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Downfall
Year:
2004
Country:
Italy, Germany, Austria
Genre:
Drama, Biography, History, War
IMDB rating:
8.3
Director:
Oliver Hirschbiegel
Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler
Alexandra Maria Lara as Traudl Junge
Corinna Harfouch as Magda Goebbels
Ulrich Matthes as Joseph Goebbels
Juliane Köhler as Eva Braun
Heino Ferch as Albert Speer
Christian Berkel as Prof. Dr. Ernst-Günter Schenck
Matthias Habich as Prof. Dr. Werner Haase
Thomas Kretschmann as SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein
Michael Mendl as General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling
André Hennicke as SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke
Ulrich Noethen as Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler
Birgit Minichmayr as Gerda Christian
Rolf Kanies as General der Infanterie Hans Krebs
Storyline: 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.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 1280x720 px 9445 Mb h264 N/A mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 576x320 px 1394 Mb mpeg4 1082 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
Shockingly Realistic and Moving
Downfall launches the viewer head-on into the last moments of the Reich in Berlin, 1945. It doesn't patronise the viewer with an explanatory voice over it is unflinchingly real. Ganz's performance as Hitler is terrific he manages to capture the sense of terror and awe that the real-life counter part had. The supporting cast are also superb portraying the sense of utter loss and crushed belief as the seemingly invincible idea of Germania collapses around them. This film has been criticised for humanising the Nazis, particularly Hitler but I find this to be it's strongest point. Unlike most war films the Germans are shown as human, they have emotions, they weep as their children die and their leader weeps as his monstrous scheme dies. The film really portrays the manner in which the German people were swept up with National Socialism, they lived and died for it. It also captures the terrifying will to power which the Nazis used so inhumanely over the 'weak' which even turn out to be the German civilians after a while. All in all a moving and shockingly realistic portrayal of a legacy which still haunts us to this day.
2006-06-28
60 years ago
It has been months since Der Untergang first premiered. For one reason or another, I kept postponing it, month after month, country after country. Luck dictated I should see it on May 9th 2005, in Hannover, Germany. The 60th anniversary of the Armistice in Europe. The day we celebrate an united Europe (that same Europe that Robert Schumman kicked-off in the 50s and still works in preventing further wars). To make it clear: I am not German. Yet, for more than a few reasons, the history of the Second World War always touched me in a particular way. Not that it was any different from so many other wars. Except for the numbers. Never did human cruelty climbed to such levels. Never did we realize as then, how easy can society mutate into a monster. This was a highly intense movie to watch. Bruno Ganz will for ever be remembered as the magisterial actor that played Hitler - as Ben Kingsley is remembered for Gandhi. We see him in this film as a madman. There is no other way to describe it. He was insane. An insane man led the world to collapse, brought Humanity to its knees, and did so unquestioned. Der Untergang is full of strong imagery - it shouldn't matter if those in the streets were German or not. The human misery is total. I could not contain my tears in many occasions (not titanic tears, rather those that come from the depth, those that imply something beyond the screen. tears of History). In others, I simply had to close or cover my eyes, so brutal were the scenes. And as we come to an end, I am, as viewer, left with a sense of emptiness. The credits came, ran for 10 minutes, and I just sat there, crying compulsively for 10 minutes. Not due to the film, but to all that is behind it.

As I exited the theatre, I noticed a few other people drying their faces. Outside, the cold had returned. The wind blew strong and icy, some rain drops fell on me. And I walked. I wandered in the cold rain for one hour. I can only think of two other films that left me this disoriented, this helpless.

It should never happen again. Never.
2005-05-11
The Best WWII movie ever.
'Der Untergang' is probably the only WW2 movie I've ever seen, which only deals with facts and is utterly deprived of any form of commercialism whatsoever. Bruno Ganz is truly excellent in his role as Adolf Hitler, a tired man who sees his "Reich" fall, but cannot accept it. Overall (type)casting is very good; all the actors chosen to portray a famous/notorious character look a lot like the real deal, especially Goebbels. Although I'm not a fan of long war movies, these 2,5 hours passed very quickly due to excellent acting, great sets, FX and storyline. Somehow, every scene is dripping with underlying tension that never really explodes; a kind of unsettling unbelieved grips you when you see seemingly ordinary people commit astonishing atrocities and sins towards mankind, just for their faith and loyalty to one man, Hitler, who himself walks the edge of reason.

