ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – U – Das Boot (1981) Movie Review

We are under U because Das Boot is about a U-Boat.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Wolfgang Petersen (Screenplay) Lothar G Buchheim (Novel)

Starring: Jurgen Prochnow, Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge

Plot: The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth and sheer terror.


Tagline – Hitler sent out 40,000 men aboard German U-Boats during World War 2. Less than 10,000 returned.

Runtime: 2 Horus 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant

Story: Das Boot starts as a war correspondent Lt Werner (Gronemeyer) joins the crew of Captain-Lt Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock’s (Prochnow) U-Boat during World War II, looking to create a story about the success of the U-Boat side of the war, the crew are a rowdy group, if they are not drinking on shore leave, they are pull pranks on the newest crew members.

Once out at sea, the crew must face the reality of the dangers of war, destroyers roaming the open water, attacks to the ship and showing just how deadly being in a submarine through the war would have been.

Thoughts on Das Boot

Final Thoughts When is comes to wartime movies, we know we need to get to know a crew, unit and soldier before going forward with the story, here we meet the crew, we have the typical line up, where we have the stricter, jokey and the nervous ones, each gets there moment to show why they are making certain decision during the journey. We get the high level of peril when the attacks happen, showing us just how claustrophobic the environment would be for the crew, how much they ricked to get the upper hand, while showing us the important information that three quarters of U-Boat crew never returned home from the war. This is on the epic scale because we do spend time learning more about the crew, while they might come off reckless, when it comes to dealing with the operation to survive they will show the loyalty to win the battles they find themselves in.

Overall: Epic War Movie.

The Burning (1981) Movie Review

Director: Tony Maylam

Writer: Peter Lawrence, Bob Weinstein (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua, Jason Alexander, Ned Eisenberg

Plot: A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.


Tagline – A legend of terror isn’t a campfire story anymore!

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical 80s Slasher

Story: The Burning starts after the prank going horribly wrong, leaving the victim horrendous burned, five years later he is released from hospital with the best work possible done for him. He heads back to the camp where the incident happened to stalk more victims.

With the campers including Todd (Matthews), Michelle (Ayres), Alfred (Backer) and Glazer (Joshua) going through the typical American camp experiences from the 80s, they start getting picked off by the deranged killer.

Thoughts on The Burning

Characters – Todd is the lead counsellor on the camp, he is trying to keep everyone in order even if he is known as a lighter touch whatever the kids do, he must think of a way to save the kids from the killer. Michelle is the other counsellor who goes on the canoe trip, she must take the survivors back to safety before being able to get help, she is also stricter than Todd on the campers. We do get the typical range of campers, the cocky jock, the girlfriends, the prankers, the slutty ones, the wholesome ones, we have the ABC of horror traits characters.

PerformancesThe performances through this film are not the strongest, the screaming and shouting is mostly over the top, while the lurking or searching scenes get the best out of the actors.

StoryThe story here follows a killer who sets out on his own form of revenge after being disfigured by a prank gone wrong at a local summer camp. This does follow everything we would know from an 80’s slasher, it does focus on the idea of sex, drugs or misbehaviour is dangerous and will get your killed, you know the typical warnings in the horror. We do have a large number of campers to follow, which does seem to give us too many characters to follow, while the instant revenge idea and lack of criminal punishment on the kids in the original incident is shocking.

HorrorThe horror side of this film is the best part, the suspenseful lurking of the killer, is clearly the most interesting side of the story.

SettingsThe film is set in the one camp location, we do go through the locations you would expect to see in 80s slasher.


Scene of the Movie – The lurking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Why would the killer only go for a knockout blow on Todd, while killing the rest?

Final Thoughts This is a typical 80s slasher that does the basics right with the horror side being the best part, while other traits are overused.

Overall: Typical Slasher.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – V – Escape to Victory (1981) Movie Review

Director: John Huston

Writer: Evan Jones, Yabo Yablonsky (Screenplay) Yabo Yablonsky, Djordje Milicevic, Jeff Maguire (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Pele, Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, Paul Van Himst

Plot: As allied P.O.W.s prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team’s escape.


Tagline – Now is the time for heroes

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Sports War Film

Story: Escape to Victory starts as German Prisoner of War Captain John Colby (Caine) is asked by a German Major Karl Von Steiner (Von Sydow) if he would like to have a football match, Colby accepts, with him putting together a team of elite players from different prisoners of war, with America Captain Robert Hatch (Stallone) talking his way onto the team to help his escape attempt.

As the team prepares for the game, Hatch is instructed to make a plan for the whole team to escape, with Colby needing to keep face with the German officers before the big game.

Thoughts on Escape to Victory

Characters – Captain Robert Hatch is the American in the prisoner of war camp, he is always planning an escape, but his latest plan is ruined by the upcoming football match, he pushes his way into the squad as the coach and then goalkeeper, as he uses his connections to create the latest plan of escape. Captain John Colby is one of the many former great footballers in the prisoner of war camp, he wants to prove himself on the pitch against one of the majors in the German side, once a great rival on the pitch, he arranges to put together his own team of players from around the world that are in camps to challenges the Germans to a match. Major Karl Von Steiner is the former professional footballer that wants to offer Colby a match, his sportsmanship side shines through, as he gives Colby what he wants, even if the rest of his military is against his idea, he just wants an honest match between men, not guards and prisoners.

PerformancesWe have three main stars of this film with Sylvester Stallone as the brash American working well through the film, Michael Caine as the calm collected English man is the highlight, with Max Von Sydow bringing to life an honest officer, proving not all Germans were bad.

StoryThe story here follows a group of prisoners of war offered a game of football by a German officer, looking for an honest game, only for it provide a plan to escape the prison. We have seen the escape from prison films before in film, with this being no different, with how the plan is put together, the only change comes in seeing how the honour of competing at sport will make difference. The story is keen to highlight that not all Germans were bad during the war, just like most people, they were left with no choice and tried to make the best of the situation.

Sport/WarThe football in the film is edited for the glory moments, with the former international stars, which do give those moments extra realism. The war backdrop shows us how operations would be put in place for an escape, while not showing any of the horrors of the situation.

SettingsThe film uses the prison camp for the most part, which will highlight the closed-up environment for the practise, while the escape plan is put in place.


Scene of the Movie – The match.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Hatch’s improvement is way to unbelievable.

Final Thoughts This is a fun sports movie that shows the spirit of the game will always come through, with appearances from some of the biggest names in the game.

Overall: Enjoyable.