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Das Boot (1981)

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The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror.



(screenplay), (novel)
1,997 ( 97)
Top Rated Movies #70 | Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Klaus Wennemann ...
Hubertus Bengsch ...
Bernd Tauber ...
Martin May ...
Hinrich (as Heinz Hönig)
Ralf Richter ...
Frenssen (as Ralph Richter)


It is 1942 and the German submarine fleet is heavily engaged in the so-called "Battle of the Atlantic" to harass and destroy British shipping. With better escorts of the destroyer class, however, German U-boats have begun to take heavy losses. "Das Boot" is the story of the crew of one such U-Boat, with the film examining how these submariners maintained their professionalism as soldiers and attempted to accomplish impossible missions, all the while attempting to understand and obey the ideology of the government under which they served. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


40 000 men were sent out on German U-boats... 30 000 never returned See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some war violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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Release Date:

10 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Boot  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,994, 14 February 1982, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,487,676, 9 November 2013

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (VHS) | (special uncut DVD) | (Original Uncut Version)

Sound Mix:

(director's cut)| (original release)| (director's cut)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Rutger Hauer was offered to play the Captain, but turned it down to do Blade Runner (1982). See more »


SS Weser was built in 1922 by Norddeutscher Lloyd and was the third ship to bear that name. The SS Weser was captured by HMCS Prince Robert off the Pacific coast of Mexico in 1940 and so could not have been interned in Spain. During the war the SS Weser was thought to have been responsible for the sinking of the British ship, SS Anglo-Saxon (sunk August 21 1940), but this sinking was later attributed to the German merchantman, SS Widder. See more »


Johann: Captain, I wish to apologize.
Captain: You can't just apologize, Johann. You left your battle station at a critical moment. Also, you disobeyed my command.
Johann: Will I be court-martialed?
Captain: How many patrols have you done?
Johann: It's my ninth.
Captain: Why you?
Johann: It was a mistake. I didn't... It was... It... All of a sudden... As if... It won't ever happen again, sir. You can depend on it. I swear.
Captain: It's all right, Johann.
Johann: No court-martial?
Captain: [nods] Get some sleep.
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Referenced in Who's the Boss?: Micelli's Marauders (1990) See more »


Varsity Rag
Music by Ray Henderson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

15 years and I'm still thinking about it
8 September 1999 | by See all my reviews

Das Boot is not just a great war film: it's a great film period. Maybe it is true that epic themes make the greatest novels and films. Here is a movie that explores heroism, duty, patriotism, hope, fear and the futility of war--all grand themes--explored in the confined, and collapsing, spaces of a German u-boat.

I saw this film when I was a freshman in college during a weekend that I later dubbed my "depressing movie festival." (The Wall and Apocalypse Now were the other weekend "entries.") Of these films, it was Das Boot that haunted me--when I laid down at night, I saw Jurgen Proctow's pained blue eyes. When I woke in the morning, I felt as if I were escaping through the hatch of the submarine. I could not shake the images, and now some fifteen years later, I still remember how completely meaningless the movie made everything seem, and the nihilistic message stayed with me for a long, long time. How few films are there which affect the viewers on this level. To say this film is "powerful" seems so weak a description.

Part of the "power" of the film comes, I think, from a certain restraint in the direction. So often, films which aspire to move the audience quickly fall into melodrama, over-acting, and overblown images. Too much. These often succeed in the immediate response (usually crying) but fail to impact the viewer on anything more than a surface level. Here, it is the small moments which fill the screen. Everywhere, all around is War, but for these men as we witness them, war does not begin with a capital "W". It is reality, not a grand concept. The director lets the story shock and horrify the audience, not by forcing it, but by letting the story just tell itself. Drama, tension and resolution occur naturally in Das Boot, which contributes to the very real impact of the film.

Story is a 10, direction is a 10, acting is a 10 and the cinematography is a 10. One of the all-time greatest films.

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