Silent Night (TV Movie 2002) Poster

(2002 TV Movie)

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One poignant film...*May Contain Spoilers*
Andy Van Scoyoc10 December 2004
I saw this story originally I believe on "Unsolved Mysteries" a few years ago and I thought to myself "this story would make a great movie," and wondered how long it would take for someone to realize what a movie of this caliber could do for people. I see that it didn't take as long for that realization, as I thought it would.

In one of the most heartfelt performances in her life, Linda Hamilton, as Frau Elisabeth Vincken, a woman living alone with her young son who has her own demons to deal with and her own dislike of the war that has torn her country and family apart, has managed to pull off what few other women could have with the strength and believability that she did.

World War II...Christmas Eve...all the makings for a dreary night in the trenches with not much to celebrate one would think.

Not so for this movie and the heartstrings definitely get a good pulling in this film.

The animosity between the German and American soldiers when they first meet is evident and Martin Neufeld puts in one heck of a performance as Lt. Hans Klosterman, a bitter, loyal to the death, and unbending German officer. The hatred, the anger that he feels toward the American soldiers, especially Sgt. Ralph Blank, played with hard realism by Alain Goulem; who seems to butt heads from the get go with the battle hardened Lt., who have come seeking shelter for the evening in the home of Frau Vincken is palpable and makes for a very believable situation. More than once I felt myself torn between hating Neufeld's character and having hope for his heart to soften.

As has already been said, this story was based on a real life occurrence. Sometimes fact can be more beautiful than fiction and this movie is ironclad proof.

If any film needed levity and laugh now and then, it was this movie, and that call was quickly and with an outstanding performance, answered by Private Jimmy Rassi, played with expert talent by Romano Orzari. This actor really put his heart into his performance and the result was a character that was not only heartwarming but completely and utterly believable.

If you want a movie that can convey the message of what Christmas is REALLY about, then you must see this film. It will make you think, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry...it will give you hope that our future, if we could simply put aside our differences could be a lot brighter than what people could ever dream...
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8/10
True-life story expanded
blanche-25 December 2005
Die-hard "Unsolved Mysteries" fans will remember the wonderful story told by a man named Fritz about a Christmas eve in the German woods when he and his mother were visited by American soldiers seeking to get out of the cold. It was a lovely story if you just stopped there, but German soldiers soon arrived and wanted to get out of the cold as well! The mother insisted that everyone lay down their weapons and have a Christmas dinner, and they did so. One of the soldiers was wounded, and the soldiers on the other side helped him. They all spent the night with no incident, realizing that on whatever side you were on, you were still a human being.

Well, if this didn't have all the makings of a movie, what does? The story, of course, has been vastly expanded to include some conflict and some insight into the personalities involved. In real life, there wasn't intense communication since there were language barriers.

This is a Christmas story that embodies the true meaning of the season in every sense of the word, all the more poignant because it's true. The performances are all wonderful. In real life, Fritz, who emigrated to America and became a baker, was looking to connect with the GIs he had met. The show found one of the old soldiers in a nursing home, and as he and Fritz reminisced, it was obvious that to both of them, the incident happened yesterday.

