additional scenes and creating a longer film. Petersen gives a lot of credit due to the director's cut version's success to his editor Hannes Nikel who worked on making this longer version a reality during a time when Petersen was busy working on "Air Force One".

And as complicated it was to get all the reels of film, getting all the sound digitized and all the painstaking work in making this director's cut a reality, it was met with great success and while my original review of the DVD was very favorable, this Blu-ray release defied my expectations.

"Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set" is magnificent!

And I'll say this again.. "Das Boot" is one of the best war films in cinema. And with its brilliant presentation on Blu-ray, with its awesome PQ and AQ and informative special features that bypasses the original and awesome DVD version. I'm quite confident that you will also find this release to be one of the best war films on Blu-ray!

"Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set" is highly recommended and deserving of 5 stars.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I saw this film in the theater when I was a wee lad, and I hold it largely responsible for my lifelong fascination with Adolf Hitler's Germany and the men who chose to fight for it. Like most thirtysomethings, I grew up watching cornball American war movies and TV shows that usually depicted the Germans (and the Japanese) as comic-opera buffoons ("Hogans Heroes"), sub-human hordes fit only for a burst from a Tommy gun ("Bataan"), or cartoon bad guys with eyepatches, monocoles, dueling scars and varnished black boots, who smoked cigarettes with that peculiar European three-fingered grip and said things like, "You're being very foolish....we have ways of making you talk" but when push came to shove just couldn't seem to shoot straight ("Where Eagles Dare"....and how hard could it possibly be to hit Richard Burton's fat, drunken ass anyway?)
"Das Boot" was the first film I had ever seen that depicted the Germans as human beings fighting for their country (if not necessarily their Party, or Hitler), and it depicted them in all their vulgar, profane, humorous, sweaty, smelly, unshaven, drunken glory. Strangely enough, the movie (like the book by Lothar-Gunther Bucheim, which remains one of my favorites) decides not to give many of the principal characters full names, but merely ranks or first names(The Captain, The First Watch Officer, the Chief of the Boat, etc). I think this was done mainly to keep the 'everyman' feel of things, i.e., to make sure the audience understood that these characters represented the U-boat arm as a whole rather than any particular 'famous' boat such as Prien's, Schepke's, Kretschmer's, Endrass's, etc.) Many people were distinctly uncomfortable seeing the German soldier (or sailor), always depicted as a jackbooted, sadistic robot, shown as more or less indistinguishable from his American counterpart, and I am convinced that this is 50% of the movie's appeal. The other is of course that this is a submarine film, and they are ALWAYS cool.
The U-boat war against the Allies had a number of phases in which each side gained and then lost the advantage. This film is set during the fall of 1941, just before America entered the war, when the tide of the battle was turning against the Germans for the first time after a year of heavy successes against British convoys. The captain of this boat, brilliantly played by Jurgen Prochnow, is an 'old man' at 30 years of age (not merely because his crew is made up of 18 year olds, but because he is one of the few captains to have survived this long) with a half-buried hate for the Nazis and a grudging admiration for the British navy. His officers made up of a willing but rather naive war correspondent, a stiff-necked Hitler admirer, a clownish second officer, a combat-fatigued chief one step from a nervous breakdown, and a brilliant engineer whose wife has an apparently life-threatening disease. Nevertheless, these fellows know their business, and the actors, who (we are told from the DVD commentary) were not only drilled to look and act like real sailors, but recruited from all over Germany and Austria to give the film a feeling of how Hitler's Reich absorbed German-speakers from all over and homogonized them into a fighting machine of ruthless efficiency.
The best thing about the film, which is a director's cut edited down from the enormous, 18 hour "Das Boot" mini-series originally aired in Germany, is its production. The film takes place almost entirely on the U-boat, and the boredom, claustrophobia, tension, heat, stench and bad lighting seem to close around the viewer as if he were actually on board. In particular the depth-charging scenes are agonizing to watch, as lightbulbs burst, control panels short out, water spurts in from broken fittings and hull bolts, driven by the immense pressure of the ocean's depths, explode out like machine-gun bullets into the crew. The awful nature of the U-boat was that once it struck its target, it was essentially helpless and its destruction or survival depended almost entirely on the ability of one man, the "Kaeleun" (captain) to out-wit the enemy above.
Some reviewers have taken issue with the realism of the anti-Nazi sentiments of the boat's characters, saying that this follows the post-WWII liberal-revisionist German line that there were basically two kinds of Germans during the war: those who were simply fighting for their country and had no use for Hitler, and the Nazi villains who adamantly supported him and his crimes. Many English/American novelists hold this view, a la Jack Higgins, so as to be able to create both "sympathetic" and "evil" German characters. I half-agree with this. The German navy was an extremely apolitical and professional bunch, officers actually being forbidden to join the Nazi Party, and probably many officers echoed the captain's ill feelings in real life. On the other hand, having read works like Stephen Fritz's "Frontsoldaten" and the memiors of Gen. Hans-Ulrich Rudel, I have come to believe that belief in Hitler and National Socialism ran very, VERY deep in the average German for much of the war, and this "good vs evil" mind-set is largely a device of both the Germans and their apologists to avoid this fact.
