The Grey Zone (2001)

R  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  30 November 2001 (Spain)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 8,208 users   Metascore: 58/100
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A Nazi doctor, along with the Sonderkomando, Jews who are forced to work in the crematoria of Auschwitz against their fellow Jews, find themselves in a moral grey zone.



(book) (as Dr. Miklos Nyiszli) , (play), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Chandler ...
Max Rosenthal
George Zlatarev ...
Lowy (as Georgy Zlatarev)
Dimitar Ivanov ...
Old Man
Simon Schlermer
'Hesch' Abramowics
Henry Stram ...
Kamelia Grigorova ...
Anja (as Lisa Benavides)


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


The Story You Haven't Seen


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

30 November 2001 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

A szürke zóna  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jeff Danna is the credited composer, but there is no score in the actual film. He only wrote music for the title and end credit sequences. He also arranged a classical piece used as source music. See more »


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 »


Simon Schlermer: I do not wish to be alive when all of this is over.
See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Alto Rhapsody, Opus 53
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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Very very sad. Good for educational value, so so for entertainment.
11 November 2002 | by (Phx, AZ) – See all my reviews

I love WWII movies and am a fan of many that were made about the Holocaust. I saw this one a few nights ago it is playing right now only very limited release.

Good cast with Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, Steve Buscemi and an impressive performance for a change by David Arquette. Arquette chose a very serious role-a Jewish prisoner at a Nazi concentration camp and played it off well.

This is based on a true story about a group of Jewish concentration camp inmates at Auschwitz that plan on smuggling in dynamite to blow up one of the crematoriums. Their plan gets discovered by the SS and killings and torture run rampant to try and get them to confess and give details of their plans.

A teenage girl happens to survive one of the gassings and the camp inmates become obsessed with saving her, even though it could be at the expense of many lives.

There were some people that saw this movie because they couldn't get in to see "Frida". Some people had no idea what this movie was about before they saw it. Some people asked me before it started and I told them and they still chose to stay. If you are a history buff and like Holocaust movies and want to see a true story told through the eyes of the writers, you might like this movie but be prepared to see endless killings working around a decent script that could have been better written. However if you can appreciate the fact that the makers are trying to educate people on the Holocaust and bring to light just how cruel and horrible Hitler's Third Reich was, the movie is sad, depressing, but does have some educational value. Not every single Jew willingly accepted what was going to happen to them, a few tried to rebel and that's why this story was told.

Not very easy on the eyes, bring the Kleenex and watch with shock as one of history's most horrible atrocities is brought to the screen.


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