Swing Kids (1993)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Music  |  5 March 1993 (USA)
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Reviews: 105 user | 12 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

The story of a close-knit group of young kids in Nazi Germany who listen to banned swing music from the US. Soon dancing and fun leads to more difficult choices as the Nazis begin ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Stemberger ...
Emil Lutz
Herr Schumler
Herr Hinz
Helga (as Jessica Stevenson)
Carl Brincat ...
H.J. Thug
Mary Fogarty ...
Mama Klara Müller (as Mary Fogerty)


The story of a close-knit group of young kids in Nazi Germany who listen to banned swing music from the US. Soon dancing and fun leads to more difficult choices as the Nazis begin tightening the grip on Germany. Each member of the group is forced to face some tough choices about right, wrong, and survival. Written by Susan Southall <stobchatay@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They fought for the freedom that bound them together. See more »


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 March 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Os Últimos Rebeldes  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$5,632,086 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film takes place in 1939. See more »


In an establishing shot just after the Nazis steal the radio, the rear half of a Vauxhall Wyvern can be seen parked on the street; this car was not introduced until 1948. See more »


Peter: If you side with the Nazis, Thomas, then we're at war.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Outlaw (1993) See more »


Written by Eddie Carroll
Performed by Teddy Foster
Courtesy of Interstate Music Ltd.
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User Reviews

Uneven, but powerful
11 November 1999 | by (Auke Bay, Alaska) – See all my reviews

Four German teenage boys (Leonard, Bale, Whaley, and Batrok), living under Nazy reign in World War II, secretly play Swing music, American stuff that's been forbidden, and embrace the concepts of the musical heritage. But this is clearly an act of rebellion, so they must do it in secret clubs at night, avoiding the Gestapo. Their relationships and the outcomes are the study of this film, which is both uneven and, ultimately, very powerful.

Roger Ebert detested this film for the fact that, to him, is unclear in it's message. He feels that the motives behind these teen's rebellion are stupid: It seems as if Hitler hadn't banned Swing music, then they would have thought that he was a swell guy.

Actually, this observation on Mr. Ebert's behalf might be the film's point. They thought Hitler was a loser because of he didn't let them play their music. Through this fact, they learn that there is a much bigger problem here, and they know that they can't conform to it. So how do they rebell? Through the music that they cherish.

Along the way, two of the boys, Leonard and Bale, are forced to join the Gestapo. Leonard doesn't embrace the teachings, but Bale is slowly brainwashed into conforming. Whaley is a cripple, and he therefore observes the Nazis from a different position. He soon begins to despise his two friends for their uniforms. While his character might be an arrogant jerk, it is clear that he's got a better idea about the evil that's going on than anyone else. Bartok is just sort of along for the ride, just wanting to hang out with his friends and play in his music...oblivious to what happens with the Jews or Nazis.

So here we have four chief characters that pretty much represent probably the most basic attitudes of German citizens during the war: Brainwashed, aware, torn in between, and indifferent. The characters are well acted, and the balance and chemisty between them work. The message at the end is very clear and VERY powerful....I am often reminded of its subtle excellence, though I haven't seen it in a good while.

Unfortunately, the film itself is uneven. Almost too much time is spent on the swing music itself. So much that it takes away from the message of the film. The music should have only served as a backdrop, and endless scenes of dancing almost threaten to take away from the impact of the theme. "Almost" is the key word. All in all, this is a most intriguing film. Kenneth Branagh appears unbilled, as a central Gestapo character.

*** out of ****

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