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Swing Kids (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music | 5 March 1993 (USA)
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 lead to more difficult choices as the Nazis begin tightening... See full summary »


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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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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 lead 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


In a world on the brink of war. You either march to one tune or dance to another. 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?


Thomas calls the HJ "the Scheiße Patrol". Although he pronounces it wrong, it means "sh*t" in German. See more »


At the end of the film, when Willy is running after Peter and stops, there is clearly nothing at Willy's feet. Later, after being told "Swing Heil", he grabs an umbrella on a wet poster at his feet that clearly wasn't there before. See more »


Peter: I know who my friends are. I'm not alone.
See more »


Written by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills
Performed by Billy Banks
Courtesy of Interstate Music Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Strangulation Of Culture
7 March 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I do love swing music and love the music and artists from the era. So did my parents who were contemporary with it. But they had the good fortune to love it in the USA. It was a dangerous thing to like Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and most of all Arthur Shawronsky who the authorities did know was Artie Shaw. But these squares were the Gestapo and Swing Kids is about the youth who loved American swing music at considerable cost.

Robert Sean Leonard, Christian Bale, Frank Whaley are three friends who are into American swing at a time in their country when such "jungle" music was Verboten. Swing Kids is the story about how all three were dealing with the growing strangulation of culture. One of the opening scenes takes place at a forbidden swing club where the kids are cutting a rug to Benny Goodman when word comes the authorities are near. Without a beat the band turns into a typical German Oompah band, the kind of music Herr Schicklgruber deemed acceptable to German youth.

Which was being swallowed up by the Hitler Youth and the social pressures to join are enormous. Something that we in this country cannot fathom. I'm not a big fan of the current Pope, but about the only thing I'll give Benedict XVI a pass on was joining the Hitler Youth. At a certain point the wiggle room got less and less.

Barbara Hershey as Leonard's mother gives a good performance as a woman keeping company with a Gestapo official for a little more comfort. Her husband and Leonard and David Tom's father had been arrested by the Gestapo a few years back and died as a result of their custody. The Gestapo official is played by an unbilled Kenneth Branagh who took no billing for his part deliberately.

Swing Kids has a timely lesson for today if some in federal authority will care to learn it. The fundamentalist Moslems just as the Nazis hate our decadent culture. The answer is keep importing it into places like Iran by the cargo ship load. Don't bomb them to death, just send them our music and films.

By the way our own fundamentalist Christians hated that music as they hate the music of today. Something about authoritarianism of whatever stripe just hates contemporary culture, whatever it is at the time.

Swing Kids is a valuable lesson about freedom of expression wrapped up in a good entertaining package.

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