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Hitler's S.S.: Portrait in Evil (1985)

The story of Helmut and Karl Hoffmann. Both come of age at the start of Hitler's power in Germany. Helmut joins the SS and eventually becomes a successful flag rank officer. Karl joins the ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mitzi Templer (nightclub singer)
Becker (SS assistant to Dietrich)
Ernst Röhm (SA Chief)
Albrecht Hoffman
Prof. Ludwig Rosenberg
Gerda Hoffman
Heinrich Himmler
Derek Newark ...
Theodor Eicke
Gen. Josef Biegler, SA
Adolf Hitler


The story of Helmut and Karl Hoffmann. Both come of age at the start of Hitler's power in Germany. Helmut joins the SS and eventually becomes a successful flag rank officer. Karl joins the SA and experiences the darker side of Nazism after the SA is disbanded and Karl is thrown into prison and later conscripted into the German army. Brother is pitted against brother until their relationship, and the Third Reich, stands in ruins Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

brother | third reich | hitler | ss | nazis | See All (38) »


Brother is pitted against brother under the shadow of the Third Reich.


Drama | War


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Release Date:

17 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hitler SS: El retrato del mal  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Commentators and critics of the film have often remarked that it is unclear exactly what Helmutt Hoffman's job is in the SS, apart from delivering things to his superiors for signature, and in only one instance is anyone actually seen working for him. Based on the dialogue, however, Hoffmann appears to be part of the SD Special Purpose Staff which was known as "Amt z.b.V. Besonderen Verwendung" See more »


In early 1933, Helmut Hoffman is shown in Munich waiting for a train to Berlin, in order to take up his new job under Reinhard Heydrich and the SS. Heydrich, however, did not have an office in Berlin until April of 1934, after the SS had gained control of the Gestapo, and in 1933 he was still working out of the Nazi Party headquarters in Munich. See more »


Reinhard Heydrich: Tell me, Hoffmann, have you been doing anything reprehensible lately?
Helmutt Hoffmann: Not that I'm aware of.
Reinhard Heydrich: Well, if you had, you certainly would be aware of it, wouldn't you?
See more »


Wenn die Soldaten,
sung on train to the Night of the Long Knives
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Hoffmans And The Nazis
5 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil tells the story of this para-military force. the personal enforcement arm of Adolph Hitler in the Nazi movement and the Hoffman brothers and their connections.

Bill Nighy is the cleverer of the two brothers, recognizing the Nazi Party as the coming force in Germany in 1931 and decides to join this elite group. His brother John Shea likes a good time which includes a brawl every now and then. The SA under Ernest Roehm seems like his place in the Nazi movement.

Well we all know what happened to Roehm as his ambitions began to exceed even Hitler's. Shea gets himself tossed into Dachau for a little Nazi style rehabilitation. During the Thirties before the war, places like Dachau were not yet the systematic slaughter camps they later became. Shea eventually is released and is drafted into the army.

In the meantime Nighy becomes an upwardly mobile guy in the S.S. and a special favorite of Reinhard Heydrich, very chillingly played by David Warner.

Through all this Carroll Baker their mother worries about her boys. She's never been crazy about the Nazi movement, she sees what it's doing to Germany and her family. She's most of all concerned with her youngest son who is played by three different juvenile actors who is an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth.

What becomes of the Hoffman family is a tale tragically told many times over in Germany of that period. In this most British cast film, Tony Randall as a German comedian with trenchant observations of the time and Jose Ferrer as a Jewish professor have two excellent cameo roles.

No new ground is broken here, but this is a story that deserves retelling thousands of times over.

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