Great movie : 10/10 without a doubt.
2004-12-14
One of the great modern epics and one of the most haunting films ever made
Downfall is a film not without it's flaws but I feel it is one of the most important films I've ever seen. It is so accurate and so unbiased in it's portrayal of Hitler and the final days of his Reich that we get to see the man behind the monster and the people who have sold their soul to him. Nazis weren't beacons of pure evil, they were human beings and Downfall takes this to heart. I remember the film received some criticism upon it's release for being "sympathetic" to the Third Reich, sympathy is not the emotion Oliver Hirschbiegel is trying to inset in his audience, I felt he wanted them to develop a sense of understanding.

Bruno Ganz is haunting and mesmerizing as Hitler, but the dictator is not the main focus of the film. It is largely an ensemble piece about the fall of Berlin to the Russian army through various perspectives. We see the efforts of an SS Doctor named Ernst Gunther Schneck as he tries to look out for the interests of his fellow Germans and we see that he is most troubled by the SS' indifference to the suffering. There is a very well done subplot about a group of Hitler youth being called into battle because there simply isn't anyone else left. The group of children have been brainwashed and believe that they must fight to the death, and they do despite the pleas of a boy's broken father. To say this is simply a film about Nazi' would be an understatement, it's a film about Germany and the uncertainty of her future.

We have little time to catch our breath as we are thrust into the Bunker where the Fuhrer will sit through the destruction of his empire and have to endure a hellish demise. And go through Hell he will, the fortunes of the war shift dramatically for the worse. Hitler sits in his war room moving troops across it which don't exist anymore. His Generals and followers don't know what to think anymore. Some want to continue to place complete faith in Hitler and some believe it is time to end the war. Hitler himself clings onto the slimmest chances that he can lead Germany to victory. He continues to plan for the building of a new model Berlin and seldom does he show his true intentions or thoughts. Only when his closest followers abandon him does Hitler realize that he has no chance of winning the war. We are unsure of what Hitler wants to hang onto, he makes it very clear that he doesn't care about the citizens of Berlin. He sees them as weak and as traitors to their own cause even though they continue to fight to the last man for him. In many ways the Bunker is a surreal area void of reality. In it's walls, Hitler is still a powerful leader and not a weak old man drained by war. The occupants know their fate but they never admit it or bring it up. Eva Braun plans a huge party with dancing and drinking but it is interrupted by powerless due to the firing of Russian artillery, when the power returns Eva doesn't ask if anyone is all right she orders that the music be put back on. Hitler makes a big deal about his killing himself, he is clear that this is the last and only option. When he parts with his secretaries and staff we see Hitler's trademark theatricality. He doesn't speak to any of his followers except for Magda Goebbels, whom he gives his official seal to praising her as the bravest mother in the Reich. Magda later comes to the realization that she would rather kill her young children rather than let them live in a world without their Uncle Adolf and Aunt Eva and National Socialism.

In the end the influence of the Third Reich only extended from the mind of a madman to a group of uncertain people buried below the rubble.

If Downfall has a main character it is Traudi Junge, Hitler's secretary, played by the beautiful actress Alexandra Maria Lara. This character is the most compelling in the film. She is young and by her own admission she sought a career with the Nazis because she saw an opportunity for advancement. The best scene is when the two central characters are introduced in the beginning of the film, Traudi is applying to be Hitler's secretary. Hitler's introduction into the picture is filmed relatively simply but Ganz' presence is huge and rather Traudi looks like she is looking into the eyes of God. Hitler brings the girl to his office to test her typing skills and he makes small talk about his beloved German Shepard Blondi. Ganz makes him appear like a father figure to the girl, patient and understanding. It is one of the best scenes of the film. The relationship between Traudi and Hitler is handled with utmost care. Traudi is never sure what to think about Hitler, he both repulses and fascinates her. She convinces herself that she sees something past the hate filled rants, she tries to find Hitler's soul. And the audience is brought along on this search. The thought of Hitler having a soul is a tough conundrum to think about, but past the hate,the racism, and the evil was a man who was gentle and understanding with Traudi and who loved his dear old dog Blondi.