"The Boat's" DVD extras are interesting, especially the featurette on how the U-boat "set" was a real U-boat (!) constructed from old blueprints by the same manufacturer who made them in the war (!!).
I strongly suggest that English-speaking audiences watch the subtitled version first rather than the English-dubbed version, although unlike most dubbed versions this one is dubbed by the actual actors, since most of the principals, including Prochnow, speak fluent English. Hearing the German, if you only understand the obvious words, is very important to the experience.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2000
Format: DVD
I (as a German) always wondered what I would have been like if I was born 50-60 years earlier. "Das Boot" showed me: Perhaps I would have been one of these young soldiers. When they enter their submarine, they just want to get to the battle, as they belive in Hitler and his promises. For them, the Allies are the "bad guys". But as the battle starts, they begin to learn that there's no glory and honor, but just pain and suffering on both sides.
"Das Boot" does not try to find an excusion for the crimes that where caused by the Nazis during WWII - it only shows the true face of war. And it shows real, normal and "small" people being in the war and trying to survive. But the movie is still entertaining - you won't see too much blood in it, you won't become sick because of a detailed view of exploding bodies. Because of this, you are able to keep on watching, and it's important to watch until the end. It is thrilling, yet realistic. You really feel like being inside. Not much to say about the weak points. The Special Effects are relatively poor sometimes, but that's not too important.
BTW: If You like the film because of its message, try to get the second-best German anti-war movie called "Die Brücke". I saw it as a teenager and never even wanted to TOUCH a gun afterwards.
And please excuse my terrible English... ;-)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
The following is my review of the re-released (director's cut, with subtitles) of Wolfgang Peterson's "Das Boot". I give the film 4 stars.
Das Boot is a gripping and stunningly authentic journey of the crew of a German U-boat (U-96) in the second world war. The film captures the day to day hardships of the sailors on U-96, mainly through the eyes of a war correspondent, Lt.Werner. Every aspect of life at sea is depicted: the cramped accommodations, the breakdown of hygiene, and the overall squalor that ensues as forty men live in such a small space for weeks on end. From the beginning Werner becomes steadily more aware that the practice of the U-boat war is quite different from the principle, and that its reality is in contrast to the propaganda. Although largely apolitical, the film does show the subtle contempt that some of men have for the war effort, and presumably the regime that it supports. In the beginning, we see the ship's company partying the night away at a night club in La Rochelle in Nazi occupied France. The younger crewmen drink and carouse seemingly without worry, while the captain (Jergen Prochnow) looks on with grim disbelief at their youth and naiveté. It is here that we see that there is a rift between the veteran sailors and the newcomers. Later in the film, the captain fiercely berates his young (and fanatical) first officer for being too disrespectful of threat posed by their British adversaries. The monotony of the patrol is broken up when word comes that the boat is to intercept a nearby convoy. After a night surface attack, U-96 is depth charged and hounded by the convoy's escort vessels. There are masterful scenes which show the desperate struggle the men undergo to hold the boat together while trying to elude the Destroyers above. The groaning of the hull, the pounding of the depth charges, the frantic cries and orders along with the ghostly pinging of the enemy's sonar create searing suspense, and an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia. A duplicity in the sailors develops as they remain isolated from both their homeland and the source of their ideology. The men cheer wildly when they hear the sound of one of their torpedoes find its mark, but weep when see British sailors burning and drowning in the sea. When U-96 makes a clandestine re-supply rendezvous with an interned German liner on the Spanish coast, the officers are revered. However, the lavish buffet prepared by the Liner's genteel Captain for the "undersea heroes", only alienates the weary U-boat men. It is as if such hospitality is become total vulgarity. This point is emphasised as the liner's officers sieg heil in unison (all in smartly pressed uniforms), while U-96's officers stand ragged and disoriented. The climax of the film comes after the boat is dispatched to the mediteranean via Gibralter. U-96 attempts to sneek past the British held port, but is hotly recieved. Following a brief and harrowing chase, U-96 finds itself resting on the bottom, severely damaged. The prognosis for the stricken vessel is poor, as the engineer and crew attempt to repair her. Possibly the most authentic scenes in the movie are of the measures taken by the men to restore their boat, and resurface. It is at this point, when it becomes apparent that they will most probably not see home again, that we see final closure to the bonding that has been happening between officers and men. Hours tick by as the captain and most of the crew begin to pray that the engineer can "pull it off". The realization that they are likely doomed causes each character to have his own reckoning with the reality of war. The end of the film is grim and ironic, but well in keeping with the theme of the movie, which is the tragic waste of war. Das boot is a movie much in the spirit of "All Quiet on the Western Front". I recommend it for those who like their movies with unflinching honesty and realism, and where the Calvary does not ride over the hill at the end to save the day. END
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 5, 2004
Format: DVD
When a film about World War II has American audiences routing for the Germans, hoping and cheering them on for the success of their mission, one can only become conscious of the ultimate horror and futility of war. One also has watched a helluva movie.

