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Mephisto (1981)

 -  Drama  -  22 March 1982 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 6,118 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 24 critic

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 »

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Title: Mephisto (1981)

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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
György Cserhalmi ...
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 ...
(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

Plot Keywords:

nazi | success | power | faustian | actor | See All (26) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

| |

Release Date:

22 March 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mefisto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,925,462 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

István Szabó:  A guest wearing a tuxedo on the theater reception party near the end of the film, complaining about the unnecessary expenses of the luxurious party. See more »

Goofs

Contrary to what is depicted in the film, Hitler was not named chancellor of Germany after the Nazis won a majority in the Reichstag. He was appointed chancellor in January 1933 without proper parliamentary confirmation, and the Nazi Party did not win an absolute majority of votes in the next election (March 1933). See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Mistress (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Ich wollte, meine Liebe ergösse sich
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (as Mendelssohn)
Lyrics by Heinrich Heine (as Heine)
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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