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The Grey Zone (2001)

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.

Director:

Writers:

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

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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

Official Sites:

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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:

Color:

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

When the Jews are ushered from the changing rooms to the "Shower" a women with a bikini top is visible for a moment in the background. See more »

Quotes

Hoffman: Why kill us now? We're the best kommando you've had.
SS-Oberscharfuhrer Eric Muhsfeldt: Did I say kill?
Hoffman: We both know what we're saying.
SS-Oberscharfuhrer Eric Muhsfeldt: So I'm a liar.
Hoffman: You're what you are.
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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

 
THE GREY ZONE is so good it's literally painful to watch.

This might not sound like a recommendation, but when you consider the film's subject matter, "painful" is actually a good word to describe THE GREY ZONE's brilliance. Director Tim Blake Nelson has crafted a fascinating portrayal of the Sonderkomando, Jewish concentration-camp prisoners who help the Nazis in order to ensure for themselves a few extra months of life, as well as creature comforts denied to the other prisoners. The script and cast are equally effective. David Arquette proves himself to be not merely the idiot bastard son of the Arquette family with a powerful performance; Harvey Kietel and Steve Buscemi are brilliant as always. The film's real strength, making it the greatest Holocaust film I've ever seen, is its relevance; we may think ourselves to noble to sell out our brethren to save our own lives, but we would certainly reconsider if actually faced with this choice. In the end, Nelson brilliantly implies that perhaps the nightmare world of the Sonderkomando is really not so different from our own workaday reality.


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