The Damned (1969)
"La caduta degli dei (Götterdämmerung)" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 December 1969 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,153 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 42 critic

The dramatic collapse of a wealthy, industrialist/Junker family during the reign of the Third Reich.



(story), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ludwig (1972)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin ... See full summary »

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Helmut Berger, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A reclusive, retired professor is faced with confronting modernity when a group of vulgar youths, led by an obnoxious marchesa, take up residence in his unused upper residence.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Helmut Berger, Silvana Mangano
Certificate: GP Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period... See full summary »

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Romolo Valli, Mark Burns
Senso (1954)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A troubled and neurotic Italian Countess betrays her entire country for a self-destructive love affair with an Austrian Lieutenant.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Farley Granger, Alida Valli, Heinz Moog
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A humble clerk courts a woman who night after night awaits for the return of her lover.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Maria Schell, Marcello Mastroianni, Jean Marais
Ossessione (1943)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Gino, a drifter, begins an affair with inn-owner Giovanna as they plan to get rid of her older husband.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Clara Calamai, Massimo Girotti, Dhia Cristiani
The Leopard (1963)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The Prince of Salina, a noble aristocrat of impeccable integrity, tries to preserve his family and class amid the tumultuous social upheavals of 1860's Sicily.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
Stars: Marthe Nadeau, J. Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
Mon amie Max (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Catherine, a concert pianist, is surprised one night by the arrival of her best friend from childhood, Marie-Alexandrine (Max), whom she hasn't seen for 25 years. Catherine and Max were ... See full summary »

Director: Michel Brault
Stars: Geneviève Bujold, Marthe Keller, Johanne McKay
The Novena (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Bernard Émond
Stars: Elise Guilbault, Patrick Drolet, Marie-Josée Bastien
Trotta (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Director: Johannes Schaaf
Stars: András Bálint, Rosemarie Fendel, Doris Kunstmann
Codine (1963)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An ex-convict struggles to survive by brute force alone in a turn-of-the-century slum in Braila. Codine (Alexandre Virgil Platon) is the thug who served 10 years for murdering a friend. He ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Colpi
Stars: Alexandru Virgil Platon, Razvan Petrescu, Françoise Brion


Cast overview, first billed only:
Helmut Griem ...
Renaud Verley ...
Günther Von Essenbeck
Umberto Orsini ...
Reinhard Kolldehoff ...
Baron Konstantin Von Essenbeck (as René Koldehoff)
Albrecht Schoenhals ...
Baron Joachim Von Essenbeck (as Albrecht Schönhals)
Nora Ricci ...
Elisabeth Thallman
Irina Wanka ...
Karin Mittendorf ...
Thilde Thallman
Valentina Ricci ...
Erika Thalman
Wolfgang Hillinger ...


The power and fortune of the Von Essenbeck family remained intact even when Germany lost the great war and during the depression that followed. Now it's 1934 and the baron has summoned his family to a dinner that also brings a cousin rising in the Nazi party to the great house accompanied by a rising manager at the baron's company. Two little girls recite poetry in the parlor and then play hide-and-seek with their cousin Martin. Suddenly there is a scream. The baron has been shot with their father's gun and the father flees the country. Written by Dale O'Connor <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was to become the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, nudity and aberrant sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

18 December 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Luchino Visconti's The Damned  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Footage shot during the "Night of the Long Knives" sequence but never shown previously in the United States is restored in the 2004 DVD release. It is in subtitled German and expands the running time to 156 minutes. See more »


Throughout the film, SS-Captain Aschenbach is referred to as a "Hauptsturmfuhrer". However, prior to 1934 (when the film is set) the SS referred to the rank of Captain as "Sturmhauptfuhrer". See more »


Frederick Bruckmann: [to Martin] I'll make you pay for that, you little swine!
See more »


Followed by Ludwig (1972) See more »


Kinder, heut' abend, da such ich mir was aus
Performed by Helmut Berger
Music by Friedrich Hollaender
Lyrics by Robert Liebmann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Rigorous classicism.
1 April 2004 | by (San Diego) – See all my reviews

Pauline Kael famously called this movie "hysterical" (she was contrasting it to Bertolucci's *The Conformist*, which was supposed to be more "lyrical".) Well, a movie about decadent Nazis is bound to be a little hysterical -- what, were you expecting something tasteful? Hysteria is probably the best mode with which to treat the Third Reich. What's astounding is that director Luchino Visconti forced his sweaty, hysterical visuals into a rigid classical structure. The set-up is pure clockwork: one betrayal leading to another; one devastation opening up an even deeper abyss for another perpetrator.

Basically, Visconti is taking on *Macbeth*, here. Dirk Bogarde plays the Macbeth figure, an up-and-coming industrialist who's sleeping with an evil Grande Dame of Nazi finance, Sophie von Essenbeck (Ingrid Thulin, having an absolute ball), heiress to a munitions conglomerate. (The von Essenbecks are loosely based on the Krupps, but don't take this as any sort of literal historiography.) Thulin eggs on her lover Bogarde to commit a few politic murders and a frame-up or two so that he can take over the family business, with herself as the power behind the throne. But she doesn't count on the pathology of her grown son from a previous marriage, the hideous little monster Martin (Helmut Berger, acting terribly but it sort of fits in an Udo Kier-sort of way). Martin is your typical Nazi: a closet pedophile, a drug addict, a transvestite, a momma's-boy, a you-name-it. The scenes involving his seduction of a 9- or 10-year-old girl who lives in a shabby apartment complex are some of the most disturbing that you'll ever see in cinema . . . and along those lines, I seriously wonder about the state of mind of some of the commentators here who find this movie to be high camp, to be watched with drinking buddies. If you think molestation is funny, you'd better see a shrink, pal.

Anyway. The plot is so Byzantine that it finally defeats a brief summary. Let it suffice to say that Visconti manages to cram his complicated story neatly within the historical context of the period between the Reichstag Fire and the Night of the Long Knives, thereby maintaining a nutty observance of Classical Unities. All the while, he films the thing in Hammer-horror Pop color, with intense contrast between shadow and light. The first scene, by the way, is a shot of the blasting furnaces of the munitions factory -- a fitting intro to the horrendous vision of depravity which soon follows. Everyone's sweating in this movie: drops of perspiration trickle down temples, and beads of sweat glisten on upper lips throughout, as if the flames of Hell are licking up at the soles of their collective feet. *The Damned* is a feverish masterpiece. You'll never forget it. Highest recommendation.

(A tip for viewing of the DVD: I recommend that you watch the movie with the English subtitles ON. While everyone speaks English in the film, only Bogarde is clearly intelligible. Owing to the complicated plot, you'll need to know what's going on in order to fully appreciate Visconti's thematic design.)

65 of 80 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did the massacre at Bad Wiese actually happen? hootson21
What scenes were cut from original? Krystine-3
Did Visconti want Klaus Kinski for this one? javier-rodriguez-c
Language-subtitles? johnnewyork
Question on the End (sp.) dukeofauge
Deleted scenes with Dirk Bogarde mark-jan
Discuss The Damned (1969) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: