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The Restless Conscience: Resistance to Hitler Within Germany 1933-1945 (1992)

In 1944, at least 170 German citizens were brought to trial and convicted as participants in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This was not an isolated act, but rather the last of more ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


Credited cast:
John Dildine ...
Narrator (voice)
Roland Freisler ...
Himself (archive footage)
Carl Friedrich Goerdeler ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Axel von dem Bussche ...
Ewald von Kleist ...
Himself (as Ewald Heinrich von Kleist)
Adam von Trott zu Solz ...
Himself (archive footage)


In 1944, at least 170 German citizens were brought to trial and convicted as participants in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This was not an isolated act, but rather the last of more than 20 attempts to overthrow the Nazi Regime. Powerful and provocative, Academy Award nominee THE RESTLESS CONSCIENCE explores the motivating principles and activities of the anti-Nazi resistance inside Germany from 1933 to 1945. The film is a deeply moving portrayal of individual destinies, focusing on the moral and political evolution of individuals whose conscience was at odds with an overpowering national consensus. Hava Kohav Beller's THE RESTLESS CONSCIENCE highlights the tension between individual responsibility to a personal ethical code, and to a tyrannical political system. In telling their story, the film recognizes those who, despite mortal danger to themselves and their families, had the courage to uphold essential human values. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

7 February 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Restless Conscience  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Everyone Should See This
4 June 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is one of the most fascinating documentaries I have ever seen, because it reveals so much that we did not know about one of the most traumatic episodes in the history of our civilisation. It is remarkable how many resisters to Hitler there really were within Germany itself. The fantastic, mind-boggling stupidity of Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, and Anthony Eden are portrayed very vividly here, all of whom actually considered these resisters to be 'traitors' to their country refused to deal with them, and thus prolonged the War for another two years! Hava Beller managed to get extended and moving interviews with just about everybody who was left alive in 1991 who could talk about this subject. The most moving of all the interviews is with former Lieutenant Bossche, who failed to kill Hitler in one of the aborted bomb plots and was never discovered, hence never tried and executed. He says that his great guilt is that he is still alive. His description of being an eye-witness to the brutal murders of 1800 naked Jews and being prohibited by his Colonel from stopping the SS from carrying out this atrocity is mind-numbing in its horror. The most impressive interviewee in the film is probably Freya von Moltke, the widow of Helmuth James von Moltke, the leader of the Kreisau Kreis of anti-Hitler conspirators. I am immensely proud of being distantly related to Helmuth James, and how I wish I had met this amazing woman who is every bit as impressive as her husband must have been (he was executed January 23, 1945, and many of the survivors said he was the most outstanding of all of them). The film is nearly two hours long, but one is riveted for all of that time, hardly daring to breathe, at all the revelations and human stories, and the momentousness of the whole thing. What a wonderful documentary record this is, and it ought to be shown in all schools. The film contains a vast amount of archive footage, and it is the most incredible 'inside story' history lesson. Although the film was nominated for an Oscar when it was released, it is surprising to me how little known it seems to be today. The power of the film is increased by its total lack of didactic character, and the director is not trying too hard to make us hold any particular opinions, but wants us just to see, to listen, and above all, to think.

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