This movie is highly recommended. It's about a remarkable woman who understood the term "peace on earth."
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7/10
Truth is stranger than fiction...
JonathanWalford20 December 2002
And this movie proves that old adage. Silent Night is a simple story with a small cast in one setting (and one that will translate well into a stage play, if it didn't originate as one to begin with). It is not an unfamiliar story for those who read military history, but the human aspect of civilians in the midst, and especially one courageous woman who set the terms of a truce for just one evening, is a fresh twist. As with all "based on a true story" movies, one wonders how true the facts are to the original events. If liberties were taken with the facts of this event, the result was a charming and tightly told story that questions the value of duty and honour versus the value of life and friendship. Its a good war story, and a good Christmas story, and although the plot is set up from the start, so that the viewer knows all will end well, there is a tension throughout that keeps the viewer interested.
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10/10
This movie grows on you
Jenny7 September 2004
I think most love a true story and this one to me is one of the best. I loved this movie the first time I saw it but each time since, I fall in love with it a bit more. Set in a time in our history where death and war (World War II) were on every mind, this sweet story shows how love and friendship can happen even between strangers who are bitter enemies forming a friendship that can and actually does wind up lasting a lifetime. It opens as a battle rages on showing the horrors of war while a mother and her son try to find a safe haven in the family cabin. Little did they know on that special Christmas Eve so long ago that something was going to happen that would change their lives forever. Enemies met in that small space and an understanding grudgingly developed between people even surprising them at the end and bonding them for life. Hopefully all will make a point of going back in time and experiencing this amazing true story. You won't be disappointed.
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9/10
Totally different Christmas movie
shearerc24 December 2003
Undoubtedly one of the best Christmas movie ever. The plot is simple, yet was so effective in bringing out the best in every cast member. Viewers can be forgiven for having a temporary sense of disbelief as they watch Linda Hamilton portray a bold character who forces the soldiers into submitting to a truce (no mean feat for any unarmed woman). However i believe the bulk of the credit should be given to the supporting cast, these guys convincingly added emotional weight to the movie. Also as a previous reviewer pointed out, lighting and staging were very fitting and impressive for a tiny production like this and man, would they look good on the DVD.

Forget this movie if you're hungry for some action - watch it instead to find out how human commonness and compassion triumph over hostility and bitterness in the midst of insanity. Highly recommended. 9.5/10
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8/10
A gem of a small, feel-good Christmas movie.
Allen20 December 2002
This film challenged my assumptions about made-for-TV films. Linda Hamilton and an excellent supporting cast do a first-rate job portraying a group of American and German soldiers who take time out from battle in the closing days of World War II to celebrate Christmas and remember their shared humanity.

Nice underacting combined with solid camera work and lighting make this film work. An interesting touch is that throughout much of the film, the German characters speak in German with English subtitles; personally, I found this effective -- amazingly, most of the accents were pretty good. Although it has a happy ending -- it is a Christmas movie, after all -- the film has sufficient pathos to prevent it from becoming saccharin.

This film seems proof again that our northern neighbors seem to have to compensate for a lack of special effects and big names by resorting to acting and plot! Definitely worth watching.
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10/10
Lovely Re-telling of a common story un-commonly told.
Lixza27 December 2002
Growing up I was told by my Parents and Grand Parents similar accounts of how during the W.W.II that the enemy lines were crossed in order that the Rank and File solders, of each side could have a cup of worm cheer and a carol or two on Christmas Eve.

The night that seemed too holy not to stop and remember Family so far away. This touching move does this and in a engaging and dramatic way. It also reminds us that not all Germans welcomed the war and the havoc it brought, nor did all Germans believe in the Nazi propaganda. Elisabeth's impassioned speech in which she tells a reluctant Nazi solder ` If I had only know earlier, in the beginning I would have done something, but I didn't know' brought me to tears. Also the scene where the two sides sit down to a "pitch in" Christmas Supper was very moving.

Linda Hamelton's Elisabeth is a fine performance and a wonderful example of how when given good material she can really give an award winning performance. All the actors turned convincing and hart tugging performances.

I feel that it is unfortunate that a Major network did not pick this up for broadcast, and that it ran on a rather obscure cable station, but Kudos to Hallmark for using good sense in airing it.
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10/10
Can't Praise it Enough
War_Emblem21 February 2004
Silent Night is honestly the best Christmas movie I have ever seen. It kicks ass compared to all those other holiday movies about superficial families that try to get along for the sake of the youngest child during the holidays. This movie shows the reality of both war and goodness of mankind.

