Touted as the greatest restoration effort in home video history, this DVD version of the quintessential war film does indeed boast a vast improvement in both audio and video over any previous release. It's obvious that the restoration producer went to great lengths to clean up much of the dirt and scratching that was present on the original print, and the results are impressive; there is almost no film noise, although a few scenes still contain some residual scratches which were most likely too prominent to remove without interfering with the picture quality. However, these scenes, few and far between as they are, do nothing to distract from the film. For the most part the flesh tones are evenly balanced and the dark areas, which are rare even though the film maintains a fairly gloomy tone, are a rich black. The audio tracks, on the other hand, are the true stars of this disc: there are two 5.1 tracks, one in English and the other in German. The digital surround, while certainly not subtle, is also extremely effective. Everything from the ominous creaks and groans of water pressure on the hull of the u-boat to thundering explosions of depth-charges and aerial bombing runs is reproduced with stunning presence. Also, it's important to note here that the English dub on this disc is not groan-inducingly bad, as is usually the case; several members of the cast overdubbed their own voices in English, including star Jurgen Prochnow, and the dialogue is, for the most part, on par with the original German.
In addition to the superior audio/video transfer, the disc also includes a short behind the scenes featurette and a separate commentary track with director Wolfgang Petersen, which gives particularly good insight into the making of the film, as well as his views on war and war films from a filmmaker's perspective. The disc's only shortcoming is that it is a "flipper," meaning that the film is of such length that the disc must be removed and flipped over halfway through, but fans of this film will be able to see past that to the fact that a true landmark film of its genre has been given the professional treatment it deserves.