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It Happened on July 20th (1955)

Es geschah am 20. Juli (original title)
A dramatic reconstruction of the July 1944 attempt by German Army Officers to assassinate Hitler with a bomb and end the war before Germany was totally destroyed.


(as G.W. Pabst)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Oberst Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg
Generaloberst a.D. Ludwig Beck
Carl Wery ...
Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm
Kurt Meisel ...
Erik Frey ...
General Friedrich Olbricht
Major Otto Ernst Remer
Til Kiwe ...
Oberleutnant Werner von Haeften
Jochen Hauer ...
Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel
Annemarie Sauerwein ...
Frau Olbricht
Jaspar von Oertzen ...
Oberst Kerst von Quirnstein / Oberst Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Dürnstein
Willy Krause ...
Joseph Goebbels
Lina Carstens ...
Frau des Küsters
Gernot Duda ...
Leutnant in der Wolfsschanze
Generalfeldmarschall Erwin von Witzleben
Peter Lühr ...
1. General


A dramatic reconstruction of the July 1944 attempt by German Army Officers to assassinate Hitler with a bomb and end the war before Germany was totally destroyed. Written by Patrick Dominick <p-dominick@adfa.oz.au>

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Drama | History | Thriller | War


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Release Date:

19 June 1955 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

It Happened on July 20th  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Version of The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

The Valkyrie plot against Hitler fails
30 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Es geshah am 20. juli" (1955) tells the story of the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler that failed on July 20, 1944. It's handsomely photographed in high contrast black and white. The accurate account, without fictional dramatic embroidery, has its own kind of suspense as we follow events from planning to execution to aftermath and to failure to launch a coup d'etat. The story introduces the historical players rapidly, leaving us the challenge of sorting out their roles and positions with respect to staying with the Hitler regime or siding with the plotters.

I found a number of things very interesting in this account: the way in which Hitler was surrounded with security measures to prevent his assassination; the importance of timing to the attempt; the failure of the plot because it didn't build in redundant means and/or depended too heavily on one line of communication; the obedience to orders in the military; the fence-sitting of some officials contrasted with the courage of others; the mechanics of the attempted takeover.

Beside depicting the plot, the movie provided the motivations for ending the Hitler regime. It included the difficulty and impact of dealing with the Allied demand for unconditional surrender. The story itself becomes quite complex in the Berlin confusion after the explosion occurred and Hitler's death was a question mark. There is not only a fog of war but a fog of a coup d'etat.

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