Film director Wolfgang Petersen dies at 81: five essential films to remember him

  • The German filmmaker died at his Brentwood home of pancreatic cancer.

  • Behind him he leaves an entire film career full of great films

  • From ‘Troy’ to ‘The Neverending Story’, many of his films are classics of cinema

The great creators ensure that their name and their work never disappear. That is the case of the film director Wolfgang Petersen, who has died at the age of 81.

The German filmmaker died at his home in Brentwood of pancreatic cancer, according to what he says Variety, in the arms of his wife, the script and assistant director Maria-Antoinette Borgel, with whom he had been married since 1978.

Although telefilms abound in his filmography, with which he was successful in his native Germany, he also made the leap to Hollywood thanks to his most important work: ‘Das Boot (The Submarine)’ or ‘Troy’. “In eight years I directed about thirty films and episodes of series for television. Thanks to them I got practice, ”she said in an interview. To remember the director we leave you five essential films of his career.

Wolfgang Petersen directing Harrison Ford in the movie “Air Force One”Cord Press

Das Boot (The Submarine)

With the movie ‘Das Boot’, the director made history. She chose her former favorite actor, Jürgen Prochnow, to star in it. Although the creator did not expect it, Das Boot (The Submarine)‘, 1981 was a worldwide smash hit.

His harrowing insight into the misadventures of a German submarine, U-96, during World War II they got six Oscar nominations. Two of them for Petersen, for the best adapted screenplay and the best direction.

Still from the movie Das Boot

Still from the movie Das

The film was shot in chronological order, and as an anecdote it was done in this way so that the beards of the sailors would grow, a very powerful production that had a wonderful result in terms of critics and audiences.

The endless story

His adaptation of Michael Ende’s novel, ‘The Neverending Story’ did not convince fans of the book. However, it is almost a cult movie now.

Director He spent three years looking for financing, and finally in 1984 he managed to release one of his most important films. As protagonists he chose actors Noah Hathaway Y barrett oliver andn the leading roles. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film produced outside of the United States or the Soviet Union.

Frame from the movie The Neverending Story

Frame from the movie The Neverending

Without a doubt, one of the most impressive aspects of the film is the special effects that in 1984 were still carried out without the help of computers. All the figures had to be really designed and crafted.

Air Force One

CThe director claimed that the ‘Air Force One’, had been his most complex filming. Also known in Spain as The President’s Plane, this 1997 action film starred industry greats like Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Glenn Close.

Still from the movie Air Force One

Still from the movie Air Force

It tells the story of the hijacking of Air Force One by a Russian terrorist group. It was a box office success and is considered one of the most popular action movies of the nineties, It also received two Oscar nominations in the categories of best sound and best editing, which shows Petersen’s great concern for all aspects of production.


One of the most beloved movies in Hollywood is ‘Troy’ for its cast and because it never goes out of style. David Benioff’s adaptation of the two plays of Homer (Iliad Y Odyssey), It had stars of the stature of Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Diane Kruger, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox, Sean Benn or Brendan Gleeson, and it was a success in theaters.

Troy movie still

Troy movie

The 2004 film tells a story starring Odysseus, Hector, Paris Y Achilles where the Greeks face the Trojans and the cultural values ​​of aristocratic and warrior Greece are shown, including the appearance of the Trojan horse.

in the line of fire

Another essential to get to know Peterson’s cinema is ‘In the line of fire’. Frank Horrigan, played by Clint Eastwood, is a veteran bodyguard who saw better days when he became President Kennedy’s bodyguard. Many years laterabout to retire, is going through a professional and personal crisisbut decides to return to the service of the White House when in a routine investigation he discovers that a psychopath named Mitch Leary, played by John Malkovich, is threatening the President of the United States with death.

Wolfgang Petersen directing Clint Eastwood in 1993 for the movie "In the Line of Fire"

Wolfgang Petersen directing Clint Eastwood in 1993 for the movie “In the Line of Fire”Cord Press

Again, a golden cast in one of the director’s most interesting films that made him have three Oscar nominations in 1993. These are just five of the many works of art created by the director. Which one do you prefer?

Film director Wolfgang Petersen dies at 81: five essential films to remember him