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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.

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Harvey Keitel plays SS-Oberscharfuhrer Eric Muhsfeldt, Keitel himself is of Jewish-Polish heritage. See more »

Goofs

The movie mentions the rebellion taking place in 'Number One' and 'Number Three' Crematorium in Birkenau. In reality these crematoria were numbered 2 and 4 (the number 1 crematorium was in the main camp Auschwitz 1). The unit working in Crematorium 2 was known as Kommando 1, however. See more »

Quotes

SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: This isn't our war.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: Not mine.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: Nor mine. I can assure you. But, to allow this all to go to waste.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: I understand your position.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: Clearly you do more than that.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: As you wish.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: Meaning?
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: There is no meaning.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: We're going to be increasing the volume of our research.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: I shall need more staff.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Alto Rhapsody, Opus 53
(1869)
Composed by Johannes Brahms
Marjana Lipovsek, contralto
Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Claudio Abbado
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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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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