7.9/10
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Mephisto (1981)

Unrated | | Drama | 22 March 1982 (USA)
A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Barbara Bruckner
Ildikó Bánsági ...
Nicoletta von Niebuhr
Rolf Hoppe ...
Tábornagy
...
Hans Miklas
Péter Andorai ...
Otto Ulrichs
Karin Boyd ...
Juliette Martens
Christine Harbort ...
Lotte Lindenthal
Tamás Major ...
Oskar Kroge, színigazgató
Ildikó Kishonti ...
Dora Martin, primadonna
Mária Bisztrai ...
Motzné, tragika
Sándor Lukács ...
Rolf Bonetti, bonviván
Ágnes Bánfalvy ...
Angelika Siebert, naiva (as Bánfalvi Ágnes)
Judit Hernádi ...
Rachel Mohrenwitz, drámai szende
Vilmos Kun ...
Ügyelõ
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Storyline

A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and friends flee or are ground under by the Nazi terror, the popularity of his character supercedes his own existence until he finds that his best performance is keeping up appearances for his Nazi patrons. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

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Release Date:

22 March 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mefisto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

As Hoefgen leaves the Deux Magots café in Paris after meeting with his first wife, decals for contemporary credit cards - Visa, among them - can be seen on the window of the door. See more »

Quotes

[Hendrik stumbles upon some soldiers beating up a Jew]
Hendrik Hoefgen: They must be drunk.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.53 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Mephisto-Walzer
Written by Franz Liszt (as Liszt)
See more »

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User Reviews

Inner Darkness and Outer Exposure
7 March 2003 | by (Flagstaff, AZ) – See all my reviews

We're all familiar with the archetypal Faustian Bargain, where, in exchange for your soul, the devil grants your wishes. But Why might someone might want to make such a bargain? I mean, there are the common lusts and desires; but, the question still remains: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Mephisto suggests an answer. And it's not to be found in evil machinations of the Prince of Darkness and his minions, or any such nonsense. It's found in the human psyche.

Brilliantly played by Klaus Brandauer (Out of Africa, White Fang), Hendrik Hoefgen is a man haunted by insecurity. At the core of his being is shame. From the age of twelve, he tells his wife, he's always felt ashamed. So he always wears a mask, because he dare not expose his true identity to anyone, for fear of rejection. To hide himself and to medicate his feelings, he adopts a strategy that is all too common: he overcompensates. He buries himself in his work, identifies himself with his work, and becomes an empty creature playing to the crowds, a social chameleon who's a nobody adroitly playing a role. He constantly works on and perfects his social image, alert to the smallest hint of disapprobation in anyone. In this endeavor, his practiced talent of self deception aids him: He says to himself, after he's sold out to the Nazis, that he's satisfied with his success, because it means that many people love him. He's the perfect actor, even for himself. He's a public persona, nothing more. In the flower of his fame, he's a hollow shell. Mephisto is the most brilliantly produced drama on this subject I've ever seen. It's absolutely enthralling. I highly recommend it as one of the best films ever made, by anyone.


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