Down 8,949 this week

Max (I) (2002)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  20 June 2003 (UK)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 6,106 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 84 user | 72 critic | 30 from

A film studying the depiction of a friendship between an art dealer named Rothman and his student, Adolf Hitler.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video


IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 15 Nov 2011
a list of 45 titles
created 15 May 2012
a list of 28 titles
created 17 Jan 2013
a list of 21 titles
created 12 Mar 2013
a list of 40 titles
created 11 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Max" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Max (2002)

Max (2002) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Max.

User Polls

2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A shady lawyer attempts a Christmas Eve crime, hoping to swindle the local mob out of some money. But his partner, a strip club owner, might have different plans for the cash.

Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen
Grace Is Gone (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Upon hearing his wife was killed in the Iraq war, a father takes his two daughters on a road trip.

Director: James C. Strouse
Stars: John Cusack, Emily Churchill, Rebecca Spence
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Widowed Kieran Johnson is a lonely, middle-aged, Chicago-based high school history teacher who feels disconnected to his life. He decides to take a trip to his mother's small old hometown ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Quinn
Stars: Aidan Quinn, James Caan, Jacob Tierney
The Contract (2006)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Ray Keene (John Cusack), a father who wants to redeem himself in the eyes of his son (Jamie Anderson), is trying to bring Carden (Morgan Freeman), a world-class assassin to justice. All the... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: John Cusack, Morgan Freeman, Jamie Anderson
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A forty-something preschool teacher looks to the personals for a change of pace and a relationship, with hilarious results.

Director: Gary David Goldberg
Stars: Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins
Summerhood (2008)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A summer camp comedy...about the horrors of being ten.

Directors: Jacob Medjuck, Tony Dean Smith
Stars: Raquel Alessi, Scott Beaudin, Jesse Camacho
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When unemployed dockworker Joey Coyle finds $1.2 million that fell off of an armored car, he decides to do the logical thing: take the money and run. After all, he says, finders keepers. He... See full summary »

Director: Ramón Menéndez
Stars: John Cusack, Debi Mazar, Michael Madsen
The Jack Bull (TV Movie 1999)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After being wrongfully denied justice, a horse trader seeks his own justice on a treacherous rancher.

Director: John Badham
Stars: John Cusack, John Goodman, L.Q. Jones
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A true story of politics and art in the 1930s U.S., focusing on a leftist musical drama and attempts to stop its production.

Director: Tim Robbins
Stars: Hank Azaria, Rubén Blades, Joan Cusack
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two strangers meet on the road and travel through Nevada on motorcycle to find an elusive spot where they can dump another man's ashes.

Director: Abbe Wool
Stars: John Doe, Adam Horovitz, David Anthony Marshall
War, Inc. (2008)
Action | Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A political satire set in Turaqistan, a country occupied by an American private corporation run by a former US Vice-President. In an effort to monopolize the opportunities the war-torn ... See full summary »

Director: Joshua Seftel
Stars: John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A movie publicist deals with the messy public split of his movie's co-stars while keeping reporters at bay while a reclusive director holds the film's print hostage.

Director: Joe Roth
Stars: Julia Roberts, John Cusack, Billy Crystal


Cast overview, first billed only:
Liselore von Peltz
Nina Rothman
David Horovitch ...
Max's Father
Max's Mother
András Stohl ...
John Grillo ...
Nina's Father
Anna Nygh ...
Nina's Mother
Krisztián Kolovratnik ...
Nina's Brother
David Cohn
János Kulka ...
Mr. Epp
Kata Pálfi ...
Mrs. Epp (as Katalin Pálfy)


Munich, 1918. German-Jew Max Rothman has returned to much of his pre-war life which includes to his wife Nina and their two children, to his mistress Liselore von Peltz, and to his work as an art dealer. He has however not returned to being an aspiring painter as he lost his dominant right arm during the war. He is approached by an aspiring painter, a thirty-year old Austrian war veteran named Adolf Hitler, who wants him to show his works. Although he doesn't think the paintings are all that original and he doesn't really like Hitler as a person, Rothman takes Hitler under his wings if only because of their camaraderie of being war veterans, and knowing that Hitler had nothing and no one to come back to after the war unlike himself. Rothman believes that Hitler has promise if only he can find his original artistic point of view. In part out of need for money, Hitler, on the urging of Captain Karl Mayr, agrees to work for the army as a political spokesman in anti-Semitic propaganda. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Art + Politics = Power


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

20 June 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Hoffman  »

Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$30,157 (USA) (27 December 2002)


$527,019 (USA) (28 February 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


To help get this controversial movie financed, producer/star John Cusack took no salary for acting in the lead role. See more »


Nina Rothman's pointework and ballet silhouette in the scene in her studio is far too modern for 1918; indeed, such "over-the-box-placement" was not a common feature in pointework even thirty years later. See more »


[first lines]
[George Grosz crashes and drunkenly runs stumbling in, looks around at the paintings on display, and begins to vomit]
Max Rothman: George, so glad you like it.
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Devil with Hitler (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ogre

Not very long ago several art historians sought an American publisher for a catalogue of paintings by Adolf Hitler that had survived the Gotterdamerung in the Berlin bunker and the acquisitive hordes of Russian occupiers, perhaps the greatest conquering locusts of modern times. No one would publish the book and several reasons were proffered. The most interesting was that it would be virtually obscene to examine a human side of the twentieth century's greatest monster (Stalin ranks up there too but this isn't the place for that digression).

