The Making

Behind The Scenes

When DAS BOOT was originally released in the U.S. in 1982, the film's enormous success was a surprise. A sub-titled German war movie a hit? It sounded absurd. And yet the astonishing level of filmmaking and deeply felt anti-war message gripped audiences to their chairs as they witnessed the never-before-seen story of German U-boat soldiers riding the bottom of the ocean.

DAS BOOT forever changed audiences' expectations of unrelenting tension and visceral authenticity in an action film. DAS BOOT set a new standard for high-wire suspense and broke fresh technological ground. It also became the most successful foreign film ever released in the United States - nominated for six Academy Awards and shattering box office records - and continues to be one of the most popular foreign films on the video shelves.

Now a new generation of moviegoers will have a unique opportunity to experience the director's "ideal" cut of DAS BOOT in the theaters - complete with newly added footage and re-designed digital sound that bring this action classic to state-of-the-art standards for today's audiences.

Wolfgang Petersen, who emerged from DAS BOOT to become one of Hollywood's most sought-after directors ("In The Line of Fire," "Outbreak," the forthcoming "Air Force One"), oversaw re-editing from more than six hours of original footage into his own personal vision of the ultimate DAS BOOT journey. Petersen also supervised restoration of the negative, along with his original cinematographer Jost Vacano, reprinting onto today's color-rich film stock. The filmmaker's sound team completely redesigned and re-recorded new sound effects for the film's Oscar-nominated sound and musical score to bring it up to today's highest digital standards.

The final result is one of the most extensive enhancements efforts ever undertaken by a director on his classic motion picture, similar to the massive restoration of the "Star Wars" trilogy by George Lucas. Subtle changes throughout the film add new depth to the lives and relationships between the men on the boat, further heightening the suspense as they plummet to the sea floor with only a slim hope of survival. The state-of-the-art sound and film quality - taking the realism of every ping and creak to a new level - further adds to the minute-by-minute build-up of tension on the submarine. "Here we had a rare and unprecedented opportunity to take one of the most intense movie experiences ever created and bring it up to the expectations of 1990's audiences," says Ortwin Freyermuth, who produced the restored director's cut of DAS BOOT. "It is amazing how well the film stands up even fifteen years later, perhaps because it was so ahead of its time originally. It is not only one of the most riveting action movies ever made, it continues to be one of the all-time most successful depictions of the human experience of war - audiences really feel the fear, the tension, the excitement, the boredom, the desires, the hopes and the incredible tragedy of these young men on the U-boat as they were used and abused by a war machine."

"My vision for DAS BOOT was always to show the gritty and terrible reality of war, and to combine it with a highly entertaining story and fast-paced action style that would pull audiences into the experience of these young men out there," says Wolfgang Petersen. "This cut represents my ideal version of that experience. Thanks to new technology, the film now comes even closer to revealing the shocking realities of life in a U-boat -- the way it sounded, the way it felt, the way it affected people so strongly -- and I think that this new cut will be even more shocking and affecting for audiences."

DAS BOOT is a Columbia Pictures release of a director's cut restoration from Twin Bros. Productions of a Bavaria Studio production and a film by Wolfgang Petersen based on the novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. The film stars Jürgen Prochnow (seen most recently in "The English Patient"), Herbert Grönemeyer and Klaus Wennemann. The director of photography is Jost Vacano, the production designer is Rolf Zehetbauer, the art director is Götz Weidner, the editor is Hannes Nikel and the music is by Klaus Doldinger. The film was originally executive produced by Mark Damon, Edward R. Pressman and John W. Hyde; the co-producer was Michael Bittins and the producer was Günter Rohrbach. The director's cut is produced by Ortwin Freyermuth.

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