|Format||Blu-ray, Director's Cut, Collector's Edition|
|Language||German, English, French|
2-Disc Director's Cut Collector's Edition.
All Regions blu-ray release, playable on all worldwide blu-ray players.
Wolfgang Petersen's harrowing and claustrophobic U-boat thriller Das Boot was released as both a theatrical film and a six-hour mini-series, and remains the most expensive production ever made by a German studio. The expanded "Director's Cut" of the movie was re-released 1997 and it is this version that is available for home viewing. This epic story became an instant classic on its first release, provoking critical and audience acclaim worldwide for its sympathetic and entirely truthful portrayal of a German U-boat crew. Faithfully adapted from the best-selling novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Petersen and his committed cast (led by the amazing Jürgen Prochnow) were concerned to ensure that every detail was rendered with painstaking accuracy--both physical and psychological--and the result is not only the best submarine drama ever made but also arguably the finest cinematic portrait of men at war and the terrible madness they must endure.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : German, English, French
- Product dimensions : 13.5 x 1.5 x 17.2 cm; 120 Grams
- Item Model Number : 5050629535815
- Media Format : Blu-ray, Director's Cut, Collector's Edition
- Dubbed: : English, French
- Subtitles: : Danish, English, Finnish, French, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Dutch
- Language : German (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Unqualified (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
- Studio : Sony Pictures
- ASIN : B005DL7WSE
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: 30,689 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 23,492 in Movies (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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...The film was initially released in cinemas in 1981 in West Germany & other countries over the next 2 years- Running time approx 150mins. It was well received (with 6 Oscar nominations -though not winning any).
After a growing reputation, in 85-86 a near 5 hour version was released as a TV mini-series to great acclaim in various countries & won an Emmy award for Drama. A 140min edited version was released on VHS.
In 1996 it was reissued in cinemas . With footage added to the original ('81) cinema release, Its running time now around 200 mins- This version was called the 'Directors Cut' with improved image & upgraded sound, this again was a success & was released on VHS & laserdisc then in the late 90s on DVD .This is the 'Standard Version' still released on DVD( & bluray), normally with English & German language options with 5.1 + 'Dolby surround' audio, with subtitles in various languages(depending on which region it is being released in).This edition is usually issued with a blue cover.
And If you don't like 'foreign language subtitled films' the English dubbed version is quite acceptable (with many of the main German actors doing their own translated English voices). Most of these copies have a very entertaining & informative commentary (originally recorded for laserdisc) with director Wolfgang Peterson,lead actor Jurgen Prochnow & the producer of the 'directors cut' + a brief 'making of' feature & English trailer.
Also available -the full '5 hour TV version' from the mid 80s(this also has upgraded sound). It was Released on 2 discs in 2004. (this normally has a green cover) & also comes with German & English language choices but didn't have the audio commentary. The film ratio on both versions is 'widescreen' 1:1.85 for a 'standard' 16-9 TV size.
A copy I recently purchased is a 2 disc 'Superbit' edition that claims to utilise a "special high bit rate digital transfer process". This is the '200min version' & has English in surround /Dolby digital & German language in 5.1 & DTS choices. The film has subtitles in English ,Dutch & Hindi . The image is very good,& appears to have repaired the blemishes & scratches noticeable-especially near the beginning on the 1 disc edition ,but I haven't seen it on a larger screen to fully compare it with previous versions.This doesn't have the commentary though.
So despite a seemingly baffling amount of releases available, the choice basically comes down to the full '5 hour' released for TV mini-series or the 200min 'Directors Cut' & I don't really need to tell you both are excellent viewing experiences (see some of the many other reviews) & easily available at very good prices..
.....For those with bluray players the 'Directors Cut'-'200 min' version is available on a 1disc version with commentary ,a documentary(40mins)about the 'Battle of the Atlantic'+ an hour long look at the U96 submarine .There is also a 2disc bluray(2011) that has these extras & more...The 'TV series-5 hour' version is also available on bluray, but I don't know what extras may be on this release....
This is the director's cut of the 1981 movie, and is not to be confused by subsequent mini series of the same name.
It's late 1941, and the Allies are finally managing to turn the tables on the predatory U-boat fleet. On this particular tour of duty, the U-boot and its somewhat jaded commanding officer is assigned a war correspondent who is meant to record daily life for propaganda purposes.
I will refrain from posting spoilers, except to say that this is human drama at its finest. You don't need to be male and a war buff to find this riveting, and the genius cinematography which conveys the sense of being trapped in a tin can at depth with the crew just intensifies the emotion.