Back in the early 80's I called in sick (along with some friends) to see the opening of Petersen's Das Boot. We were all stunned. Went out for a beer and then returned to the theatre and watched it all over again.

Petersen masterfully developed his cast into a crew who are no longer "the enemy" but fresh faced kids, neither prepared nor aware of the horror that was waiting them. When I first saw "Das Boot" - I was the same age as those kids so it resonated more powerfully than I could have possibly imagined. In this wonderful uncut release of the original German miniseries we're forced to spend even more time with the crew of U-96 and in that time get to knew them better. We see friendships and bonds formed, the irritability that comes with lack of privacy and tension so dense it becomes an almost physical presence. We also get more of the sense of what war really is - immense spans of boredom and ennui interrupted by the occasional horrors of violence and death.

Petersen kept his cast indoors and unshaven during the entire shoot with the resulting effect that the crew actually looks like a group of men who have not seen natural light, or breathed fresh air for 65 days. Additionally, the actors were all put through vigorous physical training so that when racing through the set of a dangerously reconstructed U-Boat, they move naturally with an almost balletic swiftness that is dazzling.

This is masterful filmmaking of the highest order, with sound and lighting that capture the claustrophobic nature of a submarine, almost suffocating the viewer. The scenes of Das Boot racing through the Atlantic, it's difficult near fatal destruction in the narrow Strait of Gibraltar will have your blood pumping at fever pitch.

The ensemble cast is uniformly excellent, each actor - even ones with little to no dialogue, making bold indelible choices in developing their characters.

Jürgen Prochnow as the Captain gives a remarkable, strong performance, making one believe - from the very beginning - this is a true leader of men. You have no difficulty beliving this crew standing behind this captain's every decision.

Petersen's writing of Herbert Grönemeyer as the eager young reporter, Werner is a masterful creation. Werner becomes the multi-faceted prism through whom we watch and live this story. Part Greek chorus, part conscience of the uninvolved, we join him as an outsider on the inside, becoming participants in this heart rending drama. Grönemeyer's performance becomes the very soul of Das Boot.

