Downfall (2004)

R   |    |  Biography, Drama, History


Downfall (2004) Poster

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.

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  • Bruno Ganz in Downfall (2004)
  • Bruno Ganz in Downfall (2004)
  • Bruno Ganz in Downfall (2004)
  • Downfall (2004)
  • Ulrich Matthes in Downfall (2004)
  • Bruno Ganz in Downfall (2004)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


15 September 2004 | adammezei
A truer rendition of Hitler I've never seen...
Not since perhaps Rod Steiger's portrayal of Benito Mussolini in Moustapha Akkad's LION OF THE DESERT (1980) have I seen a notorious dictator more realistically acted than Bruno Ganz's stunning display as "Der Fuerer" in The Downfall (2004).

Sitting amongst a full-house of patrons here at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival's 2004 edition, Ganz captivated the local audience with the scariest Hitler I've ever seen up on the silver screen -- better than Noah Taylor's English Hitler in MAX just a couple of years back.

Audience members get a glimpse into the final days of Hitler's rule from the bunker deep beneath the Reich Chancellery in Nazi Berlin's dying days. The defeated spirit of the Nazis -- covered extensively in the history books -- has seldomly been more penetratingly shown on the Big Screen. Bravo to director Oliver Hirschbiegel for doing this the right (German) way -- for intrepidly tackling a period piece few German producers might.

I'd had a chance to chat with the actors post-screening, with lead actress Alexandra Maria Lara (playing Traudl Junge) candidly admitting the sheer amount of work she'd diligently invested in bringing her character to life -- doubtless complicated by the death of Frau Junge in 2002. Her research, however, was clearly impeccable and left no stone unturned. Corinna Harfouch wasn't on hand -- as Magda Goebbels. Pity because in many respects, she convincingly stole the show.

So rarely do we see Hitler on screen in modern days to allow us a glimpse into the horrifying nature of a madman bent on global domination. We all know the end of this story, but seldom does a film so masterfully suspend your disbelief than does The Downfall in making you wonder just how the Third Reich might end. Historical fiction might never be the same.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Karl Richter, a member of the German NPD, managed to get into the movie via the normal way of being cast. He played the uncredited part of Generalfeldmarschall Keitel's adjutant. He later expressed his pleasure and satisfaction when the casting crew asked him to try on the uniform, lift his right arm and shout "Heil Hitler." The filmmakers did not know who he was and that he actually was quite experienced in performing the salute.


Quotes

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...


Goofs

In the film, Hermann Fegelein is shown as being arrested, dragged outside and summarily shot. In fact, Fegelein was arrested and kept in a cell for at least three days in the Führerbunker before Hitler ordered him stripped of rank and to be subjected to court martial, during which he was so drunk he vomited and urinated on the floor. It was only after the court martial that he was shot.


Crazy Credits

After the final credits there is a statement by the real Traudl Jung about her feelings of guilt and responsibility. In the British Cinema release, this is moved to before the credits.


Alternate Versions

German TV version features ca. 22 minutes of additional footage.


Soundtracks

When I Am Laid In Earth
from "Dido and Aeneas"
Composed by
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Arranged by Horst Liebenau and Stephan Zacharias

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Biography | Drama | History | War

Details

Release Date:

8 April 2005

Language

German, Russian, Hungarian


Country of Origin

Germany, Austria, Italy

Filming Locations

Russia

Box Office

Budget:

€13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$210,232 (Austria) (17 September 2004)

Gross:

$5,509,040 (USA) (2 November 2013)

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