Why No One Is Like Wolfgang Petersen

From the acclaimed Das Boot to the action-packed Air Force One, the German filmmaker leaves an impressive legacy.

Hollywood is full of directors who pinball from one assignment to the next, leaving their mark at the box office.

And later on cable and streaming programming—only to be ignored when the conversation turns to greats like Spielberg or Scorsese.

Wolfgang Petersen was one of them. Looking back at his work, from an Oscar-nominated turn with Das Boot to Air Force One, reveals titles that resonate long after the end credits roll.

Petersen was the type of filmmaker who makes the often hyperbolic phrase “that director can do anything” actually ring true.

From gritty ’80s sci-fi like Enemy Mine, to grounded ’90s thrillers like Outbreak, the German director’s string of memorable hits proves that almost nothing was beyond his reach as a storyteller.

The early 2000s seemingly served as a retirement of sorts for the director, after the uneven spectacle of 2004’s Troy and the 2006 disaster movie remake Poseidon.