Wolfgang Petersen, the German filmmaker behind The NeverEnding Story, Air Force One, and In the Line of Fire, has died at the age of 81.

According to Deadline, Petersen passed away on Friday, August 12th, at his home in Brentwood, California due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

After directing a series of German-language short films and TV shows, Petersen scored his first major theatrical hit in 1981 with Das Boot. The WW2-era thriller about a German U-boat was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Petersen then made his English-language film debut in 1984 with an adaptation of Michael Ende’s fantasy novel, The NeverEnding Story. The bulk of the film was shot in Munich, and at the time it was the most expensive production ever made outside of the United States or Soviet Union.

From there, Petersen mostly gravitated toward making big budget action thrillers, like 1993’s In the Line of Fire starring Clint Eastwood; 1997’s Air Force One starring Harrison Ford; 2000’s The Perfect Storm starring George Clooney; and 2004’s Troy starring Brad Pitt.


Petersen’s final English-language film came in 2006 with the action disaster film Poseidon. In 2016, he returned to Germany to direct his final production, a German-language crime comedy called Vier gegen die Bank.