The World War II story of the Royal Navy's effort to defeat Nazi Germany's most powerful warship.


Lewis Gilbert


Edmund H. North (screen story), Edmund H. North (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth More ... Captain Jonathan Shepard
Dana Wynter ... Second Officer Anne Davis
Carl Möhner ... Kapitän Ernst Lindemann (as Carl Mohner)
Laurence Naismith ... First Sea Lord - Sir Dudley Pound - Admiral of the Fleet
Geoffrey Keen ... Assistant Chief of Naval Staff
Karel Stepanek ... Admiral Günther Lutjens
Michael Hordern ... Admiral Jack Tovey - Commander in Chief - HMS King George V
Maurice Denham ... Commander Richards
Michael Goodliffe ... Captain Banister
Esmond Knight ... Captain John Leech - HMS Prince of Wales
Jack Watling ... Signals Officer
Jack Gwillim ... Commodore Wilfrid Patterson - HMS King George V (as Jack Gwillam)
Mark Dignam ... Captain Loben Mound - HMS Ark Royal
Ernest Clark ... Captain Robert Ellis - HMS Suffolk
John Horsley ... Captain Charles Larcom - HMS Sheffield


Chronicles the breakout of the Bismarck during the early days of World War II. Seen from the point of view of the many Naval vessels on both sides and from the central headquarters of the British where the search for the super battleship was controlled. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Personal! Powerful! Human! Heroic!


Action | Drama | History | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Contrary to a previous trivia item implying that the British failed to carry out rescue operations. After the sinking of the Bismack, H.M.S. Devonshire and H.M.S. Maori rescued one hundred eleven German sailors from the sea, (one of whom later died of his injuries), before having to leave the area due to reports of a German U-Boat nearby, as they would have been stationary while getting the survivors aboard and therefore sitting ducks for any torpedo attack. In fact, some of the survivors praised one British Midshipman for trying help a German who had lost both of his arms in the action. See more »


When the Admiral addresses the crew of the Bismarck, he and the Captain are clad in heavy bridge coats, but the crew, on the exposed deck is wearing much lighter clothing. See more »


[last lines]
Captain Jonathan Shepard: [walking into broad daylight] Great heavens! It's nine o'clock in the morning! And I asked you out to dinner.
Anne Davis: We could always make it breakfast, couldn't we?
Captain Jonathan Shepard: Of course.
[exeunt, passing two ratings]
Able Seaman: You know, Harvey, these boys worry me. Four stripes on 'is arm, and he don't know what time of the day it is.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON MAY 1941 See more »


Featured in War Movie Blockbusters (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Historical and warlike film about the commanding staff and battles between the Bismarck battleship and British cruisers
12 January 2015 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is an excellent picture dealing with infamous ship including spectacular battle sequences and prestigious main cast helped by a fleet of the best Brit character players . It's one of the last great Brit pictures about warfare naval action and being based on real incidents . British Navy sets out to locate and sink notorious German battleship during WWII in this most stirring account of the quest for the formidable Bismarck . This is the World War II story of the British Navy's effort to defeat Nazi Germany's most powerful warship .

This is a splendid British film concerning historic deeds during WWII , the naval battle in the Atlantic Ocean between German battleship and British squadron of various ships , carriers and airplanes . This picture is based on fact , but there have been complaints that is most inaccurate . Magnificent performances from Kenneth More as the withdrawn officer director operations supported by a beautiful as well as interesting Dana Wynter . The main and secondary cast are stunningly incarnated by a magnificent plethora of English actors such as Michael Hordern , Maurice Denham , Michael Goodliffe , Jack Gwillim , Michael Ripper , Bernard Lee , David Hemmings , Ian Hendry , Laurence Naismith , Geoffrey Keen and Esmond Knight, who plays the captain of the HMS Prince of Wales, actually served as an officer on board her and was injured during the battle.

Excellent scale models , though also utilized actual battle footage ; according to special effects cameraman L.B. Abbott, the miniatures were photographed with spherical , non-anamorphic lenses . This made it easier to force the perspective of the image to make the miniatures appear bigger and further apart. The producers knew that the use of miniatures and explosions would have to look very realistic to be successful , they hired Howard Lydecker, one of the legendary Lydecker brothers who were generally considered to be the best special effects team in the industry and they had spent decades perfecting their craft at Republic Pictures. The film contains an evocative and atmospheric cinematography in black and white by classic cinematographer Christopher Challis who also photographed 'The battle of the River Plata¨. The flick was stunningly directed by Lewis Gilbert . The motion picture will appeal to wartime genre buffs and British classic movie fans . Rating : Better than average .

The film is based on true events , these are the followings : Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power.In the course of the warship's eight-month career under its sole commanding officer, Capt. Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941, codenamed Rheinübung. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break into the Atlantic Ocean and raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, and British naval units were deployed to block their route. At the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Bismarck engaged and destroyed the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat; Bismarck was hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank. The destruction of Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy involving dozens of warships. Two days later, while heading for the relative safety of occupied France, Bismarck was attacked by obsolescent Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; one scored a hit that rendered the battleship's steering gear inoperable. In her final battle the following morning, Bismarck was neutralised by a sustained bombardment from a British fleet, was scuttled by her crew, and sank with heavy loss of life. Most experts agree that the battle damage would have caused her to sink eventually. The wreck was located in June 1989 by Robert Ballard, and has since been further surveyed by several other expeditions

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English | German

Release Date:

11 February 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sink the Bismarck! See more »


Box Office


$1,330,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo


Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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