The Hindenburg

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German title The Hindenburg
Original title The Hindenburg
Hindenburg at lakehurst.jpg
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1975
length 125 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Robert Wise
script Nelson Gidding ,
Richard A. Levinson (story),
William Link (story)
production Robert Wise
music David Shire
camera Robert Surtees
cut Donn Cambern

The Hindenburg is a catastrophe film produced and directed by Robert Wise from 1975 , which is about the last voyage and the destruction of the German airship LZ 129 "Hindenburg" in 1937. In favor of tension, a fictional story is told based on speculations about an attack on the airship. The basis for the script was primarily the book Hindenburg. The last flight of LZ 129 (original title: The Hindenburg ) by Michael M. Mooney .


Warned by threats and in order to check the rumor that a saboteur could hinder the airship Hindenburg's journey to America and destroy this important symbol of the Third Reich, the Gestapo commissioned Colonel Franz Ritter to monitor the security of the airship and at the same time smuggled in an agent the passengers.

Much seems suspicious, and in the course of an investigation, a crew member Franz Ritter confesses that he has hidden a bomb on board that is supposed to explode after landing. Ritter, who himself is by no means satisfied with the policies of the Nazi regime, is undecided and tries to buy time.

Shortly before landing in Lakehurst , New Jersey , he decides to resist. The bomb is supposed to explode 90 minutes after landing. But the landing is delayed. Franz Ritter is still trying to avert the catastrophe, but too late. He and 35 others die in the flames.


The model of the Hindenburg used for the film

Some scenes are based on real occurrences of the zeppelin, which however did not take place on the last trip of the zeppelin. The film describes a situation in which the covering of the airship tears and is repaired at great risk for some crew members. An underlying incident occurred on October 13, 1928 on the airship LZ 127 "Graf Zeppelin" during its first North Atlantic voyage. Even the Blüthner - wing , which is shown in the film, was with the trips in 1937 is no longer on board.

Evidence of an attack on the Hindenburg has not yet been found, there is only speculation about what happened. Electrical voltages may have ignited the new paintwork on the outside wall, or a bomb was smuggled on board.

The film gets by with just one model. The exterior shots of the Zeppelin consist largely of matte paintings by the specialist Albert Whitlock . This work won an Oscar in 1976 for best special effects. The seven-meter-long model from the film can be seen today at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The fact that the film is not so strict about facts is demonstrated by the fact that one of the passengers is traveling to America because of the upcoming takeover of Opel by General Motors ; because Opel was taken over by GM in 1929.

Cast and German voice actors

actor Role name German voice actor
George C. Scott Colonel Franz Ritter Helmut Wildt
Anne Bancroft Countess Ursula Eva Katharina Schultz
William Atherton Boerth Norbert Gescher
Roy Thinnes Martin Vogel Norbert Langer
Gig Young Edward Douglas Claus Biederstaedt
Burgess Meredith Emilio Pajetta Wolfgang Lukschy
Charles Durning Captain Max Pruss Heinz-Theo branding
Richard A. Dysart Captain Ernst A. Lehmann Klaus Miedel
Robert Clary Joe Spah Joachim Röcker
René Auberjonois Major Napier Thomas Danneberg
Peter Donat Reed Channing Jürgen Thormann
Alan Oppenheimer Albert Breslau Wolfgang Völz
Katherine Helmond Mildred Breslau Bettina Schön
Joanna Moore Mrs. Channing Inge Estate
Stephen Elliott Captain Fellows Heinz Petruo
Sandy Ward Detective Grunberger Gerd Holtenau
Herbert F. Nelson Hugo Eckener Kurt Mühlhardt
Joyce Davis Eleanor Knight Agi Prandhoff
Colby Chester Elliott Howell Dieter B. Gerlach
Lisa Pera Freda Hall Almut Eggert
Ruth Kobart Hattie Lu Neatly
David Mauro Joseph Goebbels Eric Vaessen
Ted Gehring Knorr Hans Walter Clasen
Kip Niven Lt. Truscott Manfred Lehmann
Peter Canon Lue ceiling Manfred Grothe
Jean Rasey Valerie Breslau Rebecca Völz


Cinema and television

The world premiere of the film was on December 25, 1975 (USA), the German premiere on April 16, 1976 and the first showing of the uncut version in Germany on August 13, 1995 as a TV broadcast on West 3 . The grammatical correctness of the German title is disputed. The Zeppelin company also used the male form of the name " Der Hindenburg" in contemporary publications .

Home theater publications

  • The Hindenburg . Piccolo Film / Universal Eight - 1979 - Super8, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese
  • The Hindenburg . Universal Studios 1998 - US DVD, English
  • The Hindenburg . Universal Studios 2007 - German DVD, 2.0 mono, German subtitles
  • The Hindenburg . Universal Studios 2015 - German DVD, Dolby Digital 2.0, German subtitles
  • The Hindenburg . Universal Studios 2015 - German Blu-ray, DTS-HD 2.0, German subtitles


  • David Shire : The Hindenburg. Original motion picture soundtrack . Intrada - digitally revised original recording of the film music under the direction of the composer

Awards and nominations

In addition to the Oscar for the best special effects, the Hindenburg received four other nominations: for the production design , the camera , the sound and the sound effects, for which Peter Berkos received the second Oscar.


  • "A catastrophe film that is routinely staged with great effort, which, while incorporating time-arrested fates, makes the accident, which has not yet been clarified, appear as a result of an anti-Nazi act of sabotage and throws a current spotlight on the importance of a highly developed technology within ideology and political counter-struggle." - Lexicon of the international Films
  • “[...] carefully staged, semi-documentary reconstruction of the never-cleared-up event of impressive technical brilliance; Incorporated in melodramatic Hollywood fashion is the rumor of anti-Nazi sabotage. ”(Rating: 3 stars = very good) - Adolf Heinzlmeier and Berndt Schulz in Lexicon Films on TV (extended new edition). Rasch and Röhring, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-89136-392-3 , p. 367

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Hindenburg. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used