Showing Hitler and his Third Reich as humans is the best way to respect the sheer evil of the Holocaust. If we think of Hitler as nothing put pure evil we lessen the tragedy and the enormity of humanity's darkest hour. A human being is capable of error and Downfall is about flawed people who allowed themselves to be taken in by a crazy man and how they and the nation of Germany had to pay for their sins
2008-06-21
Chilling and brutally brilliant
I have just finished watching this film, and I cannot believe how extraordinary this piece of brave film making is. For Germans to confront their past this way is nothing short of breath taking.

The actors were great, and the performance by Ganz as Hitler is one of the most unnerving things I have ever seen committed to film. There are fewer and fewer film out there that challenge you, but this is one of them. And boy, does it challenge you. The Nazis were the most heinous people on Earth, but a lot of them were not bad. Human like me and you with feelings for others. And that is the power of this film.

This has shot up into my top ten films of the last ten years. Wow.
2005-12-05
my top 5
I am just laughing to the comment I've just read: "terribly boring, full of clichés". I can't believe that Kill Bill and similar movies entered top 250. Who the hell voted for Kill Bill?! I guess movies with Will Smith and Meg Ryan take big money because people like this. This movie has great aspect of view on WWII. Every time I watch good movie about WWII I change my mood in depressive or something like that. After watching it I spent few hours thinking about that maybe most important period in history. But this is the best movie on that topic. Definitely better than Saving Private Ryan, that is, I would say a bit pro American ( I mean, American were not the only victims of WWII), though I never watched Cross of Iron.
2006-06-10
Incredible look into Hitler's final days
Having heard many positive reviews of "The Downfall," I expected a unique and interesting film when I watched the opening scenes. By the time the credits began to roll, I was taken aback by how incredible it turned out to be.

To begin, Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler absolutely makes this film what it is. At certain times throughout the film I had forgotten that an actor was playing him, and actually thought I was watching the real person. His demeanor, personality shifts, loud outbursts, even facial expressions are so dead on it's incredible. In fact, the entire cast as a whole delivers an extraordinary performance. It is clear that careful thought went into the selection of actors/actresses.

The film tells the grim story of Hitler and his right-hand men during the last days of his life. We see a man grow increasingly insane as he refuses to accept the ultimate end of his lifetime goal. We also see the differences in the characters around him, some believing in his ideas until death, some showing the slightest ounce of disbelief in the world around them. It offers an extraordinary look into the past, a first hand look into the mind of Hitler, and takes a concept that has been tried hundreds of times before and makes it right.

Simply put, "The Downfall" is a must see film that will leave you curious and intrigued for days after the final credits roll.
2009-08-26
Gripping, moving and horrifying – again a war movie that just makes you wonder what the point of it all is
In 1945 the second world war is coming to an end The German armies that once spread out all over Europe have been decimated and pushed back to the very heart of the German command in Berlin. Deep in his bunker, Hitler continues to rule with his group of generals, families and Traudl, his secretary. Awaiting armies that no longer exist and making plans that his generals are too scared to tell him are impossible, Hitler refuses to surrender as the streets and citizens of Berlin suffer between the remaining defending forces and the advancing Russian army. Gradually, as it becomes obvious that all is lost, the dream collapses and all that is left is death.

A few months ago, a fellow user on this site asked me if I thought if Der Untergang was going to get nominated for an Oscar or not; I must admit that at the time I had not heard of it, but decided to see it if I got the chance. Of course it took me a few weeks to be in the mood for a long war movie that I knew was not going to have a good ending for anyone. When I went to see this film, the woman selling me my tickets asked if I knew it was a German film, I asked why it mattered and she said that they had had quite a few people leave the screening complaining about the fact it wasn't in English; doubtless these people then went into the next available screening of Be Cool (or whatever) and turned off their hearts and minds and just talked their way through the movie. Anyway, enough of my multiplex complaining, in fairness I did join a surprisingly full screening of this film and immediately got into it. The focus of the story was the bunker and it is compelling in its portrayal, with the cold emotion, the cruel sentiments and the utter pointlessness of the whole thing.