Though it is set during the Second World War, it is really about how race and ethnicity should not affect people. It is also very realistic; the snowy Ardennes and cozy cottage Elisabeth and Fritz live in had me running outside to chop wood for my fireplace just so I could have that old-world feeling. The costumes are very nice too, easily matching the real costumes used in Band of Brothers. The only thing I got tired of was Linda Hamliton's German accent, a few more weeks of voice coaching and she could have fooled me though.

This movie deserves a place of honor on the movie shelf right next to Band of Brothers and Schindler's List. I feel strongly that a book should be written by the Vincken family about this event, I would certainly buy it.
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10/10
A great story. A must see for everyone!
jcdjms9 December 2004
Linda Hamilton's performance was wonderful! The story was great, and the acting was very good. If you want to be "touched", and not just entertained, this a great movie. The tone is warm and serious, but not without a few light-hearted moments. The setting is World War II, so it is not your normal Christmas movie, but it is well worth watching.

I enjoyed Linda Hamilton in the Terminator movies, but she shows a more serious side in Silent Night. I was blown away by the convincing German accent and acting skills. She shows that she is more than an action lady (although she certainly has left a legacy in the first two Terminator movies).
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9/10
A True Diamond in the Rough
Razalia_Queen29 December 2006
While movies made solely for television generally have a stereotype for being mediocre, this outstanding movie breaks records easily. It covers a true story, of a boy during WWII with his not so traditional mother. It tells the story of how soldiers of both sides come to share a Christmas with them.

One of my favorite aspects of this film was that it did not have the excess violence, gore, profanity, etc. It seemed to me that it was just an honest, down-to-earth type. It is not made up of thousands of dollars worth of special effects or an hour and a half of cars being blown up. The characters are not overly evil, good, or perfect. They acted as if they were the actual people that the events had happened to. Wonderful acting, I think.

The storyline is filled with twists and turns, heart-breaking moments and even a little humor. It is a perfect film for any family, especially during the holidays. I am sure if someone got real nitpicky there are a few errors, but to me, everything is pretty darn close to being perfect. I sincerely recommend it to someone looking for a truly good film.

**I suggest that you google "Fritz Vincken" after watching the movie. There are numerous interviews with him about the real events and his life after the war ended. I find them very inspiring.
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10/10
Very good Christmas movie.
AH AH24 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Sehr gutes Weihnachten film.

This sheds more light.

"By Rod Ohira Advertiser Staff Writer

"A Silent Night," a 90-minute television movie based on former Honolulu baker Fritz Vincken's wartime experience about enemies sharing a peaceful Christmas Eve dinner in 1944, is scheduled to be shown Dec. 14 on the Hallmark Channel. Shooting was completed Friday night in Montreal, executive producer Steve Rubin said. The film, produced by Rubin's Los Angeles-based Fast Carrier Pictures in association with Mews Entertainment, stars Linda Hamilton as Elisabeth Vincken and 12-year-old Canadian Matthew Harbour as her son. Fritz Vincken, former owner of Fritz's European Bakery in Kapalama, died Dec. 8 in Oregon, 16 days before the 57th anniversary of a Christmas experience he called "the night God came to dinner." Vincken was 12 years old when he and his mother offered food and shelter to three American and four German soldiers in the Ardennes Forest near the German-Belgian border. The soldiers put down their weapons to share an evening of good will and peace. After a restful night, they went their separate ways but not before the Germans gave the Americans a compass and directions on how to get back to their lines. The screenplay, written by Roger Aylward, deals with that night in the forest. After searching for the American and German soldiers unsuccessfully for years, Vincken realized his dream in January 1996 when he went to Maryland to meet Ralph Blank, who was one of the American soldiers at the Christmas Eve dinner. Blank, who served with the 121st Infantry, 8th Division, showed Vincken the compass the German soldiers had given him. "As the world hears the drumbeats of war, it's nice to be able to present a peaceful, inspiring story," Rubin told The Advertiser in a telephone interview from Montreal. The project is in post-production and will be delivered to Hallmark in November, Rubin said. "It's really a tribute to Fritz, and his family was very supportive."

