'Das Boot' is probably the best submariner movie ever made. It is taken from the German side of the Atlantic sub war of WWII. In 1942 the U-Boats were ruling the seas but the Allies were learning quickly how to take care of them . The German U-Boats at the time had a glamorous appeal to the youth of Nazi Germany. The officer would be of nobility or would be a die hard Nazi. It took a certain character to be in the U-Boat service. Our movie opens with the officers saying goodbye to one of their own. The drinking is heavy and the debauchery is seen in the background. Captain-Lt. Heinrich Lehmann Willenbrook-Der Alte (Jürgen Prochnow) is taking it all in. For he knows that soon all this will be a memory. For his U-96 is set to leave port soon. He is introduced to a journalist that will be traveling on his boat by the name of Lt. Werner (Herbert Gronemeyer). Werner has never been at sea on a U-Boat and the Captain knows this and is not happy.
The Captain also spots his chief (Klaus Wennemann) enjoying himself. The chief is soon to retire and he is not happy about this voyage. As a matter of fact everyone is a little disgruntled and nervous about this voyage. Submariners are a very superstitious group of men.
The Captain also spots his 1st Lt. (Hubertus Bengsch) drinking heavily. It is a good time for soon they will be meters under the sea.
The U-96 leaves port and the Captain wants to test the crew. Some are new to the service and he wants to test their nerves, both young and old. He orders a dive . The boat slowing goes farther down and down into the water. You can see the sweat coming down the men's faces. The U-boat is a very formidable weapon but it is also one of dirt and grease. It is not a joy ride, The crew is wondering when the boat will level off. Finally, he concedes and orders to level off. Werner looks like he shit in his pants.
The worst part of being in the Submarine corps is when a boat is being Depth Charged. This can turn any man white. Knowing that at any time you could be filling up with water and the boat sinking can leave any man sick.
Director Wolfgang Petersen tells the tale of the German U-boat. He tells it with all the glory and with all the despair that a person would feel. This is a story of what it was like those many years ago when the whole world was at war. It is a story of a group of 40,000 German Sailors when the war started to maybe some 10,000 who survived. Life expectancy was not very long in the Submariner Service. This is a hard look at what it was like. It is better to watch it in the original German. Enjoy.