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The Grey Zone (2001)

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A Nazi doctor, along with the Sonderkommando, Jews who are forced to work in the crematoria of Auschwitz against their fellow Jews, find themselves in a moral grey zone.

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(based in part on "Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account") (as Dr. Miklos Nyiszli), (play) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hoffman
...
Moll
David Chandler ...
Max Rosenthal
...
Cohen
George Zlatarev ...
Lowy (as Georgy Zlatarev)
Dimitar Ivanov ...
Old Man
...
Simon Schlermer
...
...
'Hesch' Abramowics
...
Henry Stram ...
Kamelia Grigorova ...
Girl
...
Anja (as Lisa Benavides)
...
Inmate
...
Dina
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Storyline

The true story of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Hungarian Jew chosen by Josef Mengele to be the head pathologist at Auschwitz. Nyiszli was one of Auschwitz's Sonderkommandos - Special Squads of Jewish prisoners placed by the Nazis in the excruciating moral dilemma of helping to exterminate fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life. Together, the Sonderkommandos struggled to organize the only armed revolt that would ever take place at Auschwitz. As the rebellion is about to commence, a group from the unit discovers a 14-year-old girl who has miraculously survived a gassing. A catalyst for their desperate attempt at personal redemption, the men become obsessed with saving this one child, even if doing so endangers the uprising which could save thousands. To what terrible lengths are we willing to go to save our own lives, and what in turn would we sacrifice to save the lives of others? Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story You Haven't Seen

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong holocaust violence, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

30 November 2001 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

A szürke zóna  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,526 (USA) (18 October 2002)

Gross:

$507,443 (USA) (13 December 2002)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first feature film ever about the 'Sonderkommando' at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2015 the acclaimed Hungarian-language feature film Saul fia (2015) became the second one. While both films deal with the same historical events including the revolt on October 7th,1944, they are told from different perspectives, in different styles and highlight different themes. The Hungarian film also characterizes the 'Sonderkommando' less ambiguous. Both films are based in part on doctor Miklos Nyiszli's "Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account", but "Son of Saul" (2015) used additional historical accounts, especially "The Scrolls of Auschwitz" [aka "Voices from beneath the Ashes"] (edited by Ber Mark), a collection of secretly written and hidden testimonies by members of the 'Sonderkommando' themselves. See more »

Goofs

Overall shots show four crematoria side by side. In reality crematoria 4 and 5 were located quite a distance away from the other two. See more »

Quotes

Hoffman: I used to think so much of myself... What I'd make of my life. We can't know what we're capable of, any of us. How can you know what you'd do to stay alive, until you're really asked? I know this now. For most of us, the answer... is anything. It's so easy to forget who we were before... who we'll never be again. There was this old man, he pushed the carts, and on our first day, when we had to burn our own convey, his wife was brought up on the elevator. Then his daughter... and then both his ...
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Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses from the South, Opus 388
(1880)
Composed by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss)
Orchestrated and arranged by Jeff Danna and Andrew Lockington
Performed and conducted by members of the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Horrifying
28 March 2003 | by (New Orleans) – See all my reviews

No punches pulled in this one. "The Grey Zone" is to "Schindler's List" what "Menace II Society" was to "Boyz N The Hood". Tim Blake Nelson gives an incredibly moving account of men and women who know they're dead, but are simply looking for clear consciences on the way out. The performances are excellent (with the possible exception of a miscast Keitel), and the lack of sentiment gives a much more realistic depiction of what these human beings actually had to go through. Be prepared: the last 10 minutes of this film are completely unsettling.


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