Wednesday, May 28, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - Sink the Bismarck!

Not just for breakfast anymore!

Well, I wasn't planning on doing another WWII movie back to back, but it's pretty rare to come this close to the actual anniversary date.  The sinking of the Bismarck happened just yesterday on May 27th, 1941 so this week's feature was a no-brainer.  Sink the Bismarck! (1960) was directed by Lewis Gilbert and starred Kenneth More, the lovely Dana Wynter, and Carl Möhner.

The movie is obviously about the early war effort to hunt down and ultimately sink the great German battleship Bismarck.  I'm not a huge Navel history buff, but what made this one interesting for me was that the story is told from all the different perspectives involved in the operation.  British, German, frontline combatants, and even the usual unsung  heroes of  Operational Command and Staff.  Much like the movie Battle of Britain, we get involved with and care about characters at every level of the conflict, and only with everybody pulling together do the good guys come out on top.

Sink the Bismarck! (1960)

For the most part, I'm not going to touch the historical accuracy issue with a ten foot pole in these posts.  After all, they are meant to be fun and something to enjoy while hobbying or whenever.  However I did want to point out that the over the top character of Admiral Lütjens is fictitiously portrayed in the film as a stereotypical Nazi, committed to Nazism and crazed in his undaunted belief that the Bismarck is unsinkable.  You can check out the Wikipedia page HERE for what the real deal was as well as more info on the film and the book it's based on.

Finally, long before I had the pleasure to watch this movie, I was exposed to the famous Johnny Horton song of the same name.  My mom owned his greatest hits record, and we listened to Sink the Bismarck and The Battle of New Orleans over and over as kids in the '70s.  I remember tearing around the family room whenever Johnny sung the words:  

"Hit the decks a-runnin' boys and spin those guns around!
When we find the Bismark we gotta cut her down!"

Johnny Horton - Sink the Bismarck (Song)

Another early memory I remember having as a kid was wondering why the Germans would ever name their biggest baddest battleship after a doughnut.  ;-)  Enjoy the movie!

Bonus Links:


Note:  If you missed the very first "War Movie Wednesday" introductory post, you can check out that, and The Heroes of Telemark right HERE.



  1. It's been a while but I remember it being good!

  2. One of my very favourite war movies, I must have watched it over 50 times - usually at sea!

  3. Thanks for sharing, certainly a classic tale!

  4. I must see if I can find some time to watch this again.

  5. Thanks again for a terrific review, these are getting quite addictive!

    I remember being quite offended at a very young age by Johnny Horton's song, especially as it seemed to suggest that the sinking of the Bismarck was accomplished by Americans.

    Its shaky grasp of the WWII timeline ("the war had just begun"?? Say WHAT??) was merely further evidence of Mr Horton's lack of proper research into his chosen subject; this was particularly galling as I knew FOR A FACT that my own grandfather had sunk the Bismarck single-handed when he was a Stoker on board HMS Terpsichore. He'd told me so himself, and who was I to doubt him?
    ; )


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