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Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl
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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) More at IMDbPro »Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl (original title)

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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl -- A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis.


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Release Date:
June 1994 (USA) See more »
A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
3 wins See more »
Leni Riefenstahl: 1902-2003
 (From WENN. 9 September 2003)

User Reviews:
A good but not candid biography See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order)

Leni Riefenstahl ... Herself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Marlene Dietrich ... Herself (archive footage)
Walter Frentz ... Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
Joseph Goebbels ... Himself (archive footage) (as Josef Goebbels)
Rudolf Hess ... Himself (archive footage)
John Herbert Higgins ... Himself - U.S. Swimmer (archive footage)

Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage)
Saburo Ito ... Himself - Japanese Swimmer (archive footage)
Horst Kettner ... Himself - Leni's Companion
Reizô Koike ... Himself - Japanese Swimmer (archive footage)
Guzzi Lantschner ... Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
Ralph Metcalfe ... Himself - U.S. Sprinter (archive footage)
Ray Müller ... Himself
Jesse Owens ... Himself (archive footage)
Ernst Röhm ... Himself (archive footage)
Fritz Schilgen ... Himself - Lighting Olympic Cauldron (archive footage)

Luis Trenker ... Himself

Directed by
Ray Müller 
Writing credits
Ray Müller 

Produced by
Jacques de Clercq .... producer: Nomad Films
Dimitri de Clercq .... producer: Nomad Films
Waldemar Januzczak .... producer: Channel 4, London (as Waldemar Januszczak)
Hans Peter Kochenrath .... producer: ZDF (as Hans-Peter Kochenrath)
Hans-Jürgen Panitz .... producer: Omega Films
Original Music by
Ulrich Bassenge 
Wolfgang Neumann 
Cinematography by
Michel Baudour 
Walter A. Franke 
Ulrich Jänchen  (as Ulrich Jaenchen)
Jürgen Martin 
Film Editing by
Vera Dubsikova 
Beate Köster 
Set Decoration by
Michael Graser 
Production Management
Werner Bertolan .... production manager
Stefan Koenig .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nicole Front .... assistant director
Sound Department
Tomas Bastian .... sound
Heimo Sahliger .... sound
Alfred Schuhmann .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Barbara Dolainsky .... assistant camera
Horst Kettner .... underwater cinematographer
Norbert Platzer .... assistant camera
Hermann Sowieja .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Stefan Mothes .... editor: video
Moritz Peters .... assistant editor
Other crew
Martin Angres .... video team
Kevin Brownlow .... film-historical advisor
David Culbert .... film-historical advisor
Brend Fischer .... video team
Martin Loiperdinger .... film-historical advisor
Felix Moeller .... archive researcher (as Felix Mueller)
Knut Muhsik .... video team

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl" - France (original title)
"The Power of the Image: Leni Riefenstahl" - USA (TV title)
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180 min
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

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Is it true that Riefenstahl was a skilled mountaineer?
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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
A good but not candid biography, 26 December 2008
Author: artisticengineer from United States

This is a a pretty good biography of Leni Riefenstahl; done in her dotage- about ten years before she died when she was relatively still quite active. Though the film does not really emphasize this, Leni was VERY active for a 90 year old woman and ultimately lived to be 101! Now, having mentioned that it should also be noted that about 80% of this movie covers the work she did before she reached the age of 43. Imagine a biographical movie of Bob Hope (her closest contemporary) that profiles his work from age 24 to 42 (end of WWII) and then passes over most of what he did afterwords until he was 90! One would certainly miss a lot of good biography! In the case of Riefenstahl the years from her early 40s to her early 60s are not of much interest, biography wise, as she was inactive due to one fact: Her side had lost the war. If the Allied side had lost the war then I think Leni Riefenstahl would have been quite active and well known throughout most of the world during that time.

Since the side she was on did lose the war Leni was very hesitant to say that she really supported the National Socialist movement in Germany. When confronted with some written facts concerning her involvement (such as entries in Goebbels diary) she either denies it, or when she cannot deny something (such as her congratulatory telegraph to Hitler when German forces marched into Paris in 1940) she offers a different "interpretation" of why she sent the telegram. Obviously she was lying then, but I do believe she was truthful to some degree about her ambivalence towards the National Socialist movement. Suffice to say that there are some pointed questions directed at her (in her dotage) during this documentary, and she does try to answer most of them.

For the movie maker enthusiast there are some real good segments on how she (and her workers) did the filming of Nazi marches and Olympic sporting events as well as in some of her theatrical released films. The biography makers seem to give her at least grudging admiration for her work and accomplishments. I am of the same opinion myself.

Perhaps the final judgment of her (if not of her work) lies with the "De Nazification" Panel that reviewed her during the post war era. They came to the conclusion (which I, for one, support) that though she was not a Nazi; she was definitely a Nazi sympathizer. And, it would be hard to refute that finding. All things considered that was not necessarily that terrible of a finding (at least for most people living in Germany then), but the horrified look on her face (in a photograph taken when the finding was announced) showed that she realized, at that very moment, that her career as a movie maker was finished. Had she been working for the equally repulsive dictator Joseph Stalin a finding that she was a Communist sympathizer would not have hurt her as much as the Russians were on the winning side. But, the side she did work for lost the war, and she lost her career as a result of that.

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