On a totally subjective and emotional level, I would note that the contribution made by the rugged Jurgen Prochnow in the lead role to my enjoyment of the movie is totally incidental. The fact that he's probably the sexiest thing since Sean Connery (and his toupee) in 'The Hunt For Red October' probably indicates that I need to unpack my passion for submarine commanders, and perhaps seek professional counselling ;) PS Jurgen Prochnow doesn't need to wear a toupee
Wolfgang Peterson, who went on to have a extremely successful Hollywood career, wrote and directed this quite stunning movie about the terrors of undersea warfare during WW2. The chances of surviving the war was about 1 in 4 and this supremely tense, graphic and utterly believable tale shows you with unflinchingly clarity why that was. Firstly the British and American naval forces had learnt how to deal with the U-Boat threat and were becoming more successful with each month. Secondly, younger and younger crews with less reliable boats were pushed into service to cover increasing losses and thirdly, Hitler was becoming more demanding of what a U-Boat could actually do. Remember they had limited fuel, limited torpedoes and limited opportunity to actually find targets in the vast Atlantic ocean. Often patrolling in atrocious weather conditions with viability down to virtually zero just locating a target, any target, was often down to out-and-out luck. The U-Boats mission to disrupt allied shipping sufficiently to starve Britain out of the war of course eventually failed, but it was not through lack of the courage of the crews.
Starting with some short establishing scenes in the days prior to leaving port in France, we are introduced to the crew and then we follow U-96 out to sea looking for prey. The early on board claustrophobic, gritty, damp and always busy scenes on the boat are set up extremely well and the fine often hand held camera shots following characters along the dark narrow corridors are very effective. The feeling of being there is set up early and never leaves, you ARE there with them. The feeling of enclosure is always there, the sounds, the smells, the sweat on the crew is almost palpable and a real achievement by the director and camera crew. The battle scenes, the chases, and the fleeing from destroyers dropping depth charges are almost too real. The tension built up during these underwater scenes achieved by fantastic model shots, really effective sound design and music, outstanding performances from the cast and confident direction really sell the desperate situation.
As is the case with many great films, less is often more, and the simplicity and economy of some shots/scenes actually helps to sell the feeling of terror felt by the crew. Characters concentrating intently on the depth gauge as they attempt to evade being located by the enemy by going lower and lower, well beyond the boats rating, are done simply. These scenes could have been all Gung Ho with lots of special effects, but staying on desperate and terrified faces, covered in sweat and oil, really brings home the true terror of being so far below water. The immense pressure on the thin hull expressed by those terrified faces works wonderfully and humanising the war and of course helps us get to know the crew a little better and in doing so care about them. Jurgen Prochnow's, as the captain, gives a performance of such subtle power that you really feel for him as he tries to keep his crew and his boat safe.
However there are two “however's” for me at least. There are quite a few editing errors (nothing major) that I suspect are there because of the difficulties involved in restoring a film and (more importantly) the last ten minutes or so feels like a different film, the simplicity and believability of the story goes a bit astray, the tone changes quite suddenly from gritty realism to Hollywood “end the film with a big bang” with a large dose of shmaltz thrown in for good measure. I'm not saying it's particularly badly done but it did feel “tacked on” and a little Hollywoodized. Considering this is the “Directors cut” I can only assume he wanted this ending and was happy with it. However I feel it was a mistake and we should have ended our film as it was presented to us, gritty and real.
At three hours and nineteen minutes this is without doubt a very long film, however the running time it flies by. I never felt I was watching filler or scenes that didn't need to be there. Nominated for six Oscars it didn't win any, surely once again indicating how useless the Oscars are at actually awarding awards based on actual merit. It was very unlucky to be going up against Gandhi. Making a fortune at the box office it was clear the public recognised a film of real quality.
The disk contains both German and English dubbed versions both with subtitles. Watching the German version with subtitles is by far the best, the English dub is distracting. Petersen provides a surprisingly enjoyable and amusing commentary track full of interesting tid-bits for the film buffs out there. There is a featurette but on my disk it does not play, however I'm sure it's on You-Tube somewhere. Considering this is a 38 year old film and this version is over twenty years old, the DVD quality is very good. The darks are dark without pixelating, grain is minimal and the sound quality is excellent, especially in the battle stations scenes.
Excellent and quite an experience.
The film has been transgression the oridinal. A lity, the earlier version was, I think, better.
A reduction of one star because the sound quality was so quiet, decreasing in strength as the film progressed, it was almost impossible to hear for the final your or more. The subtitles didn't help: not only were they not an accurate copy of what was said but also only half was ever visible on the screen.
That said, if anyone has not yet seen this film - not the poor attempt to follow it as a current TV series, mixing a tale of romance and espionage in France with an occasional switch to the submarine - but the original set almost entirely inside the submarine - get it now. more than a film, it is an amazing experience.