"Das Boot" remains one of my all time favorite films and to finally be able to own and see it as Wolfgang Petersen intended is one of the best things to happen since the invention of DVD.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2011
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
The Amazon.com editorial review said: "This 282-minute version of Das Boot is the full-length TV series, originally shown in six parts but here edited into a seamless whole."

After reading that, I bought the Blu-Ray version (Two-Disc Collector's Set). This contains the Director's Cut (208 min.) and the Original Theatrical Cut (149 mins)

So I was a bit surprised since I wanted the 282 minute version... I'll keep this one but...

I know Amazon has done this before when they combine multiple reviews on different formats but I ~thought~ I was getting the 282-minute version on Blu-Ray...
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2001
Format: DVD
For those who have never seen this movie, you can read all the other reviews for a synopsis. Rest assured, it is every bit as good as all these 5 star ratings testify to, and more. The acting is flawless. The cinematography is ingenious. The musical score sends chills up your spine. And let's not quibble about whether it's a "war" or "anti-war" movie. This is an argument for pseudo-intellectuals. This film is packed with realism and tension, threaded together by a cohesive and gripping storyline. By comparison, Das Boot makes most other war movies almost an embarrassment to watch.
For those who have seen the original film, the Director's Cut DVD offers vast improvements via re-mastered sound (which even on a simple stereo set-up is incredible) and a crystal clear picture. There are 60 or so minutes of extra footage (of which none is "throwaway"), bringing your pleasurable viewing time to well over 3 hours. The Director's Commentary is helpful and insightful. I have purchased many "classics" on DVD and there always seems to be one area (special features, picture quality, etc.) that is disappointing. Not so with this version of Das Boot - it surpassed my greatest expectations.
There is, however, one item worth mentioning that may not please Das Boot afficianados. There are 3 or 4 instances (English version) where the language has been tamed down. This struck me as rather odd since the film still carries an "R" rating. While I'm not a fan of foul language just for the sake of it, it was a little disappointing not to hear some of the "pedestrian" terms used by the crew in the original film. Of course, one can always go for the more authentic approach and listen in German while viewing the English subtitles (which, by the way, do not come close in translation to the actual English audio dialog). These are minor flaws that cannot possibly detract from the superb rating this film deserves.
Congratulations to Petersen and Co. for a stellar effort! This is one you'll watch again and again.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Hubby and I have seen this film about 5 times and own our own copy, of course. We've seen it in the theater and at home. We've seen the Director's cut and regular version, always the German language version. Director's Cut merely puts back in some footage. It is good footage but we can't really say we missed it from the original. Every time we see this film, we are on the edge of our seats. It is about a crew of German submarinists during World War II. They are captained by Jürgen Prochnow, who does the acting job of his life. Believe me, you would follow this man to hell and back as your leader. His eyes alone are absolutely mesmerizing. I totally believed he was the captain of that boat and that we were out in the Atlantic during World War II. My andrenalin would start pumping on every mission "we" set out upon. The soundtrack went with it perfectly and fit with battle on the high seas. I'd never really seen World War II from the other side's point of view.

Somewhat like Oliver Stone's "Platoon," you see the German side of the war from the perspective of the men out in the field actually fighting and dying for it. These guys aren't around to see Hitler in action or to get all riled up over the Third Reich. They've been called to serve their country from almost day #1 of the war and are on this claustrophobic submarine until they die or the war is over. In fact, very few German submariners survived World War II so this is very akin to seeing Vietnam from grunt level. It's sad to say that when director Petersen was a German director, he was capable of making one of the most splendid movies I'd ever seen yet, when he came to America, he eventually lost his way artistically. If this is an example of our Americanizing or Hollywoodizing a first rate director from another country, I hope we don't let anymore come to this country. Unless I hear something to the contrary, it appears that WE ruined this first rate artist. He's certainly not the first we've ruined and I'm afraid he won't be the last. To think that this man has BOTH "Das Boot" (A++) AND "Perfect Storm" (F--)on his filmography. What a shame.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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