Ship of Fools

Ship of Fools is a 1965 American drama film directed by Stanley Kramer, set on board an ocean liner bound for Germany from Mexico in 1933. It stars a prominent ensemble cast of 11 stars — Vivien Leigh (in her final film role), Simone Signoret, Jose Ferrer, Lee Marvin, Oskar Werner, Elizabeth Ashley, George Segal, Jose Greco, Michael Dunn, Charles Korvin and Heinz Ruehmann. It also marked Christiane Schmidtmer's first U.S. production.


The action of the film takes place almost entirely on board a passenger ship in 1933, between Veracruz Mexico and Bremerhaven, Germany. Most of the scenes unfold on the First Class deck or among the upper middle-class passengers, but the ship is carrying 600 displaced workers, far more than the ship is certified to carry and they're assigned to squalid conditions in steerage. They are all being deported back to Spain by the order of the Cuban dictator, Gerardo Machado. Many passengers bound for Nazi Germany are happy, some are apprehensive, while others downplay the significance of fascist politics.