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Downfall (2004)
"Der Untergang" (original title)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  8 April 2005 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 223,660 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 552 user | 190 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

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(screenplay), (book), 2 more credits »
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Top 250 #117 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Matthias Habich ...
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Michael Mendl ...
André Hennicke ...
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Birgit Minichmayr ...
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Justus von Dohnányi ...
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Storyline

In April of 1945, Germany stands at the brink of defeat with the Soviet Armies closing in from the west and south. In Berlin, capital of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler proclaims that Germany will still achieve victory and orders his Generals and advisers to fight to the last man. "Downfall" explores these final days of the Reich, where senior German leaders (such as Himmler and Goring) began defecting from their beloved Fuhrer, in an effort to save their own lives, while still others (Joseph Goebbels) pledge to die with Hitler. Hitler, himself, degenerates into a paranoid shell of a man, full of optimism one moment and suicidal depression the next. When the end finally does comes, and Hitler lies dead by his own hand, what is left of his military must find a way to end the killing that is the Battle of Berlin, and lay down their arms in surrender. Written by Anthony Hughes {husnock31@hotmail.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

April 1945, a nation awaits its...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

8 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Downfall  »

Box Office

Budget:

€13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$210,232 (Austria) (17 September 2004)

Gross:

$1,288,633 (Brazil) (8 July 2005)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruno Ganz practiced Adolf Hitler's distinct Austrian accent with the help of a young actor from Hitler's area in Upper Austria. See more »

Goofs

When Magda Goebbels is laying the playing-cards on the table, there is a cut which makes her repeat placing the last card in the row. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Traudl Junge: I've got the feeling that I should be angry with this child, this young and oblivious girl. Or that I'm not allowed to forgive her for not seeing the nature of that monster. That she didn't realise what she was doing. And mostly because I've gone so obliviously. Because I wasn't a fanatic Nazi. I could have said in Berlin, "No, I'm not doing that. I don't want to go the Führer's headquarters." But I didn't do that. I was too curious. I didn't realise that fate would lead me ...
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Crazy Credits

After the final credits there is a statement by the real Traudl Jung about her feelings of guilt and responsibility. In the British Cinema release, this is moved to before the credits. See more »

Connections

Edited from Blind Spot. Hitler's Secretary (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Davon geht die Welt nicht unter
(Michael Jary / Bruno Balz)
© 1942 by Ufaton-Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
Performed by Zarah Leander
Courtesy of BMG Music Publishing Germany, Munich
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The last days at the bunker
19 March 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This magnificent film goes where no one else dared to go to show us the last days of Adolf Hitler. The director, Oliver Hirshbiegel, working with a big cast, brings to life the madness of the last days of the monster, as observed by a young and impressionable secretary who witnessed most of the crisis.

At the beginning of the film we watch as five young women are brought to be interviewed by Hitler for a job as his personal secretary. Young Traudl Junge is selected. She is a pretty woman who is naive in many ways and probably had no inkling about the trip she was going to embark.

The film captures the tragic figure of Hitler as everything is caving in on him and his grand plans for victory. We watch a man at the beginning of the film that is still thinking he is in command of the German forces, but his authority has eroded, as it becomes clear to the people under him the war is lost and it will be a matter of time before they are defeated.

We watch the life of privilege the higher ups led inside the bunker. It was a fortification in which all comforts the regular Germans could not imagine existed. We get to know the people in Hitler's inner circle. The Goebbels, both Joseph and Magda, supporters of the regime, maintain the loyalty to the Fuhrer until the end. The scene where Magda Goebbels murders her children is hard to take and we keep sinking in our seats, as we can't believe such cruelty existed. In her narrow view of things, Magda must take her family with her to a death these children didn't deserve.

The film is totally dominated by Bruno Ganz. As Hitler, he makes us see this man as he probably was in real life. Mr. Ganz's uncanny resemblance with Hitler is what makes the film works the way it does. At times, Mr. Ganz is totally irrational, and at times, he is presented as a lost man who can't see what he has done to Germany and to Europe and the world.

As Traudl Junge, the young secretary, Alexandra Maria Lara gives a subtle performance. She saw plenty inside the bunker and lived to tell it to the world. The other excellent performance is given by Corinna Harfouch, who as Mrs. Goebbels makes us cringe in horror because of what she is capable of doing. Juliane Kohler, as Eva Braun, is an enigma. At times, she is presented as a carefree young woman who might have loved Hitler. Yet, we don't ever know what made this Eva Braun tick. Ulrich Matthes as Joseph Goebbels and Heino Ferch as Albert Speer are equally effective playing these two men.

The director and his team have to be congratulated for taking us on a voyage to see the last moments of the Third Reich.


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