Mephisto (1981)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  22 March 1982 (USA)
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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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Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Bruckner
Ildikó Bánsági ...
Nicoletta von Niebuhr
Rolf Hoppe ...
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 ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

22 March 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mefisto  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 1,925,462 (Sweden)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


Hendrik Hoefgen: Am I not the most dreadful villain you have seen?
See more »


Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #5.1 (1992) See more »


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

Interesting film with fine ensemble playing
7 November 1999 | by (Glasgow, Scotland) – See all my reviews

This was a superbly acted and visually stimulating film.

The most interesting element for me was Hendrik's refusal to allow his conscience to interfere with his life's work as an actor. Being an actor, and more importantly an actor able to act in his mothertongue in his own land, is all to this man. Initially indifferent to the rise of the Nazis, unable to accept that their government will change his life, he follows them and befriends a high-ranked Nazi so that his "art" might continue. But it can never be as it was before. Yet he continues to do as he is told, to use the theatre as a propaganda medium, without questioning the consequences.

He cannot admit to himself that he has made the wrong decision and even when he is in Paris and is presented with another opportunity to escape the Nazi regime, he returns to Germany to the pursuit of his theatrical life, no matter how restricted it is.

Excellent film with a very good lead performance.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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