The Nasty Girl (1990)
"Das schreckliche Mädchen" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, History  |  March 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,947 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 15 critic

When a young woman investigates her town's Nazi past, the community turns against her.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lena Stolze ...
Hans-Reinhard Müller ...
Monika Baumgartner ...
Sonja's mother
Elisabeth Bertram ...
Sonja's grandma
Michael Gahr ...
Paul Rosenberger
Robert Giggenbach ...
Fred Stillkrauth ...
Sonja's uncle
Barbara Gallauner ...
Miss Juckenack
Udo Thomer ...
Archivist Schulz
Ludwig Wühr ...
Owner of the Swingboat
Christof Wackernagel ...
Richard Süßmeier ...
The Mayor
Sandra White ...
Rudolf Klaffenböck ...
The judge
Karin Thaler ...


Sonya is a German high school student who decides to write an essay about her town's history during the Third Reich and its resistance to it. To her dismay, and more so the town's, she uncovers instead definite collaboration during the period. As she digs deeper, she must struggle against the town's vocal and violent opposition to her search for the truth. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | History | War


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Nasty Girl  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,281,569 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Germany's official submission to the 1991's Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. See more »


Sonja: You have to know where things come from to know where they're going.
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User Reviews

Consensus Blindness Brilliantly and Vividly Portrayed
24 August 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a magnificent film by Michael Verhoeven. I saw it when it came out years ago, and have just seen it again. It certainly holds up and if anything is more powerful now. The film contains one of the most astonishing performances by an actress I have ever seen. Lena Stolze plays the character Sonja from the age of 16 through to adulthood. How did she do it? She was already far from her teens when she played the cutest 16 year-old with pigtails and the innocent eyes of a child. Her whimsy and her manner made her perfect for this difficult part, and her success made the film work. The film itself was done in an equally whimsical manner, not troubling in many cases to use real sets or locations, but with a remarkable lightness of touch and confidence of technique, in many cases settling for set-ups of a theatrical nature, and the film is interspersed with pieces to camera by numerous characters. It sounds a mess, but it isn't, and it all holds together and works perfectly. Apart from the control kept over it by the director, this technique is successful because it accentuates the irony of the subject. And that subject is so troubling to all potential viewers, going as it does far beyond blindness to past Nazi activities, that if it were laid on heavy, it would not be accepted, because it would be perceived as an attack on everybody. But it is actually an attack on everybody, because the film seeks to expose a faultline in human nature of our tendency to conspire to forget, conspire not to see, and conspire to falsify reality. This hairline crack in human nature is a tendency to form what I call 'consensus reality', which is generally a shared fantasy in which we all agree to believe because it makes us feel better. The character Sonja in this film (based upon a real girl named Anja who actually had similar experiences) challenges consensus reality. And of course, she was attacked by absolutely everyone, her husband abandoned her, she was beaten, bombed, ostracised, and persecuted mercilessly for years. Her only 'crime' was to try to discover the story of her home town in Bavaria during the Nazi period. The fact is that just about everybody living in Germany during that period was seriously compromised, there were few heroes (despite the many claims of heroism which came after the War), and the majority of Germans actually approved of and supported the Nazis. One should never forget that Hitler was ELECTED. One can perhaps explain phenomena like the rise of Nazism by temporary insanity of a nation, but the nasty and despicable aftermath cannot be so explained. It is pure animal behaviour of the most revolting kind. The post-War behaviour of the Germans was in this sense even more offensive than their wartime behaviour. But they are not alone, nor are they worst in this tendency. After all, the Japanese still refuse to apologise for the War, and make offerings at shrines to 'war heroes' who were guilty of war crimes. Compared to that, the Germans are pussycats, they apologised long ago, and the younger generations have long since atoned and 'reformed'. If anyone tried even now to make a film like this about Japan, they would probably be killed by a raging mob. So put that in your meerschaum pipe and smoke it.

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