53 user 17 critic

Morituri (1965)

A war pacifist is blackmailed to pose as an SS officer and to disable the scuttling explosives on freighter carrying rubber cargo to be captured by the Allies.


Bernhard Wicki


Werner Jörg Lüddecke (novel) (as Werner Joerg Luedecke), Daniel Taradash (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Robert Crain
Yul Brynner ... Captain Mueller
Janet Margolin ... Esther Levy
Trevor Howard ... Colonel Statter
Martin Benrath ... Kruse
Hans Christian Blech ... Donkeyman
Wally Cox ... Dr. Ambach
Max Haufler Max Haufler ... Branner
Rainer Penkert Rainer Penkert ... Milkereit
William Redfield ... Baldwin
Oscar Beregi Jr. ... Admiral (as Oscar Beregi)
Martin Brandt ... Nissen
Charles De Vries Charles De Vries ... Kurz
Carl Esmond ... Busch
Martin Kosleck ... Wilke


A German living in India during World War II is blackmailed by the English to impersonate an SS officer on board a cargo ship leaving Japan for Germany carrying a large supply of rubber for tyres. His mission is to disable the scuttling charges so the captain cannot sink the ship if they are stopped by English warships. Written by Daniel Bruce <danbec@one.net.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


World War II, Espionage, adventure and human lives have never before been combined so explosively See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Filmed on Catalina Island, Roger Vadim spent his holidays with Marlon Brando, just before Vadim married Jane Fonda, who was filming Cat Ballou (1965) in Hollywood. See more »


Esther's hairstyle is of the Sixties, not the war years. See more »


Captain Mueller: [Angrily storming into Adm. Wendel's office] Admiral Wendel, in the Merchant Navy the captain chooses his own crew.
Captain Mueller: [Glaring at Kruse] What are you doing here?
Captain Mueller: [Pulls a list of names out of his pocket] I'll be damned if I'll ship with these! Two murderers. Two more, "Assault with deadly weapons." This one... "Theft of government property."
Admiral: Another, an outright political enemy. It's also a good way to send these bastards to Germany, for the punishment they deserve.
Captain Mueller: I'm sorry, I cannot accept them.
Kruse: But ...
See more »

User Reviews

A rather great understated war film--terrific photography and Brando
22 January 2013 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Morituri (1965)

I had no expectation here. The name was odd. And the description was odd--a WWII film from the point of view of the enemy. Sort of. And so I didn't really think I'd be fully captive.

And I was. This is a special film war film. For one thing it has Marlon Brando being his arrogant best, and Yul Brynner, too. It presents an odd dramatic situation, a tension between strong willed characters who don't quite know what the other is up to. Here I mean Brando playing a German plant on this ship going from Japan to Europe, and Brynner, the captain, a disgruntled German with some experience both with the wheel and the bottle.

The ship is a modern (1942) Japanese ship, and among the crew are a bunch of political prisoners, who of course can't be totally trusted. The cargo is rubber, the most sought after material in the early war (later it would be uranium, I suppose).

Cinematographer Connie Hall is quite aggressive and brilliant with his photography, keeping the angles and movement nearly constant. The light is dramatic, the sharpness clean. And he got nominated for an Oscar for his work. The interior of the ship is large and filled with strange turns, great heights, lots of interior and exterior spaces that take you by surprise. Beautiful stuff.

The plot moves more quickly than you'd expect, too, with little surprises and turns, like finding a burning American ship at night and rescuing survivors. One of these is a young woman who was born in Berlin and they question her--why is a German on an enemy ship? And she says she is not German. And they ask what is she? You expect here that she might say she was American, but even better she says, "I am anti-German."

The script is tight and believable. The scenario, which is not formed from fact as far as I could discover (it's based on a novel), seems reasonable. And it ends up being more subtle than you'd expect. Yes, there are aspects that are obvious dramatic additions--the one woman who appears, for example, happens to be Jewish--but these end up being ways of showing people's characters. Ultimately that's what this movie is about.

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Release Date:

September 1965 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Saboteur: Code Name Morituri See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$6,290,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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