Watch on the Rhine (1943)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  27 August 1943 (USA)
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Sara and Kurt Muller and their three children are returning to her mother's home in Washington DC after 18 years in Europe. A Romanian Count living there discovers Kurt's attache case full ... See full summary »


, (uncredited)


(screen play), (additional scenes and dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lucile Watson ...
George Coulouris ...
Phili Von Ramme
Donald Buka ...
Italian Man
Helmut Dantine ...
Young Man
Clyde Fillmore ...
Sam Chandler
Erwin Kalser ...
Dr. Klauber
Kurt Katch ...
Herr Blecher


Sara and Kurt Muller and their three children are returning to her mother's home in Washington DC after 18 years in Europe. A Romanian Count living there discovers Kurt's attache case full of money. He also finds out from friends at the German Embassy that Kurt is working with an anti-Nazi underground group in Germany. He tries to blackmail Kurt. Kurt shoots him and must flee. When Sara hears no more of Kurt, she knows that her oldest son Joshua will soon leave to work in the underground. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


On her lonesome lips a smile.




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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 August 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Wacht am Rhein  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The play, "Watch on the Rhine" by Lillian Hellman premiered at the Martin Beck Theater in New York City on 1 April 1941 and closed on 21 February 1942 after 378 performances. Paul Lukas as Kurt Muller, Lucile Watson as Fanny Farrelly, George Coulouris as Teck de Brancovis, Eric Roberts as Bodo Muller and Frank L. Wilson as Joseph all originated their movie roles in the play. Also in the cast were Mady Christians as Sara Muller and Helen Trenholme as Marthe de Brancovis. See more »


At 58:53, camera and crew are reflected on the car. See more »


Sara Muller: [Last Lines] When the time comes. When it comes, I will do my best.
See more »


Referenced in Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed (2012) See more »


Akademische Festouvertüre (Academic Festival Overture) Op. 80
(1880) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Excerpt played in the score
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User Reviews

9 December 2000 | by (Pittsburgh, PA) – See all my reviews

It as absolutely incredible to me that anyone could make the comment that this film is not preachy. It is not only oppressively preachy, but absurd, stagebound, dramatically straight-jacketed, and painfully overwrought. Watching it, one feels like an 8 year old child being punished by having to write "I will not become a fascist" on the blackboard 100 times.

Now I understand that it was made during the height of WW2, and was intended to be a brave condemnation of Hitler and the terrible suffering he brought about, (which anyone would whole-heartedly applaud) and I'm sure it accurately captured the mood of the day. But it is presented in such an immature, over-obvious, sledgehammer way, it fails abysmally as a work of art.

The only good performances here are from Paul Lukas, who brings sincerity and intensity to his role as a quietly heroic anti-fascist; and Lucile Watson as the amusingly ill-mannered rich grandmother who slowly comes to realize how dangerous the world has become. Though their rootless upbringing has subjected them to all kinds of hardships, the children are ridiculously shown as robotically well-behaved little snips. They do not even remotely resemble real human beings. And Bette Davis, a great actress, here is so one dimensionally noble I cringed every time she was on screen. Her every word, her every gesture is meant to convey how SUPPORTIVE and UNDERSTANDING she is of the SACRIFICES her husband has to make and the great CAUSE he is fighting for, that she must've been wired to receive a painful electric shock if she dared allowed any hint of doubt or shading to surface in her portrayal.

So yes, this is a very IMPORTANT film, just not a very good one.

26 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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