Das Boot and Air Force One director Wolfgang Petersen dies aged 81
Oscar-nominated director Wolfgang Petersen has died at the age of 81.
The filmmaker, best known for films including Das Boot and Air Force One, died of pancreatic cancer at home with his wife Maria Borgel Petersen by his side, a rep confirmed.
Petersen, who was born in Emden, Germany, directed various iconic films throughout his decades-long career, and directed Hollywood legends including Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, and Brad Pitt.
He started out in 1974 with his first feature film, psychological thriller One or the Other of Us.
Just a few years later, in 1982, his iconic film Das Boot, about a German submarine crew, was released.
The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, and Petersen was nominated for two – best director and best adapted screenplay.
He was also nominated for a Bafta for the German-language film, which starred Jurgen Prochnow.
Petersen told DW of Das Boot in a 2016 interview: ‘So many directors have their one film. It’s the one that changed everything for you and the one people will talk about forever. I am lucky enough that I have that film.’
The filmaker went on to work on various successful movies, including 1984’s The NeverEnding Story, and thriller In The Line of Fire in 1993, which starred Clint Eastwood.
1997 saw him direct action thriller Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman.
With the turn of the millennium, Petersen was considered to direct the first Harry Potter film, the Philosopher’s Stone, but turned it down, going on to work on The Perfect Storm in and Troy, starring Brad Pitt, in 2004.
After a 10 year hiatus following his 2006 film Poseidon, Petersen directed his final film, the German-language flick Vier gegen die Bank (Four Against The Bank) in 2016.
Tributes have come in for the late star, with filmmaker Mike Flanagan tweeting: ‘Very sad to hear Wolfgang Petersen passed away. I love DAS BOOT, IN THE LINE OF FIRE, THE PERFECT STORM, OUTBREAK… and I’ll always have a very special place in my heart for THE NEVERENDING STORY. Rest In Peace.’
One fan added: ‘No matter how good people think he was, Wolfgang Petersen was *better.* IN THE LINE OF FIRE is an eternal masterpiece. (Watch it again.) DAS BOOT revolutionized Hollywood action for a generation. ENEMY MINE, AIR FORCE ONE, TROY… All amazing movies.’
Another said: ‘RIP Wolfgang Petersen. Will always be a legend for Das Boot.’
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