Source: The Honolulu Advertiser, September 24, 2002"
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10/10
One of the best war movies I've seen..
kevdor22 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I was watching late night TV when I came upon this movie and I was completely absorbed by it. All I have to say is wow.. just wow! Everything is so different in this film, it shows the true human nature behind the killing machines soldiers become, and how enemies can even bind in the most unlikely situations. It is not meant to show the atrocities of war (bullets flying everywhere, guts being spilled on the ground, etc) but how ridiculous it can be for living, breathing, thinking human beings to kill each for causes that are not even their own.

I highly recommend it to anyone, WW2 passionnate or not
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10/10
Excellent movie
joed166719 December 2006
I found this movie while flipping through the channels early one morning in December/2005. I had missed the first 10 minutes and just had to buy the DVD. Although it plays loosely with the facts, something the film industry has a hard time adhering to, it nevertheless is an wonderful movie made for TV for the Hallmark Channel.

It is based on the short story "Truce in the Forrest" and "The Night God Came for Dinner" by Fritz Vicken. Unlike the movie, communication was done between Fritz's mother Elisabeth, who spoke some French and one of the American soldiers who also spoke a little French. Only one of the Germans spoke some English.

Both the movie and real life incident showed that these people could put their differences aside and found they were much alike in many ways. Unlike the conflict between the Germans and Russians, there wasn't that level of hatred unless they were dealing with the SS. I've found many stories where soldiers put their differences aside to help each other out, from a German officer stopping an American jeep at a checkpoint that was carrying a wounded GI, then directing them to the American lines, to the pilot of an ME-109 who came upon a crippled B-17 and rather than shooting it out of the sky, escorted it to the English Channel and made sure it was going to make it safely back before peeling away. Ironically, the pilots of those 2 warplanes found each other in the later years and became close friends. That's what this movie does it to show the human side of our "enemy" and leaves you hoping they made it out of the war OK but it does leave you wondering what ever happened to them.

Fritz Vicken was able to locate Sgt. Ralph Blank in a Maryland nursing home after years of searching for the soldiers, thanks to "Unsolved Mysteries". Sadly, Fritz Vicken died the year this movie was released. What is ironic is that Fritz immigrated to this country after the war, like so many German soldiers and civilians. Our former enemies were now productive Americans. Fritz owned a bakery in Honolulu for many years.

I've added this movie to my Christmas holiday collection.
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A celebration of what Christmas is about!
Kelly E.F. Wiebe20 December 2002
Prior to watching this movie I thought I would pop in a dvd Christmas movie but I didn't. I am glad that I watched this production. With exception of Linda Hamilton I didn't know any of the actors involved. Everyone provided excellent portrayals of their characters. Linda Hamilton was very convincing as German mother Elisabeth Vincken. Actually I was reminded of my Aunt Freida by Linda's practicality and sensibility. The fact that the characters made the best of what they have in a time that was anything but best and supplies of things we take for granted now, limited. The concept of putting aside the war for a night of peace is something fantastic. Pulling together, the characters show the common thread that is in all of us - memories of times when battles were something unknown and sharing was something that just happened. I say Bravo to all involved in this production for being part of providing a perspective of Christmas too often overlooked. It is my understanding that this movie is based on a true story. If this is so I say God Bless to such a woman who created a night of a miracle. I sure wish there were more movies like this that relied on the special effect in the story and not the visual effects.
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10/10
I think Linda deserved this success , she has incredibly much more to offer !
tfduckman30 January 2005
Not much to say about this , Linda Hamilton shines and she deserved a solo-part like this (sorry to say , I haven't heard much about the other actors) after her great T2-performance (OK , and T1 2 :-) which is comparable to Jack Nicholsons Cuckoo's Nest ! Even when Linda is nearly unrecognizable , like in the horrible "A Girl Thing" (understandably unrecognizable ...) , there's a wonderful light she can't hide from us ! Admittedly , I'm a huge fan since I saw the scene in T2 where , no , I won't ever spoil that . See T2 and discover (when she appears in the movie) why I claim she should have had an Oscar and I still think so ! This "Silent Night" is truly a wonderful & worthy step in her further rise to a multi-spectered stardom on the screen .

