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Just after W.W.II, an American takes a railway job in Germany, but finds his position politically sensitive with various people trying to use him.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leopold Kessler
Katharina Hartmann
Lawrence Hartmann
Ernst-Hugo Järegård ...
Uncle Kessler
Erik Mørk ...
Jørgen Reenberg ...
Max Hartmann
Colonel Harris
Narrator (voice)
Benny Poulsen ...
Erno Müller ...
Dietrich Kuhlbrodt ...
Michael Phillip Simpson ...
Holger Perfort ...
Mr. Ravenstein
Anne Werner Thomsen ...
Mrs. Ravenstein


An American of German descent arrives in post-war Germany 1945. His uncle gets him a job on the Zentropa train line as a sleeping car conductor. The American's wish is to be neutral to the ongoing purges of loyalists by the Allied forces and do what he can to help a hurting country, but he finds himself being used by both the Americans and the influential family that owns the railroad. After falling in love with the railroad magnate's daughter, he finds that he can't remain neutral and must make some difficult choices. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

27 June 1991 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Europa  »

Box Office


DKK 28,000,000 (estimated)


$1,007,001 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lars von Trier: the Jew who signs the affidavit clearing the name of the Zentropa owner. See more »


[opening lines]
Narrator: You will now listen to my voice. My voice will help you and guide you still deeper into Europa. Every time you hear my voice, with every word and every number, you will enter into a still deeper layer, open, relaxed and receptive. I shall now count from one to ten. On the count of ten, you will be in Europa. I say: one. And as your focus and attention are entirely on my voice, you will slowly begin to relax. Two, your hands and your fingers are getting warmer and heavier. Three, ...
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Featured in Lars von Trier Anecdotes (2005) See more »


Variation on a theme by Bernard Herrmann's score for the film Vertigo (1958)
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User Reviews

utterly fascinating and unique
9 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

With stunning cinematography and a thread of Kafkaesque absurdity, this movie had me from the simple yet fascinating opening scene. The movie plays much like a dream, and I think that may be why people either hate it or love it. Characters are drawn superficially and the story itself is slight and perhaps a little pointless. But these are failings of the movie but conscious choices. The film works isn't trying to work as history, but rather is a deconstruction of 1940s war movies.

I would have trouble arguing that there was much real substance to the movie, but the movie is such a cinematic wonder that I was completely swept away. This is one of the most beautifully filmed movies ever, and there is a wild imagination in its style. I can completely understand why people would hate it, but I give it 9/10.

15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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