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U47 - Kapitänleutnant Prien (1958)

In 1939 German U-boat captain Günther Prien receives orders to infiltrate the British Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow and sink British warships.


Harald Reinl


J. Joachim Bartsch (screenplay), Udo Wolter (story)




Complete credited cast:
Dieter Eppler ... Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien
Sabine Sesselmann ... Ingeborg Prien
Joachim Fuchsberger ... Oberleutnant Thomas von Birkeneck
Harald Juhnke ... Der Smut
Uta Hallant Uta Hallant ... Alwine Kille (as Ute Hallant)
Olga Tschechowa ... Die Fürstin (as Olga Tschechova)
Richard Häussler ... Kommodore
Raidar Müller-Elmau Raidar Müller-Elmau ... Leutnant Bluhm (as Raidar Müller)
Ernst Reinhold Ernst Reinhold ... Leutnant Raufuss
Matthias Fuchs ... Jörg Christiansen
Joachim Mock Joachim Mock ... Kapitänleutnant Schopf
Horst Naumann Horst Naumann ... Leitender Ingenieur
Dieter Borsche ... Pfarrer Friedrich Kille
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joseph Goebbels ... Self (voice)
Heinz Petruo Heinz Petruo ... Radiosprecher (voice)


In 1939, at the outbreak of WW2, German U-boat captain Günther Prien and his crew receive orders to infiltrate the British Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow and sink British warships.Captain Prien's most prized targets of opportunity would,of course,be any major British battleship or battle cruiser.However, Prien is prepared to attack and sink any target of opportunity,including light cruisers,destroyers,mine-layers or transport ships.German intelligence suspects that some prized British warships are at Scapa Flow,including the famous British battleship HMS Royal Oak.Captain Prien receives his orders directly from Admiral Karl Dönitz,supreme German Naval Commander of the U-boat fleet.Prien and his crew are highly optimistic about their mission.Will their destiny be fulfilled in the Atlantic ? Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A destiny fulfilled in the Atlantic.


Drama | War


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Did You Know?


German submarine U-47 was a VII B-type U-boat built in 1937 in Kiel, Germany, and commissioned in 1938 under Capt. Günther Prien's command. During its career U-47 sank 31 enemy vessels including the British battleship HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flow in Scotland on 14 October 1939. In 1941 U-47 went missing and is presumed to have been sunk by British warships. It had a crew of 47 officers and men. See more »


Referenced in Machi ni deta yajû (1960) See more »

User Reviews

Portrayal of German commandant Prien who penetrated Scapa Flow and sank British battleships
16 April 2010 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is a wartime movie full of stock shots,underwater attacks , tension and historical events.At the beginning of the film is planned a military operation by high command (Doenitz) because of being sunk many civil ships, as Captain Prien is assigned a dangerous mission at Scapa Flow. Prien goes back successfully Germany where is decorated. Later on, a priest, Prien's ex-partner school, ask him help for hide some refugees. Mediocre performance by Dieter Eppler as Prien, an unknown actor who does a wooden acting. As secondaries appear Joachin Fuchsberger as 2º commandant and Peter Carsten , booth of whom played during the 60s several European co-productions. The motion picture is regularly directed by Harald Reinl with too much stock-footage and scale models. He is a craftsman who directed all kind of genres as terror (Torture chamber, The invisible Dr Mabuse), Western (Winnetou saga), Epic (Nibelungen) Krimi and warlike.

The film provides a brief detailing of life aboard and a portrait about the crews subjected to stressful and psychological tensions.In fact the sailors had sleep in shifts.For months they were lodged in close quarters because every inch the space was needed for machinery,supplies and torpedoes.The air was heavy with odors from bilges,diesel oil and unwashed bodies.The men faced sudden death from depth charges ,aerial bombing attacks or the sharp bow of a swift destroyer as happen in this film. Rating : 5,5 average.

The picture is based on on real events , these are the following : Commander Günther Prien (16 January 1908 – presumed 7 March 1941) was one of the outstanding German U-boat aces of the first part of the Second World War, and the first U-boat commander to win the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Under Prien's command, the submarine U-47 sank over 30 Allied ships totaling about 200,000 gross register tons . By far his most famous exploit, however, was the sinking of the British battleship HMS Royal Oak at anchor in the Home Fleet's anchorage in Scapa Flow. Early in World War II, on 14 October 1939, U-47, under the command of Günther Prien, penetrated Scapa Flow and sank the World War I–era battleship HMS Royal Oak anchored in Scapa Bay. Her second torpedo attack blew a 30-foot (9 m) hole in the Royal Oak which, as a result, flooded and quickly capsized. Of the 1,400-man crew, 833 were lost. The wreck is now a protected war grave .

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West Germany



Release Date:

25 September 1958 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

U-47 Lt. Commander Prien See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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