I think she is the woman-equivalent to Jack Nicholson , at least I would love to see the 2 in a movie together !
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8/10
Nice Film
Christmas-Reviewer20 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A German mother, Elisabeth Vincken (Linda Hamilton), who had already lost her eldest son in the Battle of Stalingrad and whose husband is a cook serving in the German army, and her son, Fritz, are seeking refuge in a cabin near the front lines in the Ardennes forests region of western Europe. They are invaded by three American soldiers and then soon after three German soldiers, and after much resistance the mother manages to convince the enemy soldiers to put aside their differences for one night and share a Christmas dinner.

To tell you more about the story would be a crime. The film is so well made that you are drawn into the story once the first images hit the screen.

The film is well paced. I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed the movie.

Now this film is "A Christmas THEME" film but it is made for an older audience and not for children. Now children can watch but they would be bored. When this film pops up on Television watch it.
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10/10
Poignant and memorable
STEVEN DANKO13 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Hallmark Channel films are always well-made, thought-provoking and excellent and this one is no exception. I saw it last night and it really resonated with me. It's based on a real incident that occurred on Christmas Eve 1944 in the Ardennes Forest during the World War II German counteroffensive known as the Battle of the Bulge.

The opening sequence and the end sequence act as bookmarks to bracket the film and bring it full circle. Three American soldiers- a sergeant and two privates- one of whom has a serious leg wound, find themselves cut off and are attempting to make their way back to their own lines. They stumble upon a cabin in the woods occupied by a German woman named Elisabeth Vincken(LINDA HAMILTON) and her 12-year old son, Fritz(MATTHEW HARBOUR). Mother and son both speak English, but this does not help in endearing them to Sergeant Ralph Blank(ALAIN GOULEM), whose hatred of Germans does not distinguish between soldiers and civilians. Mrs. Vincken is depicted as a proud, strong-willed woman who is grounded in morality and has only distaste and contempt for Adolf Hitler and the ruinous war he has foisted upon the German people. Fritz, on the other hand, like most young boys his age, is a believer and looks forward to becoming a member of the Hitler Youth and joining the fight against the Americans.

Mrs. Vincken allows the Americans to use her house to try and patch up their wounded comrade- but with one condition attached. She will not tolerate the presence of weapons inside her home and has her son hide them for safekeeping in the cellar when the soldiers' attention was with their wounded buddy.

The arrival of three German soldiers at the cabin serves as the focal point for what will turn out to be a very unusual encounter between opposing enemy forces. The Germans- a Wehrmacht Lieutenant named Hans Klosterman(MARTIN NEUFELD) along with his Sergeant and a Private, are tricked into dropping their weapons by Private Jimmy Rassi(ROMANO ORZARI), a street-smart Italian-American soldier from Brooklyn.

With both sides now effectively disarmed, Mrs. Vincken offers them the hospitality of her cabin for Christmas Eve and works to establish and maintain a shaky truce between the two hated enemies. The main conflict comes in the obvious mistrust and dislike between the two ranking officers of each group. Lieutenant Klosterman is a hard-liner who believes in the inevitability of a German victory against the Allies. He believes that this battle is the first step in an eventual German rout of the Allied Armies that will succeed in pushing them back through France and into the English Channel. He realizes early on, however, that Sgt. Blank, a tough, grizzled combat veteran with an attitude, is no pushover and can handle himself quite capably in their verbal jousts. Mrs. Vincken has her hands full keeping them apart. However, when the German Sergeant(MARK KRUPA) helps save the wounded American's life by cauterizing his leg wound with a heated knife, it goes a long way in establishing a measure of trust and comradeship as the evening progresses.

