A varied group of passengers boarding a ship bound for post-war Germany represents a microcosm of 1930s society.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An aging actress travels to Rome with her husband; after he suddenly dies during the flight, she begins a passionate affair with a young gigolo.

Director: José Quintero
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, Coral Browne
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

During World War I, believing her fiancé to be dead, a young ballerina loses her job and is forced to turn to prostitution.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Robert Taylor, Lucile Watson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A woman unhappy in her passionless marriage leaves her husband for a younger and more ardent lover.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Kenneth More, Eric Portman
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of courtesan and dance-hall girl Emma Hamilton, including her relationships with Sir William Hamilton and Admiral Horatio Nelson and her rise and fall, set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Director: Alexander Korda
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Alan Mowbray
Anna Karenina (1948)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A married woman's affair with a dashing young officer has tragic results.

Director: Julien Duvivier
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Kieron Moore
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Whelan
Stars: Charles Laughton, Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

At the height of the Roman Civil War, a young Cleopatra meets a middle-aged Julius Caesar who teaches her how to rule Egypt.

Director: Gabriel Pascal
Stars: Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh, Stewart Granger
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A middle-aged iconoclast, doggedly avoiding the tedium of employment and conventional life, faces the prospect of losing custody of his young ward.

Director: Fred Coe
Stars: Jason Robards, Barbara Harris, Martin Balsam
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An ambitious young accountant schemes to wed a wealthy factory owner's daughter, despite falling in love with a married older woman.

Director: Jack Clayton
Stars: Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret, Heather Sears
R.P.M. (1970)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

R.P.M. stands for (political) revolutions per minute. Anthony Quinn plays a liberal college professor at a west coast college during the hedy days of campus activism in the late 1960s. ... See full summary »

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Ann-Margret, Gary Lockwood
Darling (1965)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A beautiful but amoral model sleeps her way to the top of the London fashion scene at the height of the Swinging Sixties.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An ego-driven, aspiring physician, intolerant of the weaknesses of others, especially those closest to him, comes to grips with his own imperfections.

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Siegfried Rieber (as Jose Ferrer)
...
...
...
...
...
Pepe (as Jose Greco)
...
Karl Glocken
...
Capt. Thiele
...
Julius Lowenthal (as Heinz Ruehmann)
...
Frau Hutten
...
Amparo (as Barbara Luna)
Alf Kjellin ...
Freytag
...
Lizzi Spoekenkieker
Edit

Storyline

1933: An ocean liner belonging to a second-rate German company is making a twenty-six day voyage from Veracruz, Mexico to Bremerhaven, Germany. Along the way it will stop in Cuba to pick up a large group of Spanish farm laborers who are being shipped home and who will be housed like cattle in steerage. There it will also pick up La Condesa, a Spanish countess. It will stop in Tenerife, where the farm workers will disembark and where La Condesa will be sent to a German-run prison for her "traitorous" activities in Cuba. This voyage will be the last of three for the ship's doctor, Willi Schumann, who has a serious heart ailment and who thought he could find some meaning to his life through this job. Willi and La Condesa fall in love, with the ship's Captain Thiele, who is Willi's closest friend on board, believing the drug-addicted La Condesa is only using him to get her fixes. Willi and La Condesa have to figure out if there is a future for them after the voyage, as Willi's life also ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

german | ship | american | love | germany | See All (227) »

Taglines:

Everywhere...Everyone's Calling It the Must-See Picture of the Year! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

October 1965 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Das Narrenschiff  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Kramer did not enjoy working with Oskar Werner, who refused to play the bar scene stage left. Kramer had to have the set rebuilt to accommodate the actor. See more »

Goofs

As the passengers disembark at the end, Johann pauses on the steps to watch Amparo walk by, when Tenny appears walking down the steps behind Johann. Immediately the film cuts to a shot of the gangplank above, where Tenny is seen just leaving the ship. See more »

Quotes

Lowenthal: How old are you?
Elsa: Sixteen.
Lowenthal: Adolescence. What is adolescence? Adolescence is a time when people worry about things there's no need to worry about. Sixteen... I promise you, at seventeen you will be even more charming than you are now. At twenty-one, you will be gorgeous. And at twenty-five... devastating! And I won't stand any argument!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Bob Newhart Show: Ship of Shrinks (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Al Hoffman, Al Goodhart, Milton Ager & Edward G. Nelson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A grand, glossy excursion, with a flavorful international cast keeping the weighty boat afloat.
8 March 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

One of my favorite indulges over the years has been "Ship of Fools," a 1965 glossy, episodic entertainment done strictly grand scale. Based on Katherine Anne Porter's epic novel, the Oscar-nominated "Best Picture" centers on a sundry group of travelers circa 1933 who clash "Grand Hotel" style on a German ocean liner bound, via Mexico, for Germany (and impending doom it would seem) just as strong Nazi sentiment was breeding. The ship becomes a microcosm of pre-WWII life and mores, with a plethora of subplots alternately swelling and ebbing throughout - situations that alter the course of some of its passengers and crew members, for better or worse.

From the clever opening collage of credits (don't miss this part) set to a catchy, flavorful Latin score to its fascinating all-star disembarkation at the end, it's smooth sailing for most of this trip, guided with an assured hand by the always capable Stanley ("Judgment at Nuremberg") Kramer, with certain cast members (Simone Signoret, Oskar Werner, Vivien Leigh, Lee Marvin, Michael Dunn) coming off better than others (José Ferrer, Elizabeth Ashley, George Segal).

A number of compelling vignettes acted out by the choice, eclectic ensemble make up for the sometimes turgid melodramatics that occur on board as our "ship of fools" are forced to examine their own pride and prejudice while victimized by others. Who can forget the tormented Simone Signoret and Oskar Werner (both Oscar-nominated) as the morphine-addicted political prisoner and dutiful ship's physician who provide the film with its most poignant and tragic shipboard romance. Their clandestine encounters are exquisitely written and beautifully realized. Or Vivien Leigh's coy, aging elitist, Mary Treadwell, who delivers a brilliantly despairing monologue in front of a makeup mirror that, in turn, sets up a wildly climactic shoe-bashing scene with Lee Marvin's besotted baseballer when he viciously assaults, then profusely apologizes to the now-humiliated matron after mistaking her in the dark for a cooch dancer. Or José Greco & company's steamy, frenetic flamenco sequence during a raucous, after-hours party. Or dwarf actor Michael Dunn's sublime Greek Chorus that effectively bookends the movie (the Oscar-nominated Dunn subsequently played evil Dr. Loveless on TV's "Wild, Wild West" series). These glorious scenes and more help to balance out the less serviceable ones, particularly those involving Jose Ferrer's boisterous, irritating Nazi bigot who borders on caricature, and Elizabeth Ashley and George Segal's turbulent lovers who come off dull and forced.

Ernest Laszlo's lustrous black-and-white cinematography was suitably Oscar awarded, while the whole look, feel and tone of the movie is decidedly old-style theatre at its best. This movie has remained one of my all-time favorite wallows.


43 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The clothes etc. - my theory suaheli
The Biggest Fool Napoleon799
An Old Favorite tylermadcap
What is the German song sung with Piano CineTigers
What was La Condesa's story? Noir-It-All
Jug Band Music eotl2002
Discuss Ship of Fools (1965) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?