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Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 31,194 users  
Reviews: 158 user | 60 critic

In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazi judges for war crimes.

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Title: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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Col. Tad Lawson
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Mrs. Bertholt
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Irene Hoffman
...
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Capt. Harrison Byers
...
Kenneth MacKenna ...
Judge Kenneth Norris
Torben Meyer ...
Joseph Bernard ...
Maj. Abe Radnitz
Alan Baxter ...
Brig. Gen. Matt Merrin
...
Sen. Burkette
Virginia Christine ...
Mrs. Halbestadt
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Storyline

It has been three years since the most important Nazi leaders had already been tried. This trial is about 4 judges who used their offices to conduct Nazi sterilization and cleansing policies. Retired American judge, Dan Haywood has a daunting task ahead of him. The Cold War is heating up and no one wants any more trials as Germany, and Allied governments, want to forget the past. But is that the right thing to do is the question that the tribunal must decide. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

trial | judge | nazi | war crime | law | See more »

Taglines:

More than a motion picture...It is an overwhelming experience in human emotion you will never forget! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 December 1961 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Das Urteil von Nürnberg  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in December 2013. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie a graphic states that 99 people were tried and sentenced at Nuremberg and that by the date of the movie (1961) none remained in prison. Some critics have pointed out that Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf Hess was tried at Nuremberg, found guilty on two of four counts charged (crimes against peace and conspiracy) and sentenced to life in 1946. He died in 1987 still imprisoned in Spandau Prison. Yet the caption in the film states that the statistic refers only to the Nuremberg trials "held in the American sector." Hess and the other major defendants were tried by the International Military Tribunal (with judges and prosecutors from each of the four victorious Allied powers). After this major trial, other trials were held in each of the four occupation sectors. By 1961, all of the defendants sentenced in the American trials were indeed free; the graphic is therefore correct. See more »

Quotes

Hans Rolfe: I'll make you a wager...
Judge Dan Haywood: I don't make wagers.
Hans Rolfe: [chuckles] A gentleman's wager... in five years, the men you sentenced to life imprisonment will be free.
Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Rolfe, I have admired your work in the court for many months. You are particularly brilliant in your use of logic...
[Rolfe nods with an appreciative smile]
Judge Dan Haywood: -so, what you suggest may very well happpen. It *is* logical, in view of the times in which we live. *But to be logical is not to be right*, and *nothing* on God's earth could ever *make ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in In Conversation: Abby Mann and Maximillian Schell (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Liebeslied
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Alfred Perry
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Revelation of Horror
25 February 2001 | by (Dayton, Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is a fine film by a fine director, but I can only hope that Stanley Kramer, in committing to full length film a television story, knew at heart the message his movie was trying to say. Because this is truly a message movie, for all mankind, but if the reviews I've read on this site are any indication, the message has been lost to some degree.

I've entitled my review "Revelation of Horror", but the horror revealed was not the Holocaust. That had already been revealed, although Kramer's film certainly lent its emotional impact. The revelation was a deep, true insight into how it happened, and the horror is that it happened in a civilized country. Few on this earth can imagine the true horror of Nazi Germany--I've read criticism of Widmark's Colonel Lawson as too preachy, but the character and the acting conveyed the mission of one who actually saw the horrors, beyond any scope we can identify with.

Kramer's achievement is that everything in this movie reminds us that the Nazi's used every facet of civilization, no matter how minute, to foster their extermination of their enemies, to inculcate it as an ordinary part of life. That was why judges were chosen to portray the issue of "obeying orders" versus "human decency." Herr Rolf is "forced" to defend the worst criminals imaginable, and yet his very defense and the principles behind it are abused in the process, used as a weapon against the very law they represent. Thus did the Nazis prevail with the willing acquiescence of the German people, and the abominable disregard of the rest of the world.

The other horror revealed in this film is the incessant excusing of it. Beyond the obvious pleas of the guilty ("We didn't know", or as one judge says to another, "Was it possible to kill like that?") are the multiplicity of subtle excuses: the reminder of centuries' old German culture, Rolf's plaintive cry of "unfairness" at the showing of the death camp films because of their inflammatory nature, the invocation of "Lili Marlene" throughout the film, to name just a few. While the song evokes sadness, a guilty German society meant for it to invoke sadness. Long before Germany had its country destroyed by bombs, it had its soul destroyed by Hitler.

Because this is a courtroom drama, respecting the sacred role of the Rule of Law in safeguarding humanity, almost every scene, every line is a statement that Nazi Germany perverted the Rule of Law, as did the very defense of the war criminals. But what is principle on a small scale of a single man being judged by society becomes outrage when used to defend the indefensible on an impossibly massive scale. Tracy's character at the film's end has a realization that this is so, as well as an awareness that what happened in Germany during the Third Reich was an Aristotelian tragedy for anyone touched by it, even remotely, so that any personal considerations (such as Mrs. Berthold) are made utterly impossible.

Rolf's speech about the guilty responsibility of the rest of the world was valid--but he was indicting the world to save one man. Where have we heard that in our own time? This quality about "Judgment at Nuremburg" makes its message forever fresh--and its warnings.


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