Mrs. Vincken offers to feed these soldiers a Christmas meal out of the goodness of her heart and in the hope that sitting down at the table and breaking bread together might help both sides see that they share a common humanity in spite of their differences- at least for one night. She is challenged in her assumptions by the Lieutenant, who feels that she lacks the proper allegiance to the Fatherland. She puts him in his place by telling him that she has already lost her eldest son in the war and has no intention of sacrificing her youngest son in what has become a lost cause. Private Rassi understands what she's trying to do and suggests that each soldier- German and American- contribute to the meal by offering up items of food from their personal supplies. This goes over quite well and gives Rassi the opportunity to display his quick wit and repartee about Italians and food. He is shown as a sensitive, wise, intelligent and caring person. He knows how to communicate with people and reach them on an inner level and this ability goes a long way in bringing the two groups together.

As the evening wears on, the desired effect is achieved. With the exception of a conflicted moment between Rassi and the German Lieutenant, which was about to lead to fisticuffs but was resolved by a painful personal confession and an apology, the two groups actually start to relax in each others presence and begin to enjoy each others company as they come to know one another better. The effect that Mrs. Vincken had hoped for becomes a reality as the soldiers come to see each other not as a faceless enemy, but as people with shared dreams, fears, hopes and desires. Even Lieutenant Klosterman loses some of his hard edge and allows himself the spirit and significance of this night.

The next morning, the slumber of the men is disrupted by the sudden appearance at the cabin of an American Army MP Captain. I won't reveal what happens after he arrives, other than to say that this officer is a surprise for both sides. When the two groups part, they part as friends, with Lieutenant Klosterman giving Sergeant Blank a compass to help the Americans find their way back.

This is a beautiful, sensitive movie which shows that even amidst the horrors of war, men wearing different uniforms can, if only for a moment, come together in peace, reconciliation and healing. I give this one a 10 out of 10, hands down.
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10/10
Incredible!!
p_a_talbot-19 December 2008
For many years, I had heard this story, I mean, since I was a child. Who first told it to me, I don't remember. I had thought that it was one of those stories that had to be made up. Every now and then, I would hear it again. Kind of like just often enough to just not be allowed to forget it.

This little German woman and her son are in a house in the mountains, and it's almost Christmas. The Americans find the house from one direction. The Germans find the house from the other direction. And they spend Christmas Day together.

How this woman's strength of character and respect for the season come together in this little house, with this unlikely combination of people is amazing. Just thinking about this story has my eyes welling up! This is a movie that you will regret missing!!
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9/10
What a little-known surprise
jdimension28 November 2007
I was flipping channels last night and stumbled upon this movie. I was like "hey - that's the chick from Terminator playing a German lady during World War II" and paused for a minute to see what the movie was about. I didn't see the beginning and didn't get to see the end, but I was GLUED to the television while I was able. I was so disappointed to have missed the ending that I've got it on my calendar to see the rest of the movie. I found the character development to be well played and wanted to know more about each one. It was so interesting to watch how they interacted with each other. The movie kept me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next with the soldiers. It was a great story of the true spirit of Christmas!
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6/10
Silent Night
cloudyskye4 March 2007
I rather liked this, having bought the DVD just based on these recommendations, although I agree with some of the reviewers in that I find it a little too sweet and naïve in some places. But then, apparently it is based on a true story, and I don't really mind swallowing a little sugariness sometimes. There is just the language issue that made me cringe throughout the film. As a native speaker of German (perhaps the only one here?) I can't agree with the reviewers who praised the actors' accents. Maybe they could impress foreigners with their very fake sounding English-with-a-strong-German-accent, but no German would ever be fooled. The only exception is Cassian Bopp, playing young Heinrich. All the others speak their German lines in a very stiff and wooden way, betraying their origins all the time. And please, is there a German who can read "Moby Dick" and "Huckleberry Finn" in the original and yet forgets to say "and" instead of "und" when speaking English? I think not. Still, I tend to be forgiving because obviously they tried their best. I'll certainly give it another chance – because sometimes a good story covers many sins.
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10/10
wonderful movie
christie-922 December 2002
this is a movie that i want to share with as many people as possible-quite a moving message-excellently done-i would recommend this for a must see for all humanity. this should be shown every year. thanks to the hallmark station for providing this as a feature this christmas.
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8/10
Truly underrated anti-war movie.
Michael DeZubiria14 July 2009
There is a scene early in Silent Night that I thought was indicative of a profoundly cheesy war film that was to follow. A couple American soldiers are passing through a snowy wood when they come across a young German boy. One soldier calls the kid "my friend," and the kid mutters a well-rehearsed line about how they are not friends and never will be, at which point the American soldier gives him a heartwarming speech about how the radio has been deceiving them, and that they are not his enemy, Hitler is. This is a level of preposterous cheesiness that almost reaches propaganda, but even though a German country woman talks some American and German soldiers into disarming and spending some quality time together, it turns out to be a lot better than I expected.

