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Triumph of the Spirit (1989)

Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he ... See full summary »

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(story), (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Gypsy
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Father Arouch
Wendy Gazelle ...
Allegra
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Elena
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Avram Arouch
Kario Salem ...
Jacko
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Janush
...
Maj. Rauscher
Burkhard Heyl ...
Aide to Rauscher
Zofia Saretok ...
Momma
Grazyna Krukówna ...
Sister Julie
Karolina Twardowska ...
Bemmi
Juranda Krol ...
Sarah
Wiktor Mlynarczyk ...
Beppo
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Storyline

Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he fought for the amusement of his captors. His father and brother were also held as insurance that he would continue to fight. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Plot Keywords:

prisoner | fight | prison | boxer | greek | See All (138) »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

23 December 1989 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

A pokol bajnoka  »

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Box Office

Gross:

$408,839 (USA)
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| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot on location at the actual Auschwitz death camp. This was first film production that was permitted to shoot at the actual camp. Some of the existing structures were utilized in the production, however, the crematorium had to be recreated since the actual crematoria in Auschwitz were destroyed by the Nazis. The ruins still exist today. See more »

Goofs

The movie shows the end phase of life in Auschwitz and the forced death march as the camp is evacuated. Salamo Arouch is sent to work in the Sonderkomando in the crematorium where suddenly he witnesses the uprising and destruction of what is clearly crematorium II or III. In reality, the uprising occurred in October 1944, months before the evacuation. The SS dismantled the crematoriums over the preceding months and the forced death march evacuations occurred in late January. (In addition, the evacuation occurred in the middle of winter, the movie shows a nice sunny day, where in reality there would have been snow on the ground.) See more »

Quotes

Gypsy: Listen, I'm only going to say this once. For those who can hear me tell the rest. First come the SS, our lord and masters. Then comes our block health manager, Kyr. Then come the assistants, Otto and me. Then come the rats. Then come the lice... and then come you.
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Connections

Featured in The Making of 'Triumph of the Spirit' (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Confronting the hard choices
21 February 2002 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Triumph of the Spirit is a film about people who have made choices in one of the most horrific situations--the Auschwitz death camp. Think of all the choices made by Salamo Arousch and those nearest to him. His sister Julie chooses to stay with her little girl rather than give the child over to her mother and thus get picked for the labour camp (somewhat curious that the SS officer doing the selection gave Julie the option of living). Avram refuses to join the Sonderkommando and is killed by the Nazis. Salamo chooses to box to keep his father alive a little while longer. Allegra chooses to believe her sister Helena who has chosen to make up a story about pregnancy. Jocko Levy has chosen to become a Kapo only to be tossed out by the Nazis when he is no longer healthy.

It was the magnitude of the choices that stunned me when I saw the film when it came out. The film presents us with an unrelenting series of situations and choices to be made. How would any of us have behaved if we had been in the same situation?

Triumph of the Spirit made me squirm because it showed me just how complex the Holocaust experience was for individuals who had to make life and death decisions. This is what lifts Triumph of the Spirit way above most other Holocaust films.


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