The Enemy below Movie Review

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Through the midst of World War II came the war at sea. German U-boats would sink any ship in their attempt to dominate the waters. The movie begins with an American ship on a normal day until their radar picks up what they think might be a German U-boat. Simultaneously, the U-boat picks up the American ship on their radar as well. With both captains on the boats being experts, it begins to be a game. When the U-boat moves so does the ship, to make it seem like the ship is just a ghost echo on the U-boats machine.

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Both captains have shown experience with wars. The German captain begins to make the point that machines now, do everything for men, stating that machines fight wars; “they take the human out of war”. He continues to talk about the war describing it as an ugly war, one with a dark purpose and one that would make everyone die without reason and without God. The American captain first served in the military and switched to the navy after a ship he was on got torpedoed in half, killing his newly-wed wife. He was quickly able to learn the ways of the seas and well enough to now be a highly intelligent captain against the enemy currently.

The American ship is now manned and ready at dawn as a precaution. The German U-boat comes to the surface and sees the American ship, they then go into a state of emergency and dive back under. The ship is trying to get the U-boat to take their bait, calculating how long it will take to fire a shot. Which, firing the shot would in fact miss the ship and leave the U-boat with no shots left in their tank because the tubes are too difficult to replace in a timely manner. The U-boat now gets ready to launch an underwater attack, firing two torpedoes’.

The attack fails on the German part as the torpedoes fly right past the ship leaving it un-touched. Thus, beginning a cat-mouse game once the German captain figures out the American captain is no fool. The two now battle strategies trying to set up decoys with one another. The American ship decides to push their luck and man the battle stations aboard ship. They drop fire bombs on the U-boat but to no avail, it only riles them up a bit. The U-boat decides to fully go down to the bottom which could cause a pressure issue within the U-boat, however they sustain their pressure within. The American ship waits silently as the captain feels like they are waiting on the bottom of the ocean. The U-boat listens to see what the ship is doing and decides to move from the bottom continuing the silent routine.

The fight of a “delaying action” begins, and the American ship plans to attack then back off and attack again, which they can do for about seven hours until their back-up ship comes to their aide. The fight continues and the Germans are being worn down, however, the Americans are still at a major advantage and have kept their attacks steady while listening to the targets every move. Once the Americans were left vulnerable by making the same turns constantly, the Germans are able to take a shot at their ship successfully. While the ship has been hit but is still a float, the crew decides to burn mattresses to “play dead” and make it seem like the ship is going down faster.

As the battle seems as it has come to end, the American ship decides to launch an attack on the “sitting duck” U-boat right before the U-boat “finishes off the ship”. The American ship runs into and on top of the German U-boat putting both vessels on fire and sinking. Both captains meet at eye contact and give one another a little salute, in “good faith”. While both vesicles have detectors and are both literal, ticking time bombs, the American captain decides to rescue the German captain and his friend when he sees them stuck on their burning boat. The movie comes to a close with laying to rest the German captains friend at sea aboard an American ship. The two captains share a cigarette to end the movie.

I enjoyed the films over-all message. At the end, the movie portrayed hope, even though found in the most un-likely of places; the vacant ocean and in the middle of an ugly hate-filled war. The message at the beginning however, I feel, showed perseverance. Both captains showed leadership and put their previous war knowledge to the test to both out-last one another until they both went down. Both also saved the men on their ships before themselves. The stand-off between the two lasted until both went down together, not just one. That means that they weren’t going to stop fighting until one was victorious or none at all, which was the case here. The message of hope came when the American captain threw out a helping hand (and a rope) to help the doomed German captain and friend. These messages, I feel, are the most important during history periods like this that are consumed with death and hate. However, there are some points in the movie that I didn’t like. Realistically, I would like to know what happened with the German captain. The movie ended with them sharing a cigarette, but I feel that once they hit land, all will not be fine and dandy considering he is still “the enemy”. I would’ve liked the movie to show what happens afterwards. The way the movie didn’t really give a time frame either was something, that I think, could’ve helped. Saying the time aloud or putting them at the bottom of the screen would’ve portrayed the length of the battle and how many tireless hours the men aboard both ships were working.

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The Enemy Below Movie Review. (2022, Sep 11). Retrieved June 1, 2023 , from

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