Linda Hamilton plays Elisabeth Vincken, a German widow who lost one son and probably her husband (he's only a cook but has been missing for months), and is now living in a small cabin in the woods with her 12-year-old son Fritz, who she is protecting from compulsory military service. Two American and two German soldiers have a confrontation just outside her cabin, and she demands that they leave their weapons outside if they want to take shelter in her home.

My initial reaction was that I was not going to be able to tolerate Linda Hamilton speaking German (followed by her German accent, after they switched to English), but the movie deals with many of the difficult realities of war, despite a feeling of being unrealistic. My understanding, however, is that it's based on a true story (which has already been brought to the screen multiple times), but either way, it deals with the fact that wars are fought by guys on both sides that just want to survive and go home safely to their families.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie shows the soldiers on both sides compiling all the food they have on them in preparation for their first meal together. It's a perfect way to humanize a bunch of guys with guns, especially when one of the German soldiers has a small package of cookies that his wife made him. A doting wife baking cookies is not exactly the kind of image that Hollywood has taught us to associate with the soldiers of Nazi Germany, but it is undeniably true.

Essentially the movie is the story of a small group of "enemies" in World War II who decided to make a temporary truce with each other in honor of Christmas Day. This is a premise fraught with potential pitfalls, but by staying away from confectionery clichés it manages to come across as a disarming analysis of the politicians that create wars and the young men that fight them.
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7/10
A WW2 Christmas movie -based on real events
juneebuggy21 November 2014
This was pretty good, a Christmas movie without all the commercialism and clichés. I liked how this started out in modern times with a grandfather telling his story and then we see him as a young boy with his mother during WW2.

He and his mother (played by a mostly German speaking and almost unrecognizable Linda Hamilton) have taken refuge in a cabin which is invaded by American and then German soldiers. She persuades them to lay down their weapons and break bread together, pooling their meager rations for a Christmas eve feast.

This did come across a bit far fetched at times, in regards to how quickly the men said "okay" to leaving their guns outside and bonding over pineapple pudding but on the same note they ended up having a lot in common. The 15 year old German boy-soldier was particularly heart wrenching. This has been based on real events which makes me like it even more. Rough time in history for so many people. 12.26.13
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10/10
Absolutely excellent!
jcarter-19 December 2007
A true Christmas season treat, this story is compelling and powerful. The acting is wonderful! All the characters are believable and their interactions are subtle and always convincing. So often, TV uses sleazy situation comedy, me-too Mafia characters or yet another tale of crime, drugs and exaggerated family melodrama. This honest and unsparing look at real people caught in the last stages of a terrible war that has torn their lives apart uses no such cheap tricks.

Yes, their personal circumstances are a tad difficult to believe here and there, and yes, a viewer does have to suspend disbelief. But I think most viewers would willingly accept these limitations because the story is so good.

Especially in the Christmas season, a beautiful and uplifting drama like this about the best in human nature is a reminder that in expert hands, television drama can still be first-rate theater. Highly recommended!
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