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Darkness Fell on Gotenhafen (1960)

Nacht fiel über Gotenhafen (original title)
| Drama, War | 1960 (Spain)
In 1945 with the advance of the red army millions of refugees fled from the east of Germany. The "Wilhelm Gustloff" loaded with 10,000 civilians and wounded soldiers was sank by a Soviet submarine in less than 55 minutes.


Frank Wisbar




Cast overview, first billed only:
Sonja Ziemann ... Maria Reiser
Gunnar Möller ... Kurt Reiser
Erik Schumann ... Hans Schott
Brigitte Horney ... Generalin von Reuss
Mady Rahl ... Edith Marquardt
Erich Dunskus ... Vater Marquardt
Willy Maertens Willy Maertens ... Vater Reiser
Edith Schultze-Westrum ... Mutter Reiser
Wolfgang Preiss ... Dr. Beck
Tatjana Iwanow Tatjana Iwanow ... Dienstmädchen Meta
Christine Mylius Christine Mylius ... Frau Rauh
Aranka Jaenke Aranka Jaenke ... Frau Kahle
Dietmar Schönherr ... Gaston
Georg Lehn Georg Lehn ... Pinkoweit, Stationsvorsteher
Hela Gruel Hela Gruel ... Frau Pinkoweit


At the beginning of 1945, Germany is a defeated nation. Its armies in the east are in full retreat. Due to the rapid advance of the Soviet Red Army, the German-held port of Gdynia (Gotenhafen) is threatened with encirclement. The German command decides to use the port in order to evacuate wounded soldiers and thousands of fleeing civilians from Courland, East Prussia, and Danzig-West Prussia. Two major transport and hospital ships are selected for the mission dubbed Operation Hannibal. One is the Hansa and the other is the Gustloff. Young Maria Reiser is a newly wed whose husband left for the Eastern Front, shortly after their wedding. However, Maria falls in love with Hans Schott, a naval officer assigned to the hospital-ship 'Wilhelm Gustloff'. They have a baby together since Maria is convinced that her husband will never return from the front. However, her husband returns home wounded. With thousands of civilians and wounded soldiers scrambling to board passage on the evacuation ... Written by nufs68

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Drama | War


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Did You Know?


The German ship MV Wilhelm Gustloff was evacuating troops,civilians and officials from occupied Poland to Germany as part of Operation Hannibal. On January 30th 1945, it was sunk by the Soviet submarine S-13, a Stalinets-class submarine of the Soviet Navy, commanded by Soviet naval captain Alexander Ivanovich Marinesko.For this feat captain Marinesko received the Soviet Order of the Red Banner and was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union (posthumously, in May 1990). See more »

User Reviews

Collide with destiny
31 January 2001 | by Frank-87See all my reviews

The sinking of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" is the biggest ship catastrophe ever. There were more than 10,000 people aboard - including over 5,000 children; more than 9,000 (!!) died, drowning and freezing to death. It is very odd that this drama is far less known or "popular" as e.g. the "Titanic" desaster, which was a ship of the rich and the super rich.

There are several popular books about the "Gustloff", but up to this day moviewise this is the only "monument" in rememberance of those 9,000 people who were buried alive in the Ostsee.

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West Germany



Release Date:

1960 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Darkness Fell on Gotenhafen See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film Hansa See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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