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Sink The Bismarck! [VHS]


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Product details

  • Actors: Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner, Laurence Naismith, Geoffrey Keen
  • Directors: Lewis Gilbert
  • Writers: C.S. Forester, Edmund H. North
  • Producers: John Brabourne
  • Language: English, German
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Fox
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Oct 1999
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CLFP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,000 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Lewis Gilbert's dramatic re-telling of the Allied mission in the spring of 1941 to find and destroy Germany's largest battleship, the Bismarck. The story is told from two angles; the ships involved and the war-room in London where Captain John Shepherd (Kenneth More) plots the manouevres using models of the ships. Shepherd has an emotional reason for wanting the battleship sunk, his wife was recently killed in a German raid on London and his son is missing in action, and struggles to keep his emotions in line whilst making decisions that affect hundreds of lives. The final scenes are a mixture of newsreel of the battle and up-dated special effects.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 July 2007
Format: DVD
I've always liked this British film, which tells how the Royal Navy went after and finally destroyed the German super battleship Bismarck in the spring of 1941. The Bismarck was newer, faster, more heavily armored and more powerful than any single ship the British could throw against her. Her job was to destroy convoys, and it was the convoys that were keeping Britain alive and in the war. As the movie points out, the Bismarck could stand off and sink every ship in a convoy and never take enemy fire herself. The British find out that the Bismarck and her accompanying battle cruiser have broken out into the North Atlantic. The task of the Admiralty is to locate the Bismarck, bring naval resources to bear against her, and then take whatever risks they must to destroy her. She is powerful enough that, in the first battle when she is engaged by the British battleship HMS Hood, Bismarck blows the Hood out of the water. From a crew of 1,500, only three survived.

The human face of the drama is in the operations of the Admiralty's War Room, led by the chief of operations Captain Jonathan Shepard (Kenneth More). Shepard is a by-the-book officer, smart but up-tight. He had his ship sunk out from under him in the Mediterranean and he lost his wife to German bombs during a London raid. His only son serves in the air wing assigned to HMS Ark Royal, which soon will be assigned to the chase.

In the course of the movie we witness the maneuvering to locate and then bring the Bismarck to decisive battle. There is the first naval engagement in which the Hood is destroyed and the Bismarck is slightly damaged, but now has a slow fuel leak. There is the air attack with torpedos that manages to damage the Bismarck's rudder, slowing her down and making maneuvering impossible.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. P. Crowther on 14 July 2006
Format: DVD
This is based on C.S 'Hornblower' Forrester's novel and gives people who were in the battle fictional names. The film starts with Captain Shepard (Kenneth More) taking command of the Ops room in the Admiralty. Shepard lost his destroyer at Narvik at the hands of Admiral Karl Lutjens.
The film wastes no time in getting to the chase as it were and is full of excellent action scenes and performances. Kenneth More steals the film in my humble opinion supported ably by Dana Wynter and Geoffrey Keen (the Minister from James Bond). More is effectively 'reunited' with Laurence Naismith who played Captain Smith in "A Night to Remember" alongside More.
The film uses exact replicas of the Bismarck, Hood, Prince of Wales for the battle sequences and is used excellently when the Swordfish attack.

An added bonus is that Ed Murrow himself appears in brief scenes 'replaying' his "This is London" broadcasts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mariner1958 on 24 Aug 2012
Format: DVD
This is a 'What made Britain great' kind of movie which uses a little too much poetic licence to accurately portray the events of those few dramatic days in May 1941.

As an entertaining film very loosely depicting the events it is fine, but in no way should it be considered an accurate historical account. One of its greatest injustices is the way it treated Admiral Gunther Lutjens, whom rather than being an ardent Nazi was anything but. The secondary figure of Captain Ernst Lindemann pertrayed as a bit of a yes man was again inaccurate as the conflict in views between these two brilliant but completely different Senior Officers was well known.

There were many other opportunities for drama that were lost in the making of this film, perhaps due to budget and time restraints. The events on the Bridge of Hood after the explosion, the fact that the Battleship King George V actually crossed the sights of a U boat(U556) before intercepting Bismarck, and finally the battle of the survivors of both Hood and Bismarck in the icy waters of the Atlantic most of whom were very young.

Interestingly the character of Captain John Leach of the Prince of Wales was played by Esmonde Knight, a young midshipman at the time of the battle who was blinded by the shell that killed most of the Bridge crew of that ship minutes after Hood was sunk.

However, despite the lack of real human drama, too much is made of the ficticious character of Captain Shepard and his equally ficticious romantic interest. The meat of the story should have been left where it belonged, on the ships at sea.

Finally, somebody please tell me where HMS Solent came from? One of the Destroyers was sunk (HMS Mashona), but only in the days after the battle.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Michael L. Illing on 3 April 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What can you say about the greatest naval chase ever!! The Bismarck had one of the shortest naval careers ever, but the fear this battleship instilled was beyond measure! The Bismarck was, at the time, the most modern equipped ship afloat. Radar assisted guns, making them incredibly accurate at any range, and a host of other equipment at her disposal. The flak fire she could put up against enemy aircraft was more efficient than most ground installations had at their disposal!
The fact that she sank 'the pride of the Royal Navy', HMS Hood within minutes of an engagement, was testament to the fact that she was powerful beyond measure. She diverted a lot of the Royal Navy's resources to find her, and in the end sink her.
The film itself is made like a Film/Documentary. Although many may be put off because it was made in black and white, I personally think this adds to the poignant flavour of the film. Kenneth More's character, although ficticious, adds a great dimension to the 'chase' of, at the time, the worlds most deadliest battleship.
Also, even thogh the outcome is known, the film still manages to keep you on a knife edge during the whole of the chase!
I would definently recommend this film to anyone considering looking at the history of World War 2, because of all the naval encounters during that period of 1939 - 1945, none were quite so fraught as the 'Hunt For The Bismarck'!!
I may also like to add the point that many naval servicemen lost their lives during the hunt for the Bismarck. HMS Hood lost over 1400 sailors in less than 45 seconds, during its brief encounter with the Bismarck. And the Bismarck herself lost a total of about 2000 sailors!
Like I earlier mentioned, I would certainly recommend this film to anybody who loves nostalgic war films, with truth written in abundance. This a great testimony to the brave men who sailed during those horrendous years of World War 2!
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