Judgment at Nuremberg
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Judgment at Nureumberg can be found here.

In 1948, three years after the end of World War II, American Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy) is called out of retirement to preside at the tribunal of four German judges -- Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster), Emil Hahn (Werner Klemperer), Werner Lampe (Torben Meyer), and Friedrich Hofstetter (Martin Brandt) -- who served during the Nazi regime and who are charged with committing crimes against humanity. Prosecuting attorney Colonel Tad Lawson (Richard Widmark) argues that they are guilty of international crimes while Defense attorney Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) argues that they were just carrying out the laws of their government

Judgment at Nuremberg is based on a screenplay written by American screenwriter Abby Mann [1927-2008]. That screenplay is based on a television play that he also wrote, which was shown on "Playhouse 90" in 1959 and starred Claude Rains in the Spencer Tracy role. It was inspired by the Judges' Trial before the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal in 1947.

Nuremberg (German: Nrnberg) is a city in the southern part of Germany, in the state of Bavaria. The Palace of Justice in Nuremberg was the site of a series of trials, held between 1945 to 1949, notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany.

The defense attorney asks witness Rudoph Petersen (Montgomery Clift), whom he suspects of being 'feeble-minded', to construct a sentence using the words hare, hunter, and field. Some suggestions from IMDb readers (obviously not feeble-minded) include:

The hunter chased the hare through the field.
The hunter shoots the hare in the field.
A hare, chased by a hunter, hides in the field. 
The field hare ate the hunter. 
The hare killed the hunter and smeared his blood across the field.
A hunter with short hair was walking in a field.
Herr Hunterfield is a good friend of mine from Stuttgart.
What field do you work in Herr Hunter?

How does the movie end?

After deliberating with the other two tribunal judges, Judge Haywood is ready to pass judgement on the defendants. Choosing to value justice over patriotism, he finds all four defendents guilty and sentences them to life in prison. Later, as Haywood is packing to return to Maine, he tries to phone Mrs Bertholt (Marlene Dietrich) but she refuses his call. Defense attorney Rolfe informs him that Ernst Janning wishes to speak with him, so Haywood visits Janning in his cell. Janning confirms Haywood's ruling as just, but adds that he never thought his actions would come to the death of six million people. Haywood replies, 'It came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death that you knew to be innocent.' In the final scene, Judge Haywood leaves the prison and a postscript flashes on the screen saying: 'The Nuremberg trials held in the American Zone ended July 14, 1949. There were 99 defendants sentenced to prison terms. Not one is still serving his sentence.'

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 1 month ago
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