Sink the Bismarck!

Personal! Powerful! Human! Heroic!

War Action Drama
97 min     6.827     1960     United Kingdom


The story of the breakout of the German battleship Bismarck—accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen—during the early days of World War II. The Bismarck and her sister ship, Tirpitz, were the most powerful battleships in the European theater of World War II. The British Navy must find and destroy Bismarck before it can escape into the convoy lanes to inflict severe damage on the cargo shipping which was the lifeblood of the British Isles. With eight 15 inch guns, it was capable of destroying every ship in a convoy while remaining beyond the range of all Royal Navy warships.


John Chard wrote:
Zig-Zag Patterns and the Hunt for the Bismarck. Sink the Bismarck! Is directed by Lewis Gilbert and adapted to screenplay by Edmund North from the book written by C.S. Forester. It stars Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner, Laurence Naismith, Geoffrey Keen, Karel Stepanek, Michael Hordern and Maurice Denham. Music is by Clifton Parker and CinemaScope photography by Christopher Challis. World War II, the North Atlantic, the British Navy desperately tries to sink Germany's prime battleship. The scourge of the seas, The Bismarck. Cracker-jack war movie that brings brains and brawn to the party. Instrumentally the pic is concerned with the officers back at headquarters (Moore outstanding), how they try to device a plan to capture and sink The Bismarck. The second guessing of its movements, the attempts to keep a lid on the emotional pains as news filters through about losses in battle, men missing in action, with some personal issues bubbling away to further compound the hot-bed of stress. This all makes for a riveting and intelligent backdrop to the scenes out at sea. It's fascinating that as Winston Churchill was demanding that he didn't care how they did it, that they simply must destroy The Bismark, Hitler was sending out birthday greetings and pleasantries to his Naval commanders. The battle scenes are spanking, a mixture of real footage, great model work and superb effects, while the great Christopher Challis photographs it all in screen filling clarity. Stiff upper lips at the ready for a truly great WWII movie. 8/10
lwpcolonel wrote:
**l like "Sink the Bismarck!" enough to have watched it every year or so since its release in theaters in 1960. First on T.V., then VHS and finally DVD about 17 years ago. This is another film, like the "Battle of the Bulge", where different (simplified/fictionalized) other than historically correct people, especially English Admiralty and Planners, were used for theatrical effects. I have always enjoyed watching the film, but it is less historically accurate than the "Pursuit of the Graf Spee", aka, "Battle of the River Plate". For instance, Kriegsmarine Admiral Lutjens wasn't a Nazi and didn't give speeches aboard the Bismarck rallying the German's behind the Nazi cause. In fact, Lutjens, was under investigation, at the time of his death for having Jewish domestics in his household, and Kriegsmarine officers were barred from political affiliations beyond the mandatory "Loyalty Oath" to Adolph Hitler, which was part of a deal with the military establishment in exchange for shutting down the S.A. ("Brown Shirts"). Also, the correct, historic Admiralty figures, such as Admiral Tovey, are omitted as to specifics and the actual engagements with the Bismarck have some severe inaccuracies. In the end, the Bismarck, whose Superstructure was a flaming wreck, because of 400+ rounds, mostly 16 inch caliber from the Rodney, at close range in the final 2 hours. The Bismarck's rudders, Range Finders, Fire Control radar and internal communications were non-functional by this point and the ship was ordered to scuttle, which only hastened the inevitable, due to progressive flooding. It wasn't a series of Torpedoes fired at the last minute as shown that sunk the Bismarck. Also, the H.M.S. Hood, was never refitted or rebuilt, the way the other 20+ year old Capital ships were due to the war and the lack of free Dry-dock space. So while the Bismarck and Hood may have appeared equally matched, one was built and designed prior to the lessons learned at Jutland, in late May of 1916, regarding the British vulnerability to plunging fire due to thin deck armor and the Bismarck was the most recent Battleship to have been built, and without the constraints of the Washington or London Treaties which limited displacement and therefore armor. Nevertheless, the Bismarck was seriously damaged by several 14" sells that struck its Bow, from the Prince of Wales, during its engagement with the Hood, and was experiencing "progressive flooding" and leaking fuel tanks from the onset. This caused a loss of speed and the "shipping of green water" over its forecastle which increasingly reduced its combat effectiveness over time. It is an interesting movie to watch, but the details and some of the important people were created from 'composite' characters or not accurately presented. Btw, due to "Blast Damage" from their own main batteries, the Rodney was damaged permanently as a result of the action and was limited to several bombardments of the Normandy coast (for instance) 3 years later and was used primarily as a base of operations for the British Admiralty. It was on its way to the U.S. for a long overdue major refit when it was recalled due to the Hood's sinking and was never fit for independent operations after the Bismarck action though it wasn't hit (blast damage from own guns).