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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
Outstanding
The outstanding qualities of this film have already been discussed at length, I want to address some of the criticisms levelled against this film by 'the experts' (critics and historians).

Why are they so outraged by a film that portrays the nazi leadership as human beings? The actions and mannerisms shown in this film are entirely consistent with how those people acted in real life. Yes, Hitler was a genocidal leader, but he was just a man, not a demon. He was capable of great cruelty but was it is often remarked that he was capable of decent conversation with people and was generally amiable but patronising in his dealings with subordinates. These attributes, I feel, were accurately portrayed in the film.

What about the film portraying war criminals (eg, keitel, jodl, speer) in a positive light, as brave and honourable men? This film made it clear that it was a representation of the final days and hours of the nazi regime. the death camps have been liberated by the advancing allies, the victories of 1939-41 a distant memory. Yes, these people were guilty of war crimes but that doesn't mean they would act like in a cowardly or dishonourable way when their homeland was under siege.

Take a look at any good film, book or just at humanity in general, you will see that ALL people are capable of cruelty but also of honour, bravery and loyalty.

Why is it controversial to portray the nazi leadership in such a way? I think the film displays well the internal tug-of-war - loyalty to their leader against reality and self-preservation - taking place in each persons head while they deal with the inevitable capitulation.

Finally, where are these critics when Hollywood produces some awful pap that portrays historical events emerges? Whether they re-write history (eg. braveheart or mel gibsons patriot) or try and play 13th century characters with 21st century liberal emotions (eg. kingdom of heaven) these films escape the large scale criticisms levelled at der untergang.

Why does Hollywood produce this nonsense? Is the true story of what happened (the American revolution, the crusades, ww2) not interesting enough for cinema viewing? I think it is and the accurate, human portrayal of Hitler and the German people in der untergang proves this.
2005-12-11
The madness, the propaganda, the glamour
I just saw this film yesterday, after listening to violent reactions on the radio. Here in Argentina there's a big Jewish community and it had a big impact. One of the presenters of a radio program was very offended by the fact that there were a lot of deaths depicted in the film but the actual moment when Hitler shoots himself wasn't. The man wanted to see it, needed it for his own satisfaction! That's disturbing, knowing there's so much hate going around, and in persons too young to ever have had direct contact with the facts in question. That implies that someone older took a lot of work in implanting that hate. That's frightening. On the film, I think the great thing about this film is you can see a person or persons who have undergone a process of dehumanization and indoctrination that at the time point of the movie is completely irreversible, and they acknowledge they have no future in a project different than theirs. Hitler makes clear at several points that he chose to construct himself as such a person, and in the end he is nearly delusional, unable to separate the fatherland from his own personna, but remaining a human being when he's not concerned with matters of state. That makes his craziness much more believable, almost schizophrenic. On the whole, you see masses brainwashed by propaganda, some of them wanting blindly to be brainwashed, some accepting it warmly because of a sense of security. That is the story of Junge, as most of the others. I think that's the fatherland concept, you know you can relax and enjoy your country because there's a hard guy in the government that cares for you, and if you support him without asking too much, things will be great for you and the likes of you. I think it's good to see that in a global context. The moral for me is that when in a tragic national situation people look for comfort, they'd rather accept propaganda that makes them feel secure and positive rather than question from their own points of view. So blocks of power are formed on stereotypes and propaganda, and measures taken in the end that no ordinary person would avail in a day to day basis, but the death of individual unbiased thinking ends up like that.
2005-06-03
der Untergang - the donwfall of Hitler and his third Reich
If anything was horrifying, it must have been the years in which Hitler reigned over Germany, especially during World War II. Nothing has been more commented on, almost everybody knows what happened during his reign. So when people decided that movies ought to be made to show us the hows, whens and whats, these were made. Unfortunately, Nazi-Germans spoke English, as they were played by Americans and Englishmen. It was very easy to qualify the German people as 'evil'. Now, after 60 years, we see the story from the inside. Little by little we understand that the German people suffered as much as anybody suffered from the terror used by the Nazi-regime. Bruno Ganz may well have played the role of his life, I have never seen an actor playing Hitler so realistically, showing him being normal, frightening, aggressive and mad. This movie, showing the WWII from a non-allied point of view, is a must for all those who easily speak of Germans, when they mean Nazis.
2006-10-12
Superb
Not since the 1981 release of "Das Boot" has a German film had such an impact on audiences witnessing, from a German point of view, the perception, judgement,interpretation and opinion on its own history. "Downfall" tells the true story of the last days of the third Reich (April 1945), from within Hitlers secret underground bunker situated in the heart of Berlin.

