The Grey Zone (2001)

R   |    |  Drama, History, War

The Grey Zone (2001) Poster

A Nazi doctor, along with the Sonderkommando, Jews who are forced to work in the crematoria of Auschwitz against their fellow Jews, find themselves in a moral grey zone.




  • Mira Sorvino in The Grey Zone (2001)
  • Harvey Keitel and Kamelia Grigorova in The Grey Zone (2001)
  • David Arquette in The Grey Zone (2001)
  • Allan Corduner and Kamelia Grigorova in The Grey Zone (2001)
  • Brían F. O'Byrne in The Grey Zone (2001)
  • Tim Blake Nelson in The Grey Zone (2001)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

11 April 2003 | stedrazed
| THE GREY ZONE is so good it's literally painful to watch.
This might not sound like a recommendation, but when you consider the film's subject matter, "painful" is actually a good word to describe THE GREY ZONE's brilliance. Director Tim Blake Nelson has crafted a fascinating portrayal of the Sonderkomando, Jewish concentration-camp prisoners who help the Nazis in order to ensure for themselves a few extra months of life, as well as creature comforts denied to the other prisoners. The script and cast are equally effective. David Arquette proves himself to be not merely the idiot bastard son of the Arquette family with a powerful performance; Harvey Kietel and Steve Buscemi are brilliant as always. The film's real strength, making it the greatest Holocaust film I've ever seen, is its relevance; we may think ourselves to noble to sell out our brethren to save our own lives, but we would certainly reconsider if actually faced with this choice. In the end, Nelson brilliantly implies that perhaps the nightmare world of the Sonderkomando is really not so different from our own workaday reality.

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Did You Know?


This was the first feature film about the "Sonderkommando" at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The acclaimed Hungarian-language feature film Son of Saul (2015) became the second one. While both films dealt with the same historical events, including the revolt on October 7, 1944, they are told from different perspectives, in different styles, and highlight different themes. The Hungarian film also characterized the "Sonderkommando" less ambiguous. Both films are based in part on doctor Miklos Nyiszli's "Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account", but Son of Saul (2015) used additional historical accounts, especially "The Scrolls of Auschwitz", a.k.a. "Voices from beneath the Ashes" (edited by Ber Mark), a collection of secretly written and hidden testimonies by members of the "Sonderkommando".


SS-Oberscharfuhrer Eric Muhsfeldt: I feel sorry for the world if we don't win the war.


The film features the historical Sonderkommando revolt of 7th October 1944. After multiple plans for an uprising had failed in the past for different reasons, the Sonderkommando finally mounted the uprising in a hurry, not as carefully planned as shown in the film. The crematoria IV Sonderkommando members suddenly rebelled after they knew they were about to be liquidated. They had no guns and used only blunt weapons and self made grenades and only set the crematoria IV on fire. Expert Andreas Kilian criticized the representation of the revolt in this film as "exaggerated" in a 2014 article. The cinematic depiction in Son of Saul (2015) is the most accurate yet.


The Grey Zone End Credit Music
Written by
Jeff Danna
Performed by Jeff Danna


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Drama | History | War

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,526 20 October 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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