The Lightship

The Lightship is a 1985 American drama film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. The film stars Klaus Maria Brandauer and Robert Duvall, with early appearances from Arliss Howard and William Forsythe.

The Lightship
Directed byJerzy Skolimowski
Produced byBill Benenson
Moritz Borman
Matthias Deyle
Screenplay byWilliam Mai
David Taylor
Based onThe Lightship
by Siegfried Lenz
StarringRobert Duvall
Arliss Howard
Klaus Maria Brandauer
Badja Djola
William Forsythe
Music byStanley Myers
CinematographyCharly Steinberger
Edited byScott Hancock
Barrie Vince
Distributed byCastle Hill Productions
Release date
  • September 26, 1985 (1985-09-26)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film is based on the novella "Das Feuerschiff" ("The Lightship" in German) by German Author Siegfried Lenz which had previously been made into a 1963 German film of the same title. This was the last film done by CBS Theatrical Films, who had gone out of business in November 1985. Subsequently, this film was distributed by Castle Hill Productions just nine months after the studio's closure.


The story follows the crew of a small ship run by a man named Miller. On a small cruise out to sea, the ship is overtaken by three criminals, one of them is Caspary. Just when they think the ship will be their haven, the criminals find themselves battling the crew for control of the vessel.

One of the main plot strings is the conflict between the Captain (Brandauer) and his son. The son wants to attack the criminals and subdue them, Captain Miller is against any such action. His son sees this as cowardice, but in reality Miller feels his duty is to protect the lives of his crew, as they are more important than apprehending the criminals for the authorities.


  • The Lightship on IMDb
  • The Lightship at Rotten Tomatoes
  • The Lightship at Box Office Mojo
  • Vincent Canby (September 26, 1986). "Movie Review THE SCREEN: 'LIGHTSHIP,' WITH DUVALL". New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  • Michael Wilmington (October 31, 1986). "Movie Review : Desperate Hours On The 'Lightship'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  • "The Lightship: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  • Variety Staff (December 31, 1984). "The Lightship". Variety. Retrieved October 4, 2011.

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