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"Das Boot," (1981) Director Wolfgang Petersen's Epic German WWII Drama - Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann

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"Das Boot" is perhaps the finest war film I have ever seen. It is certainly in my top three films about war. I recently watched the Director's Cut of this German film, released in 1997 (the original was first shown in German theaters in 1981 and then as a TV miniseries). "Das Boot" is an adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name, and it tells the fictional story of a German U-96 crew during World War II.

The director's cut is 3 hours and 29 minutes long, combining action sequences from the 2.5 hour original theatrical release (which garnered six Academy Award nominations) and character development from the miniseries. Improvements in the picture and sound were also made. Yes, 209 minutes is a substantial amount of time to devote to watching a film, but I can tell you, the Director's Cut is worth it. I have watched much shorter films that seem twice as long. I found this film riveting from the bawdy opening scene to the closing segment, one of the most poignant and moving moments I have witnessed on film.

The tension in this film is palpable. The tedium and the fear of fighting a battle deep beneath the surface of the sea is made incredibly real for the viewer. I felt great empathy for the characters, and forgot they were Germans, fighting for the other side. They were men, some really boys, struggling to do their best under the most difficult conditions.

This is one of the best films I have seen - an epic, classic, World War II tale - and I highly recommend it.

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I generally agree with your assessment of this film, but the original cut was already WAY too long; to add another hour to it is inhuman.

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2 hours ago, The Hersch said:

I generally agree with your assessment of this film, but the original cut was already WAY too long; to add another hour to it is inhuman.

Perhaps it would seem long watching it in a theatre. Streaming it online with a break here and there makes it quite watchable, I believe. I haven't seen the original cut, so I can't compare the two, but I enjoyed the character development in the Director's Cut, which is supposed to have come from the miniseries. 

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5 hours ago, Mark Slater said:

I hope everyone knows that "boot" in German is pronounced like boat in English. 

I hope everyone knows that 777,777 is written as siebenhundertsiebenundsiebzigtausendsiebenhundertsiebenundsiebzig in German. :)

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