The characters are not that well developed; they were never really people to me but they did enough to fit their roles within this story. That said, the whole story is compelling and it didn't matter that I didn't care for the characters as people because they were gripping to watch nonetheless. The film works well to paint the inanity of the whole thing but also cut in moments that are so cold that they almost made me shiver – for example, when Hitler is told of the loss of all the young officers, he simply replies "that is what the young are for". The film does not forget the people above ground and the scenes of destruction of Berlin are impacting – those who say that the civilians deserved it should see this and try to understand what they would have done in the situation; I am part of a country that went to war with Iraq, by that logic I deserve to have that country retaliate against me, even though I opposed the manner in which we did it.

The acting is classy even though the characters are quite thin at times. Ganz is a great Hitler and gets it spot on throughout the film; however he does well not to dominate the film – his death (no spoiler there) doesn't stop the film because he was not what the film was all about. Lara is good although a bit too wide-eyed to convince; her real confessions at the end of the film are a bit too forgiving of her as a person but it does serve as a fair ending to the film. Harfouch and Matthes are cold and effective as the Goebbels' while the rest of the support cast all fit their roles well, with a good mix of opinions and approaches across the generals facing Hitler.

Overall this is a good film although it is not an easy one to watch. The bunker scenes are cold and compelling even if the characters are broad historical reference points rather than people, meanwhile the attacks on Berlin are brutal and difficult to just watch without being moved. The manner in which the film ends is just as you'd expect, with nothing achieved but destruction by all of German's years before and during the war. The end credits remind us that 50 million people died during the war, including 6 million Jews and ethnic minorities systematically murdered – having seen the men who organised all this taking their own lives the main thing I felt was just how pointless and wasteful the whole thing had been and I left the film having "enjoyed" the quality film but being utterly depressed by the world in which we live.
2005-04-19
An instant classic!
I don't read into history that much, but I was fascinated by this movie and the subtle and convincing acting.

A great movie will make you think about the theme and characters for weeks, and that's exactly what this movie does; I even went so far as too research Blondi, Hitler's dog.

The character development between Frau Jungdl and the young German boy puts a semi-positive spin on the saga. When the Germans admit to themselves they are beaten, one can see the base of human emotion and circumstance in the characters, and relate to them.

Engrossed in the movie and the flawless character portrayals, I actually felt bad for the Germans and in my American brazenness, wanted them to fight back! Overall, a superb movie with replay value and historical accuracies.
2007-01-25
Important for our understanding of How It All Could Happen
This is an important film and absolutely a must for anyone who has ever pondered how WWII, the Holocaust and all that was at all possible.

Der Untergang has sometimes been criticized for making Hitler and the Nazis look sympathetic and human. I saw it like this: the most horrifying thing about Hitler and Nazis is that they WERE humans, not some caricature monsters of hell. The movie displays this very well, without sympathizing or underlining the evil of these human beings.

If you're a human being equipped with normal feelings, you ARE right in feeling slightly compassionate towards a crying Hitler. But at the same time, if you're a normal person, your compassion vanishes when you remember why he's crying. He's not regretting his inhuman deeds. He's not feeling remorse for the suffering of other people. He's crying because his horrible plans have failed, because he thinks the German people have failed him.

I also think Der Untergang points out an important thing about the Nazi ideology. It was and is evil because it is based on intense hate and the conscious rejection of compassion. People blinded by this kind of ideology are also blinded by hatred, and as we know this phenomenon is unfortunately alive and well in today's world, in the East and the West as well. Movies like Der Untergang give us an important lesson in understanding this dangerous way of thought and the utter madness and vanity of war. Go see this if you can.
2005-02-27
See Also
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