U-571

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Released in 2000, this World War II movie Very Loosely Based on a True Story is about a submarine crew who board a disabled German sub to steal an Enigma Machine, a secret German encryption device used to send coded messages. Caused a degree of controversy as the film places the Americans in center role as the heroes... except that in real life, the mission was carried out by the British.


This film provides examples of:

  • America Saves the Day - Infamously so. In Real Life, the Enigma Machine was stolen from a German submarine... by the British.
    • As can be expected, this did cause one hell of an uproar in the UK, to the point it was called "An Affront to British Sailors" during Prime Ministers Question Time upon release!
    • Many have stated the film could have been better had it been about the historical capture of U-505 by American forces.
  • Banging for Help: A captured prisoner uses a wrench to knock out a message in Morse Code for other German ships to hear on Sonar: I am U-571... destroy me!
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Rather early in the film, Lieutenant Tyler gets this from Chief Gunner Klough, for admitting to his crew that he didn't know what to do next, thus undermining his own crew's confidence in his leadership.
  • The Chains of Commanding: The reason Lt. Tyler doesn't get his first command is that his commander doesn't think he's ready for the burdens of that responsibility. Of course, Tyler ends up bearing that responsibility unexpectedly.
  • Cunning Linguist: Two of them in this film, including a professional linguist and a sailor who is half German.
  • Dark Secret: Mild example. One of the American sailors doesn't want his crewmates to know he's half German.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: How the crew gets aboard the U-571.
  • Everyone Knows Morse
  • Hot Sub-On-Sub Action: Of a preposterous nature. The German boat that sinks the American sub is stated as being a resupply boat. The Type XIV "Milchkuh" (or "milk cow") did not even have torpedo tubes.
  • Old Soldier: Chief Gunner Klough, who served on submarines during World War I.
  • Reading the Enemy's Mail
  • Sink the Life Boats: To prove how evil the Germany U-boat crew is. In reality, out of the tens of thousands of hours logged by the U-boat Force, there is only one recorded incident of a crew attacking survivors. It was much more common for German submariners to provide aide to the crews they sank.
  • You Are in Command Now: Lieutenant Tyler, when his submarine is torpedoed and sunk, while he is leading a boarding party on the U-571.