Downfall

September 16th, 2004







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DownfallDownfallBruno Ganz in DownfallBruno Ganz and Juliane Köhler in DownfallStill of Bruno Ganz in DownfallBruno Ganz in Downfall

Plot
Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 8.3/10 (118,053 voted)

Critic's Score: 82/100

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes

Storyline
In April of 1945, Germany stands at the brink of defeat with the Russian and Ukranian Armies closing in from the west and south. In Berlin, capital of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler proclaims that Germany will still achieve victory and orders his Generals and advisers to fight to the last man. "Downfall" explores these final days of the Reich, where senior German leaders (such as Himmler and Goring) began defecting from their beloved Fuhrer, in an effort to save their own lives, while still others (Joseph Goebbels) pledge to die with Hitler. Hitler, himself, degenerates into a paranoid shell of a man, full of optimism one moment and suicidal depression the next. When the end finally does comes, and Hitler lies dead by his own hand, what is left of his military must find a way to end the killing that is the Battle of Berlin, and lay down their arms in surrender.

Writers: Bernd Eichinger, Joachim Fest

Cast:
Bruno Ganz - Adolf Hitler
Alexandra Maria Lara - Traudl Junge
Corinna Harfouch - Magda Goebbels
Ulrich Matthes - Joseph Goebbels
Juliane Köhler - Eva Braun
Heino Ferch - Albert Speer
Christian Berkel - Prof. Dr. Ernst-Günter Schenck
Matthias Habich - Prof. Dr. Werner Haase
Thomas Kretschmann - SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein
Michael Mendl - General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling
André Hennicke - SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke
Ulrich Noethen - Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler
Birgit Minichmayr - Gerda Christian
Rolf Kanies - General der Infanterie Hans Krebs
Justus von Dohnányi - General der Infanterie Wilhelm Burgdorf

Taglines: April 1945, a nation awaits its...



Details

Official Website: Official site [United States] |

Release Date: 16 September 2004

Filming Locations: Bavaria Filmstudios, Geiselgasteig, Grünwald, Bavaria, Germany

Box Office Details

Budget: €13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: €145,494 (Netherlands) (7 November 2004) (21 Screens)

Gross: $5,501,940 (USA) (12 June 2005)



Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (extended version)



Did You Know?

Trivia:
Most of the outdoor city scenes for the movie were filmed in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This was for two reasons, one the architecture of the city has many Germanic aspects. Second, there are plenty of streets with little or no modern advertisements and other commercial aspects.

Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: In the scene where SS officer Fegelein is executed for treason and desertion, no bullet wounds or blood appear on his uniform when the machine pistol's bullets hit him. Also, the weapon does not eject any empty cartridge cases while it is being fired.

Quotes:
[first lines]
Traudl Junge: I've got the feeling that I should be angry with this child, this young and oblivious girl. Or that I'm not allowed to forgive her for not seeing the nature of that monster. That she didn't realise what she was doing. And mostly because I've gone so obliviously...



User Review

Impressive achievement, realistic and shocking

Rating: 10/10

This film definitely is a must-see because of the incomparable degree of realism displayed in it. Direction, camera and acting are of an unparalleled level and make you, as the viewer, feel as if you are actually in Berlin, 1945, and in the Führer's bunker. The film does not provide any commentary or judgment, it just shows facts.

The film is criticized because it gives the Nazi's a human face, but this is exactly it's strongest point: the Nazi's were not extraterrestrial monsters, they were as human as you and I. The image of Hitler crying of sorrow because all is lost, is still burned on my retina.

In my opinion, this is a film that should be shown in schools to illustrate the Second World War with. It is probably impossible to provide a more realistic account, without *any* form of judgment.

A major achievement, even for Germany as a whole. It is very brave to create such a realistic film about one's own past.









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