April 05, 1982 12:00 PM

A German U-boat crew as the good guys? It’s been 40 years since World War II, and this film was made in Germany. So the sailors do come off as real people in this close-up look at life under the sea. Based on a novel by German submarine veteran Lothar-Günther Buchheim, it’s all very realistic. After setting out in 1941 and sinking an Allied tanker, the sub is ordered to make a suicidal run through the Strait of Gibraltar, then crawling with British patrol boats. Depth charges and tension follow. When American producers were thinking of making this movie, there was talk of either Paul Newman or Robert Redford in the lead role, which might have helped it at the box office. But the German cast is unknown to U.S. audiences. Other than the novelty of a sympathetic film about Nazis, this is standard late-night TV-movie stuff. (In German with English subtitles.) (Not rated)

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