Wolfgang Petersen movies: best films by German director from Das Boot to Neverending Story - where to watch

Petersen rose to prominence as a director of action adventure films spanning war, pandemic and ocean-set disasters

<p>Director Wolfgang Petersen  at the Italian Premiere of Poseidonin 2006 (Photo: Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)</p>

Director Wolfgang Petersen at the Italian Premiere of Poseidonin 2006 (Photo: Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

Wolfgang Petersen, the German director whose World War II submarine epic Das Boot catapulted him to the Hollywood blockbuster A-list, has died at the age of 81.

According to spokesperson Michelle Bega, Petersen died on Friday (12 August) at his home in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Brentwood after a fight with pancreatic cancer.

Das Boot launched Petersen’s career as a filmmaker in Hollywood, where he rose to prominence as a director of action adventure films spanning war (2004’s Troy with Brad Pitt), pandemic (the 1995 ebola virus-inspired Outbreak), and ocean-set disasters (2000’s The Perfect Storm and 2006’s Poseidon - a remake of The Poseidon Adventure).

But Petersen’s first step into American filmmaking was in the realm of children’s fantasy, with the delightful 1984 picture, The NeverEnding Story.

In The Line Of Fire, featuring Clint Eastwood as a Secret Service agent guarding the president of the United States from John Malkovich’s assassin, was arguably Petersen’s best Hollywood film almost a decade later.

Here are all of Petersen’s films - ranked according to Rotten Tomatoes’ scores - and where you can watch them.

Das Boot (1981)

(Photo: Columbia Pictures)

98% (Audience score: 96%)

What is it: During World War II, a German submarine patrols the Atlantic Ocean, manned by a crew that must deal with severe disputes and lengthy stretches of cramped monotony.

While war correspondent Werner observes day-to-day life aboard the U-boat, the grizzled captain struggles to maintain his own motivation in the face of fierce battles, intense storms, and dwindling supplies.

Where to watch it: Rent on Microsoft Store, Apple iTunes and Sky Store

In the Line of Fire (1993)

96% (Audience score: 79%)

What is it: A Secret Service agent is taunted by phone calls from a would-be assassin who knows everything about him, including the fact that he failed to save President John F. Kennedy from assassination.

The caller is revealed to be an ex-CIA assassin, and the agent, who is looking into a threat to the current president, is determined not to repeat history.

Where to watch it: Stream on Virgin TV Go

The Neverending Story (1984)

(Photo: Warner Bros.)

82% (Audience score: 81%)

What is it: Bastian sneaks into a bookstore on his way to school to avoid bullies, and steals a book called The Neverending Story.

He begins reading it in the school attic, revealing that Fantasia, a magical realm threatened by The Nothing, a darkness that destroys everything it touches, is the setting for the story.

To survive, the kingdom requires the assistance of a human child. Bastian begins to wonder if Fantasia is real and needs him to survive after reading a description of himself in the book.

Where to watch it: Stream on Virgin TV Go

Air Force One (1997)

79% (Audience score: 66%)

What is it: President James Marshall boards Air Force One with his family and aides after delivering a speech in Moscow vowing never to compromise with terrorists.

When a terrorist cell led by Ivan Korshunov hijacks the plane, the President’s beliefs are tested.

Ex-soldier Marshall stows away in the aeroplane, feigning escape, and must race against time to save his family and everyone else on board.

Where to watch it: Stream on Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Virgin TV Go

Enemy Mine (1985)

(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

63% (Audience score: 68%)

What is it: During a war between humans and the reptilian Drac species, spaceship pilot Willis Davidge and enemy fighter Jeriba Shigan are stranded on an exotic world.

While both Willis and his Drac counterpart are able to breathe on the planet, the atmosphere and its inhabitants are hostile, forcing the two to collaborate in order to survive.

Willis and Jeriba become unexpected friends over time, despite the fact that their unique connection encounters significant hurdles.

Where to watch it: Rent on Amazon Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, Chili, Microsoft Store, and YouTube

Outbreak (1995)

59% (Audience score: 56%)

What is it: In this suspenseful thriller, a terrible airborne virus threatens society; an outbreak erupts in a California town after an African monkey carrying a fatal virus is brought into the country.

To control the disease’s spread, a team of doctors is assembled, including a contagious disease expert and his ex-wife.

When the Army is called in to handle the crisis, the physicians must work against the time to save the town and its citizens.

Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix and Virgin TV Go

Troy (2004)

(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

53% (Audience score: 73%)

What is it: This epic, based on Homer’s Iliad, depicts the struggle between the ancient kingdoms of Troy and Sparta.

During a visit to Spartan King Menelaus, Trojan prince Paris falls in love with Menelaus’ wife, Helen, and returns her to Troy.

After defeating every army in Greece, Menelaus’ brother, King Agamemnon, uses his brother’s rage as a pretext to wage war on Troy, the final kingdom impeding his dominion over the Aegean Sea.

Where to watch it: Stream on Amazon Prime Video and Virgin TV Go

The Perfect Storm (2000)

46% (Audience score: 63%)

What is it: Based on a true story, this film depicts the brave men and women who put their lives in danger every day by pitting their fishing boats and rescue vessels against the unpredictable forces of nature.

Their worst nightmare comes true at sea on Halloween 1991, when three powerful weather fronts suddenly collide to form the largest, fiercest hurricane in modern history - The Perfect Storm.

Where to watch it: Stream on Virgin TV Go

Shattered (1991)

(Photo: Metro-Goldwyn Mayer)

36% (Audience score: 55%)

What is it: Dan Merrick and his wife Judith are involved in a car accident; Judith is set free, but Dan is injured and has his face scarred.

He awakens from a coma with amnesia, full of basic knowledge but unaware of his personal family life.

Slowly, he begins to piece the puzzle back together, but there are frightening recollections that contradict the lies he’s been taught, so he employs private detective Gus Klein to help him solve the riddles of his past.

Where to watch it: Stream on Amazon Prime Video, Freevee Amazon Channel, Virgin TV Go, W4free, and Icon Film Amazon Channel

Poseidon (2006)

33% (Audience score: 43%)

What is it: After a massive tidal wave capsizes a luxury liner in the North Atlantic, the survivors band together to navigate a perilous upside-down maze in the hope of reaching safety.

As the destroyed ship fills with water, the survivors must draw on hidden abilities and skills to fight for their lives.

Where to watch it: Stream on Amazon Prime Video and Virgin TV Go