3/4 of the film is set inside the scope of the claustrophobic and confined concrete bunker world of Adolf Hitler during his last weeks alive. The film also show a glimpse of central Berlin in its besieged and confused state during the Soviet onslaught. Inside the bunker we see Hitler's decay, he goes from calmness to rage, from understanding to paranoia, from irrational to total deluded. He gives his generals and field commandos ( there was no grand admirals present in the bunker at this time of the war) orders that are not compatible with reality or fact. He tries to control armies that do not exist anymore or order companies to counter-attack that only featuring on a map. A large majority of his high ranking commanding officers sense, and have done for 8-months, the war is lost on the side of Germany. However, some still believe in final victory in idealistic faculties. This is played out on screen with nervous tension. In addition, the few scenes set outside the bunker bring across a population confused, scarred, exhausted. Some however are continuing to display courage in valiantly defending the city and show continuously hopeless resistance in the face of the advancing red army (1st Belarussian army)bought on by years of Nazi propaganda.

The film magnificently achieves to bring to screen the combination of Traudi Junges ( Hitlers private secretary) memoirs, Nazi officials memoirs, German war archives and the documentary "blind spot" to a conclusion on screen.

Bruno Ganz brings the fuhrer to life in his exceptionally good performance. Alexandria Maria Lara plays the role of Traudi Junge has a young confused,aroused and obsolete to the truth citizen of the third Reich. All the members of the cast gives excellently rehearsed and researched performances to life. Ulrich Noether was a perfect likeness to Himmler.

"Downfall" is a remarkable history lesson on the second world war in Europe. It holds the attention of the audience through out. The film never side tracking away for long enough, in which it sets the sense of calmness, peace and normality, to lose sight of the unbearable reality of the situation.
2008-09-17
Absolutely amazing
Superlatives cannot do this film justice. Bruno Ganz in the role of his life as Hitler is extraordinary, but his performance is only so strong because of the outstanding supporting cast. An absolutely essential film for anyone with an interest in history and politics. It is not 'just another WW2 movie' because it takes you into the heart of fanaticism, the people who instigate and lead that fanaticism and the people that consent to be led by them even to the death of themselves and everything they love. Nothing could be more relevant today.

Even watching it on small screen you find yourself wincing at the suicides, the injuries and the explosions, and gasping at the coldness and horror taking place. The fact that it is based to the closest word and detail on two eyewitness accounts just knocks other supposedly 'realistic' pieces like Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, etc. into a cocked hat.

I have only two (slight) criticisms. Yet again in a film Hitler comes across as a gibbering madman - he was far more calculating, chilling and subtle than that, or he could not have seized power, fooled the 'Great Powers' into inaction, and then led a modern, industrialized country to its own utter destruction in the space of a few years. As the film develops though there are glimpses of the former Hitler, and the supporting cast are utterly convincing in their fanaticism - the actors playing Goebbels and his wife are particularly strong. As the film goes on we start to see this is the end of an incredibly powerful process. The supporting cast show just the right combination of fear, desperation and total, self-annihilating belief in Hitler and his leadership. Most of them are literally seeing for the first time the situation they have let themselves in for, and the true nature of their leader. Secondly, you couldn't want it to be any longer - an edited down version for those with only a couple of hours on hand would be good.
2006-04-25
One of the Best Movies I've Ever Watched
Seriously, I wasn't expecting much, but this was one of the best movies period. The actors and acting was terrific, the sets were incredible (St. Petersburg, Russia), the emotions... I felt like I was in Berlin during the last few days, I felt like I was in the bunker with Hitler. It is the most realistic depiction of the situation I had ever seen, and I almost felt a tear in my eye. And that is something, coming from a 40 year old Army veteran. The last 5 minutes, I was on the edge of my seat, when the Russians showed up. Anyway, this movie is totally recommended by me, but brush up on your Nazi history first, or you won't know who is who.

I also liked it because it showed Hitler as a real human, and not the usual Anthony Hopkins/Alec Guiness "nutbag" Hitler, or the stereotypical "demon" Hitler. It showed him as he was, a broken down egomaniac. I will totally buy this movie and add it to my collection, which is rare for me to do these days.
2006-05-19
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 movie I have seen for years!
I cannot believe that this movie did not win the Oscar for best foreign language film. I really cannot believe that another movie could take the Oscar. Perhaps politics is the cause of that, I do not know but this movie is the best movie I have seen for many years and I have seen a lot of them.

This movie is a "must see" movie for everyone. Bruno Ganz is just incredible as Hitler.

The movie is about the last days of Adolf Hitler before he kills himself. The portrait of Hitler as part a very carrying man and part of this monster we know he was is done really really good. This movie really deserve the 10 stars!
2005-03-25
very involving and seemingly authentic
First of all, I am not commenting on the morality or immorality of the depicted contents. I am commenting on the film as such. And that film was really catching. Hitler was portrayed in an extremely believable way. His private moments revealed the cracks in his confidence, yet, they stressed his stubbornness. All of the used décor seemed original. The military language and acting -even that of the extras- was precisely investigated and seemed believable. At no point, I had the feeling "oh, this is just dumb dramaturgy". I could feel the imminent collapse of a once so powerful oppression system. Still, in this apocalypse, the myrmidons lost their countenance only slowly. This film has let me live through all of this. Very well made!
2004-09-20
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
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