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U 47 Kapitanleutnant Prien

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Director  Harald Reinl
Music director  Norbert Schultze
Language  German
6/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, War
Screenplay  J. Joachim Bartsch
Country  West Germany
U 47 Kapitanleutnant Prien movie poster
Release date  25 September 1958
Writer  J. Joachim Bartsch, Udo Wolter (story)
Initial release  September 25, 1958 (West Germany)
Cast  Dieter Eppler (Kapitän Günther Prien), Sabine Sesselmann (Ingeborg Prien), Joachim Fuchsberger (Oberleutnant Thomas Birkeneck), Harald Juhnke (Der Smut), Dieter Borsche (Pfarrer Kille), Olga Tschechowa (Fürstin)
Similar movies  Related Harald Reinl movies

U 47 – Kapitanleutnant Prien (English: U 47 – Lieutenant Commander Prien) is a 1958 black-and-white German war film portraying the combat career of Kriegsmarine World War II U-boat captain Gunther Prien, commander of German submarine U-47. It stars Dieter Eppler and Sabine Sesselmann and was directed by Harald Reinl.



U 47 Kapitanleutnant Prien movie scenes

The film begins shortly after the outbreak of World War II when Gunther Prien reports to the Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU—supreme commander of the U-boat Arm) Karl Donitz. Donitz orders Prien as commander of U-47 to penetrate the Royal Navys primary base at Scapa Flow to inflict as much damage as possible. Prien accomplishes his mission and receives a heros welcome on his return.

U 47 Kapitanleutnant Prien movie scenes

Following these events, pastor Kille, a former schoolmate of Prien, approaches Prien in the need for help. Kille offers refuge to victims of Nazi oppression. Prien initially declines, stating he is a soldier and not involved in politics. The attempt by Killes sister Alwine, who is engaged to Priens first officer Thomas Birkeneck, also fails to convince Prien.

U 47 – Kapitanleutnant Prien movie scenes undefined

With the ever increasing intensity of war Prien is plagued by his bad conscience, asking himself if his attitude is correct. A very dramatic incident occurs following the sinking of a freighter. U-47 rescues two shipwrecked. These turn out to be German refugees who are trying to escape from Nazi Germany. The two chose to remain at sea over the prospect of returning to Germany.

Prien finally believes, that as a figure of public interest, that he could influence and change something for the better. He goes to visit the imprisoned pastor Kille. Prien promises him help, not realizing that their conversation is overheard. Thus Prien himself gets into the focus of the Gestapo, the Secret State Police.

The visit remains without consequences for Prien. U-47 is sunk on his next war patrol. Prien and his cook (Der Smut) are rescued by a British ship, which is then sunk by another German submarine under the command of Priens former first officer, Birkeneck. Priens hat is retrieved from the sea putting Birkeneck in a state of shock. Subsequently he fails to give the order to dive on time and his boat is sunk by attacking enemy aircraft.

U47 kapit nleutnant prien 1958 cz rychlodabing kapit n prien

Historical accuracy

The story is loosely based on Priens combat record and command of submarine U-47. His most famous exploit was the sinking of the British battleship HMS Royal Oak at anchor in the Home Fleets anchorage in Scapa Flow. His achievements as U-boat commander were highly idolized by Joseph Goebbels??? Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

Every character depicted in the film, except for Prien and Admiral Donitz, who is not mentioned by name in the film, is fictitious. Priens portrayal as an active member of the German resistance is also fictitious. U-47???s destruction and Priens death is another invention of the movie makers. To date, there is no official record of what happened to the U-47 or her 45 crewmen. The submarine shown in the film was the Spanish submarine G-7, formerly the German submarine U-573.


  • Dieter Eppler as Captain Gunther Prien
  • Sabine Sesselmann as Mrs. Ingeborg Prien
  • Joachim Fuchsberger as Oberleutnant Thomas Birkeneck
  • Harald Juhnke as Der Smut—the cook
  • Uta Hallant as Alwine
  • Olga Chekhova as Die Furstin—the princess
  • Richard Haussler as the German U-Boat Fleet Commander
  • Raidar Muller-Elmau as Leutnant Bluhm
  • Ernst Reinhold as Leutnant Raufuss
  • Matthias Fuchs as Jorg
  • Horst Naumann as the Ingenieur—engineer
  • Dieter Borsche as pastor Kille
  • References

    U 47 – Kapitanleutnant Prien Wikipedia
    U 47 – Kapitanleutnant Prien IMDb U 47 – Kapitanleutnant Prien

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