U-571 (2000)
August 8, 2023 8:50 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] When a German U-571 submarine with a sophisticated encryption machine onboard is sunk during a World War II battle at sea, the Allies send an American Navy force led by Lieutenant Andrew Tyler (Matthew McConaughey) to retrieve it for study. Boarding the German ship, the Americans' cover as a rescue force is quickly blown. Forced to take the crew hostage, the Americans lay their explosives and prepare to destroy the German vessel before the Nazis can send naval backup.

Also starring Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, David Keith, Thomas Kretschmann, Jake Weber.

Directed by Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). Written by david Ayer (Training Day) and Sam Montogomery. Produced by Dino & Martha De Laurentiis.

68% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


kaibutsu was kind enough to support MeFi with a donation. Their request was for six films about submarines. I'll be using the tag #SubCinema

Donate $25 or more to MeFi and you can MeMail me a request for a themed day of your own. I'll fill up the sidebar on FF with six movies that fit your theme.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total)
Movies that probably would have made this list, had I not opted to go with more or less classic style submarine dramas:
  • Invention for Destruction - Fascinating, odd, magical, steampunk little 1958 Czech movie with amazing production design.
  • Les Maudits - René Clément's tense yarn about a group of Nazis and sympathizers board a submarine bound for South America in the hopes of finding shelter is an affecting drama, but the sub always seems to be surfacing.
  • Pressure - neck & neck with Below for the out & out horror slot, but most people didn't like it as much as I did.
  • Operation Petticoat - great Cary Garnt comedy, but hardly typical for the submarine subgenre.
  • K-19 The Widowmaker - Were the script as tight as Kathryn Bieglow's direction, this would really be something. Almost made it in anyway.
  • The Rift - The director of the (in)famous Pieces delievrs a singularly bonkers take on underwater horror and Alien.I cannot say it's legitimately a great movie, but if you liked Pieces, this is some tasty subsploitation.
  • Submariners - An early telefilm by Antonia Bird, this is pretty great as shot-on-video filmed plays go, but it's only on YT in shaky transfer and hardly topped the list anyway.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - This is the kind of lumpy but affable Disney live actioner that imprinted on those of us of a certain age, such that I could not review it in any meaningful way.
  • Voyage to the Edge of the World - Excellent Jacques Cousteau doc from 1976.

posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:16 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]

The low-level supporting cast in this is stellar. Jack Noseworthy as the American farmboy who can speak native Hochdeutsch and has to translate everything, including the captured Kapitanleutnant's coded knocks on the walls of U-571's brig. Erik Palladino as the sailor who sacrifices all and is buried at sea as diversionary debris. I could go on...
posted by infinitewindow at 11:38 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]

No Hunt for Red October?
posted by billsaysthis at 8:12 PM on August 8

It was already on FF.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:38 PM on August 8

Huge thanks, DirtyOldTown. I've got a few weekends worth of films lined up!
posted by kaibutsu at 11:17 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]

I don't think I've seen this one before, and in fact had a misconception that it was a much older movie.

Lots of pitch-perfect submarine tension in this one - pushing down past safe depth, popping dials, water blasting around everywhere. The initial scenes on the leaky American sub provided a nice contrast to the bone-dry German engineering - you're pretty sure they're safe at 180 meters as nothing's dripping yet.

The wikipedia page on depth charges makes for some good reading - the effective range of a depth charge is extremely short, as the power drops with the /cube/ of the distance.

Note for future Star Trek writers:
Imagine, if you will, a young well-loved officer foisted into their first command role, taking on the responsibility of sending redshirt after redshirt to their deaths for the sake of the mission... And imagine Gene Roddenberry rolling over in his grave...

And the idea of a skeleton Federation crew trying to run an enemy ship just seems too good not to do.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:23 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]

And the idea of a skeleton Federation crew trying to run an enemy ship just seems too good not to do.

Nominally, this happens in The Voyage Home, but admittedly, there was not much time spent on the challenges/difficulties of operating a foreign ship.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:50 AM on August 20

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