Der große König (1942)

 |  Drama, History, War  |  1956 (USA)
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King Frederick II (aka "Frederick the Great") of Prussia is engaged in a major battle against the Austrian army at Kunersdorf, and things aren't going well. The Austrians are inflicting ... See full summary »



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Title: Der große König (1942)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Otto Gebühr ...
Kristina Söderbaum ...
Luise Treskow
Sgt. Treskow
Hans Nielsen ...
Hilde Körber ...
Gen. Czernitscheff
Oberst Rochow
Harry Hardt ...
Adjutant von Dessau
Hans Hermann Schaufuß ...
Gen. Zieten
Claus Clausen ...
Prince Heinrich (older)
Klaus Detlef Sierck ...
Prince Heinrich (younger) (as Claus Detlef Sierck)
Paul Henckels ...
Grenadier Spiller
Elisabeth Flickenschildt ...
Spiller's Wife
Franz Schafheitlin ...
Col. Bernburg
Kurt Meisel ...


King Frederick II (aka "Frederick the Great") of Prussia is engaged in a major battle against the Austrian army at Kunersdorf, and things aren't going well. The Austrians are inflicting major casualties, and his army is beginning to crumble. Defeat seems inevitable when a combination of events gives him hope that he may pull victory from the jaws of defeat after all. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


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Release Date:

1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Great King  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Referenced in Life Goes On (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Jackboots galore
8 March 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'Der Große König' ('The Great King') was a Nazi propaganda film which won the 1942 Coppa Mussolini prize as the best foreign film released in Italy that year. One assumes that Mussolini's film critics were not completely objective. And yet this movie has excellent production values and a gripping story which (despite its too-long running time) still make it an appealing film for those of us who aren't Nazis.

This film recounts the travails of Prussian king Friedrich the Second during the battle of Kunersdorf, when his army were decimated by the Austrian forces. Just when defeat seemed certain, Russia's czar Peter the Great sent reinforcements.

When this movie was made, the early victories of Hitler's army were long past ... and it was now starting to look as if Germany might lose the war after all. 'The Great King' was clearly made to inspire German audiences to continue the struggle against overwhelming odds. Despite its odious Nazi agenda, this film is still eminently watchable. The battle scenes are impressive, and Otto Gebühr gives a fine performance in the lead role as Friedrich. There's also a splendid turn by Paul Wegener as the leader of the Russian forces. Wegener was a stiff and very mannered actor, but he manages to turn those traits to his advantage here.

Gustav Fröhlich, best known for playing the idealistic youth in 'Metropolis', gives a splendidly earnest performance here as Sergeant Treskow, who violates orders to give a crucial command to his men ... with disastrous results. The propaganda message here is that good Germans shouldn't take the initiative and think for themselves: instead, they should follow the orders of their wise leaders who know what's best for them.

Even though this movie is Nazi agitprop, the Third Reich imagery isn't crammed down our throats here the way it is in 'Triumph of the Will'. You can enjoy this movie without feeling any urge to goose-step. But the story could have been told more effectively in a shorter running time. I'll rate 'Der Grosse Konig' 6 points out of 10.

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