Why shouldn't every aspect of Hitler's life be open for examination, including his paintings? Hitler was a human being: his younger years and his attempts to become an artist are part of the probably ultimately impenetrable mystery about his development. Let's study everything about him.

Director/Writer Menno Meyjes's "Max" brings the battle-scarred, thirty-year-old Austrian, Adolf Hitler, to turbulent 1918 Munich where he seeks to make sense of the battered city and country while pursuing his dream (fantasy, actually) of becoming a respected and original artist. So much of the film is true. The corporal, still in the army, largely but not exclusively painted the detailed but uninspired and flat urban scenes bought by tourists. Meyjes also has Hitler drawing his ideas about what would later be National Socialist iconography, a reflection of his increasing obsession witn politics..

"Max", a fictional character, is a womanizing, married art dealer. Max Rothman, like Hitler is a former soldier. Rothman literally gave his right arm for "Kaiser und Vaterland," but he seems to accept his sacrifice without deep bitterness. John Cusack as Rothman, the avatar of an emerging German Expressionism, is excellent as he enjoys his pre-Bauhaus mansion while seeking every opportunity to steal away from his lovely and devoted wife, Nina (well-played by Molly Parker) to exercise his libido with his mistress, Liselore (a sultry and cultured young woman whose spirit is captured by Leelee Sobieski).

Hitler shows up delivering a case of bubbly for a Rothman gallery soiree and a conversation begins a weird friendship. Max wants Hitler to be a better artist which in his view is synonymous with being a better man. What a project! Noah Taylor is intense, on fire, as the future fuehrer. Can this bantering Odd Couple seem real when we know what the future holds for Hitler and for Jewish families like the Rothmans who, both in this film and to a large degree in the Germany of the Versailles Treaty, had no inkling that anti-Semitism was being stoked and would emerge rampant before very long? Would we never have heard of the monster Hitler had he been accorded respect (and money) as a painter? That's the film's truly superficial question. Hitler's life wasn't that reductionist.

My answer is that this film should be absorbed as a bifurcated experience. As drama, the acting is compelling. The direction is strong and one scene in which Hitler's rants are rapidly alternated with a Jewish service is blindingly powerful. As German veterans decry a military defeat and the "Stab in the Back" theory begins its awful climb to a national excuse for losing the war the Rothmans, their children and extended family, seem to enjoy a barely inconvenienced life of sumptuousness. The story works well at that level.

Where it fails is that the projected Hitler-Rothman relationship lacks the depth some have found. More than a few critics have suggested that Meyjes sends a message about blindness because Max can't see the anti-Semitic screeching of Hitler as an adumbration of Germany's future. The real reason Max doesn't take Hitler all that seriously is that he himself isn't a very serious fellow except when he tries to sell art and pursue parallel but antagonistic romantic relationships.

How would a Max Rothman have divined the potential of a miserable, hungry corporal in a city where such fellows were common and where they constituted a public menace as the fear of communists and the shakiness of a wrecked economy brought disorder? Impossible. (A prologue title mentions that 100,000 Jews served in the German Army in World War I. My father was one of them and I recall his recollection of disarming warring, urban civilians and quasi-military bands after the Armistice.)

So Max puts his arm around Hitler, offers to buy him lemonade and tells him he isn't an easy guy to like. That brought one of the few guffaws in the theater today. It's not revelatory cinema, it's silly and superficial. The weakest parts of the film are when Max tries to be a pal to his new find.

Charlie Chaplin had Hitler's number and his impersonation of the by-then Nazi leader is an indelible screen classic, a work of acting genius. Noah Parker's younger Hitler is intense and mesmerizing. I wonder if an Oscar nomination can go to an actor portraying one of the most evil characters in all history, one whose mark leaves deep scars in many living today. I have my doubts. We'll see.

Original, different, flawed, often fascinating, in parts a bit foolish.


43 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Humanising Hitler superchicky86
German Accents peter_jones
Jesus Christ! and other lines ncc4
favorite line of this movie king-of-the-sick
Didn't Hitler have a mustache? blindsourse
This film is all about 'Modernism' ... djangoman
Discuss Max (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: