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Colonel Redl (1985)

Oberst Redl (original title)
Set during the fading glory of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the film tells of the rise and fall of Alfred Redl (Brandauer), an ambitious young officer who proceeds up the ladder to become ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
von Roden
László Mensáros ...
Oberst Ruzitska
András Bálint ...
Dr. Sonnenschein
László Gálffi ...
Dorottya Udvaros ...
Károly Eperjes ...
Leutnant Schorm
Róbert Rátonyi ...
Baron Ullmann
Gábor Svidrony ...
Éva Szabó ...
Redls Mutter
Tamás Major ...
Baron Kubinyi
Mária Majláth ...
Baronin Kubinyi


Set during the fading glory of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the film tells of the rise and fall of Alfred Redl (Brandauer), an ambitious young officer who proceeds up the ladder to become head of the Secret Police only to become ensnared in political deception. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


R | See all certifications »



Release Date:

4 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colonel Redl  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Burt Lancaster had tried to mount a version in the 50's. See more »


Written by Johann Strauss
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User Reviews

Klaus Maria Brandauer's quiet Masterpiece...,
12 June 2012 | by (Salisbury, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Unlike most people who know both films (there aren't many!), I've always preferred this 1985 film to Klaus Maria Brandauer's - and director István Szabó's Oscar winning 'Mephisto', from 1981.

'Mephisto' won an Oscar, for Foreign language film and as such, István Szabó remains Hungary's only ever Academy Award recipient. The two films have similarities, with Brandauer giving superbly nuanced yet powerful performances and both as high ranking Military Officers, German in Mephisto and Austro-Hungarian in this.

Colonel Redl is a made up character that is drawn from historical records and the story that ensues is based on John Osborne's play 'A Patriot for Me' and we follow Redl as boy, all the way through to his high-ranking officer just before the onset of the Great War. It's a compelling study of the decaying Empire that so dominated turn-of-the- century Europe and the bubbling resentments and labelling of ethnic groups within that start to make us feel us uncomfortable as the recognisable Monster that was to become becomes apparent.

It is Brandauer's calm and chilly persona that is both compelling and slightly disturbing. In Mephisto, in comparison, he is far more dramatic, even over-the-top, though the critics might say otherwise. As Redl coolly bulldozes his way through the ranks, craftily getting on the right side of everyone he needs to, his feelings toward a younger officer let slip and after the affair, his decimation from power is calculatingly abrupt and shocking, revealing a paranoid State.

There is excellent support from Armin Mueller-Stahl, recognisable from many English speaking films, usually as a German SS officer, as the doomed but supremely powerful and influential Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The period detail is perfect as is the cinematography, looking radiantly splendid in the great halls and ballrooms, beautifully evocative in the snowy wastelands and suitably grim in the film's darker moments.

As I said, Colonel Redl certainly deserves to be as known as Mephisto - and of course, both far more than just specialist films for Art House lovers, that they seem to be casually categorised as.

My DVD was a Korean release that, once the subtitles were changed to English (from the default Korean) played like just like a 'normal' one.

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