Das Boot (English: "The Boat") is a 1981 West German war film written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, produced by GÃ¼nter Rohrbach, and starring JÃ¼rgen Prochnow, Herbert GrÃ¶nemeyer, and Klaus Wennemann. It has been exhibited both as a theatrical release and a TV miniseries (1985). There are also several different home video versions as well as a director's cut supervised by Petersen in 1997.
An adaptation of Lothar-GÃ¼nther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name based on his experiences aboard German submarine U-96, the film is set during World War II and follows U-96 and its crew, as they set out on a hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. It depicts both the excitement of battle and the tedium of the fruitless hunt, and shows the men serving aboard U-boats as ordinary individuals with a desire to do their best for their comrades and their country.
Development began in 1979. Several American directors were considered three years earlier before the film was shelved. During production, Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, the captain of the real U-96 during Buchheim's 1941 patrol and one of Germany's top U-boat "tonnage aces" during the war, and Hans-Joachim Krug, former first officer on U-219, served as consultants. One of Petersen's goals was to guide the audience through "a journey to the edge of the mind" (the film's German tagline Eine Reise ans Ende des Verstandes), showing "what war is all about".
Produced with a budget of DM 32 million (about $18.5 million, equivalent to â‚¬34 million 2021), the film's high production cost ranks it among the most expensive films in German cinema, but the film was a commercial success and grossed $84.9 million worldwide (equivalent to $220 million in 2020). Columbia Pictures released both a German version and an English-dubbed version in the United States theatrically through their Triumph classics label, earning $11 million. The film received highly positive reviews and was nominated for six Academy Awards, two of these nominations (for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay) went to Petersen himself; he was also nominated for a BAFTA Award and DGA Award.