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Max is gay and as such is sent to Dachau concentration camp under the Nazi regime. He tries to deny he is gay and gets a yellow label (the one for Jews) instead of pink (the one for gays). ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (play)
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wolf (as Nikolaj Waldau)
Gresby Nash ...
Half-Woman - Half-Man
David Meyer ...
Stefan Marling ...
SS Captain
SS Guard
SS Guard
Johanna Kirby ...
Muttering Woman
David Phelan ...
Fluff in Park
Peter Stark ...
Guard 1 on Train


Max is gay and as such is sent to Dachau concentration camp under the Nazi regime. He tries to deny he is gay and gets a yellow label (the one for Jews) instead of pink (the one for gays). In camp he falls in love with his fellow prisoner Horst, who wears his pink label with pride.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gay | guard | train | jew | death | See All (249) »


The stunning film adaptation of Martin Sherman's award-winning play.


Drama | History | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for a strong scene of graphic sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

26 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Akumim  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$145,222 (USA) (28 November 1997)


$372,341 (USA) (26 December 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Having played the role of Max in the original Broadway production of "Bent," Richard Gere was the original choice of the producers for the same role in the film, but having already contracted to appear in Red Corner (1997), which was filming in China, and The Jackal (1997), filming in various countries in Europe, Gere was unavailable for the shooting schedule of Bent, the film, which necessitated choosing another actor for the role, and ultimately Clive Owen was chosen. See more »


Max: I love you... What's wrong with that?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with the main credits revealing like a searchlight. See more »


Referenced in The Bubble (2006) See more »


Written by Martin Sherman and Philip Glass
Performed by Mick Jagger, piano by Matt Clifford
See more »

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User Reviews

5 May 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When Martin Sherman's play first appeared (with Ian McKellen as Max and Tom Bell as Horst) it caused outrage and much discussion with its sympathetic and frank treatment of forbidden love in the age of the SS.

Here it has undergone a few changes but retains its stark power. Clive Owen (probably not my first choice for the role) plays Max, the homosexual who pretends to be a Jew so he is not at the bottom of the pecking order of prisoners. The way the SS force him to prove his sexuality is shocking whether on the printed page, in a theatre, or up on the big screen. Brian Webber plays his intellectual lover Rudy with some class and it is a brief but touching performance.

Lothaire Bluteau, who I had only seen before in 'Jesus of Montreal', was brilliant in the role of Horst, the prisoner with the pink triangle who awakens Max again from his imprisoned desires. There are quiet and intense scenes between the two that are almost unbearably moving to watch, and are done within this film extremely well.

Elsewhere in the cast, Ian McKellen himself plays Uncle Freddie (but those of us who saw him as Max would love to have seen that portrayal immortalised on screen), while Mick Jagger is surprisingly good as Greta (a role which could easily be played wrong but he's spot on).

This play/film is intended to make its audience confront their prejudices, to shock, move, and inspire them. I think it is an unmissable experience - a difficult one, but worthwhile.

52 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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