Morituri (1965 film)

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For the comic book, see Strikeforce: Morituri.
Morituri (The Saboteur)
Original movie poster for the film Morituri.jpg
original movie poster
Directed by Bernhard Wicki
Produced by Aaron Rosenberg
Screenplay by Daniel Taradash
Based on Morituri
1958 novel 
by Werner Jörg Lüddecke
Starring Marlon Brando
Yul Brynner
Janet Margolin
Trevor Howard
Wally Cox
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Conrad L. Hall
Edited by Joseph Silver
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release dates
  • August 25, 1965 (1965-08-25)
Running time
123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6,290,000[1]
Box office $3,000,000[2]

Morituri (also known as The Saboteur and Code Name Morituri) is a 1965 film about the sabotage of a German merchant ship full of rubber. The film stars Marlon Brando, Yul Brynner, Janet Margolin, Trevor Howard and Wally Cox. It was directed by Bernhard Wicki.


Robert Crain (Marlon Brando) is a German pacifist living in India during the Second World War. He is blackmailed by the Allies into using his demolition expertise to cripple a Nazi ship carrying rubber from Japan. The Allies hope to recover the ship before it is scuttled by the captain because rubber was in short supply and essential for various uses in the war effort.

On board the ship Crain finds the captain to be a patriotic German who despises the Nazis. His first officer, however, if a fanatical Party member. Several of the crew are political prisoners impressed into service out of necessity and eventually Brando contacts them in a plot to give the ship to the Allies. Complications arise when several American prisoners and two suspicious Germany Naval officers are brought on board from a Japanese submarine. About to be exposed, Brando organizes a mutiny which fails, after which he sets off demolition charges. The surviving crew abandons ship, leaving behind Brando and the captain. However the rubber acts as a temporary stopper, keeping them afloat. At the end of the film Brando convinces the captain to radio the Allies for rescue.



It was nominated for two Oscars in the 39th Academy Awards (1966), for best black-and-white cinematography and best black-and-white costume design.


The film did not do well on its original release, probably at least in part because few people understood its title. The movie is also one of unrelieved gloom, which may have been a factor. The film was a financial disaster. In an attempt to be more commercial, the film was reissued as "Saboteur: Code Name Morituri".

The title "Morituri", the plural of a Latin word meaning "about to die", is a reference to a phrase used by Suetonius, Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant.


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p254
  2. ^ Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36

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