Wolfgang Petersen, the director of The Neverending Story, has died

Wolfgang Petersen, the director of The Neverending Story, has died

Wolfgang Petersen

Wolfgang Petersen died. To report the news is the authoritative Deadline who confirms that the German director passed away at the age of 81 last August 12 in his villa in Brentwood in California after a long illness, pancreatic cancer.

Wolfgang Petersen, the director of The Neverending Story is dead

Wolfgang Petersen begins to take his first steps in the 1960s in the theater and on television. His first film direction was in 1974 with Einer von uns beiden, a psychological thriller based on the homonymous story by Horst Bosetzky. Following in 1981, Das Boot (U-Boot 96), based on the short story by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, is a war film set almost entirely in a submarine. It is the film that brings him to the attention of the general public for its spectacular style and almost documentary precision, the Second World War is also seen by German soldiers and the film tries to overturn the stereotype of the insensitive and cruel German soldier. The film will get six Oscar nominations including Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Petersen is then entrusted with the direction, in 1984, of The Neverending Story: it is the most expensive German production of the postwar period (60 millions of brands) and which will become a success with critics and audiences. On the wave of success, the call came from Hollywood: in 1985 he made My Enemy, for 20th Century Fox, a science fiction film based on the novel by Barry B. Longyear, about the friendship created between a human and an alien in times of galactic warfare.

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Wolfgang Petersen: the director who brought emotion to action movies

The world of action movies owes a debt to Wolfgang Petersen. He arrived in the mainstream in the early 1980s and brought an understated classicism to a genre that had mostly, until that point, been defined by the chaotic shoot-’em-ups of Arnie Schwarzenegger and Sly Stallone and the formulaic cop thrillers of Clint Eastwood.

Wolfgang Petersen's best films

Petersen, a Hamburg native who cut his teeth on German TV, demonstrated an instinctive understanding of film grammar. With his Oscar-nominated submarine thriller Das Boot, he created extraordinary tension and propulsive action sequences from what was essentially a “one location” movie (a German U-boat during the Battle of the Atlantic). It was a film that set the template for future confinement classics such as Phone Booth, Frozen (set entirely