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Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 31,628 users  
Reviews: 160 user | 61 critic

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

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, (based on his original story by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

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Top 250 #158 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

Once in a generation...a motion picture explodes into greatness! 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

By the time this film was finished, all of the men who had been convicted and imprisoned in the real Nuremberg trials had been released. See more »

Goofs

When showing the concentration camp films, Colonel Lawson is standing in front of the screen. His shadow should be cast on the screen due to the projector's light, yet it's not visible. This suggests that the films were actually a rear projection. See more »

Quotes

Judge Dan Haywood: Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he *loathed* the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and death of millions by the government of which he was a part. Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial. If he and the other defendants were all depraved perverts - if the leaders of the Third Reich were sadistic monsters and maniacs - these events would have no...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Notre amour ne peur
(uncredited)
By Ernest Gold
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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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