Das Boot

Movie of the Year Runner-up 1981

The German masterpiece Das Boot was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and is based on the novel Das Boot by Lothar-G√ľnther Buchheim. The author based the book on his own experiences. Das Boot was made to be as realistic as possible. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards.

Das Boot follows the crew of the German submarine U-96 during World War II. Most of the crew members are only 18-19 years old. The Captain is considered old. He is 30. The U-boat leaves La Rochelle in France in the fall of 1941.

A few years after the original release, Das Boot was made into a TV mini-series with six 50 minutes episodes, using the same footage as the movie, but much more of it. This has also been released on DVD as the full-length version of Das Boot, without the flashbacks and multiple credits from the TV series. While the original cinematic release was only 2.5 hours, the full-length version of Das Boot is nearly 5 hours and the Director’s Cut is almost 3.5 hours.

Even though the movie is very long, it is not too long. Most people think that the full-length version is the best version of the movie. The full-length version is perfect to watch when you are ill and need to stay in bed all day. The long version comes on two DVDs, so there is a good place to take a break if you think five hours is too long to watch nonstop. (DVD 1 is 1:44 and DVD 2 is 2:57 + special features.)

The original language of Das Boot is German, but the movie has also been dubbed to English. Many of the English voices in the dubbed version belong to the original actors.

Das Boot is German and it means the boat.

Das Boot theme – Klaus Doldinger

U96 – Das Boot – techno music video

Das Boot theme music

A part of the Das Boot theme music by Klaus Doldinger has become quite famous. Unfortunately there is not so much of this music in the movie. There is also a techno remix of the Das Boot theme song, from 1991 by the dance music project U96 (named after the submarine U-96 in Das Boot).

About the Das Boot DVDs

Please note that there might be differences between different editions. This information is based on Region 2 PAL editions of the DVDs.

Das Boot Director’s Cut Special Edition, 1 DVD
Runtime stated on the DVD-cover is 208 minutes. The movie is actually 199 minutes, but there is also a trailer and a featurette that are about 8 minutes together. There are both German (5.1) and English (2.0 and 5.1) audio tracks. There is also an audio track with the director’s comments (in English), which is really good.

The German subtitles of Director’s Cut is unfortunately a translation of the English dub, and not what they actually say in the German audio track, which is a little bit different. There are also subtitles in English and other languages.

Das Boot complete version, double-DVD
Runtime stated on the DVD-cover is 282 minutes. DVD 1 contains the first part of the movie (104 minutes). DVD 2 contains the second part of the movie (177 minutes) and Behind the scenes “Director’s Cut”. This is the same featurette as the one on the Director’s Cut DVD.

Both German and English audio tracks. 2.0 and 5.1 for both languages. No commentary audio track. The full-length version does not have German subtitles, but there are subtitles in English and other languages.

Recommendation
Watch the full-length version of the movie, and if you are interested, watch Director’s Cut for the director’s comments.

Das Boot would have been the best movie of the year 1981, if Raiders of the Lost Ark had been made another year. It is very hard to compete with the original Indiana Jones movies though. Talking about Indiana Jones, the submarine that can be seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, is the very same submarine models that were built for Das Boot.

Das Boot trailer