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Downfall (2004)

Der Untergang (original title)
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.

Writers:

(screenplay), (book) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
950 ( 119)

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Top Rated Movies #119 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Michael Mendl ...
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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  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

€13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$5,501,940 (USA) (10 June 2005)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The April 23, 1945 telegram that Hitler received from Goering indicating that he was planning to announce himself head of state under the assumption that Hitler was incapacitated, had been taken prisoner, or was dead, was sold at auction in July 2015 for $55,000 US dollars. The document had a history of its own, passing first into the hands of US Army Captain Benjamin Bradin in 1945, after Bradin took it off of a desk as he was collecting war souvenirs from the Hitler Bunker. It later passed into the hands of Bradin's son, who then gave it as a present to a professor at the Citadel Military College of South Carolina. That professor in turn gave it to another student who ultimately sold it in 2015. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where SS officer Fegelein is executed for treason and desertion, no bullet wounds or blood appear on his uniform when the machine pistol's bullets hit him. Also, the weapon does not eject any empty cartridge cases while it is being fired. 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

Featured in Auge in Auge - Eine deutsche Filmgeschichte (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

When I Am Laid In Earth
from "Dido and Aeneas"
Composed by Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Arranged by Horst Liebenau and Stephan Zacharias
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A truer rendition of Hitler I've never seen...

Not since perhaps Rod Steiger's portrayal of Benito Mussolini in Moustapha Akkad's LION OF THE DESERT (1980) have I seen a notorious dictator more realistically acted than Bruno Ganz's stunning display as "Der Fuerer" in The Downfall (2004).

Sitting amongst a full-house of patrons here at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival's 2004 edition, Ganz captivated the local audience with the scariest Hitler I've ever seen up on the silver screen -- better than Noah Taylor's English Hitler in MAX just a couple of years back.

Audience members get a glimpse into the final days of Hitler's rule from the bunker deep beneath the Reich Chancellery in Nazi Berlin's dying days. The defeated spirit of the Nazis -- covered extensively in the history books -- has seldomly been more penetratingly shown on the Big Screen. Bravo to director Oliver Hirschbiegel for doing this the right (German) way -- for intrepidly tackling a period piece few German producers might.

I'd had a chance to chat with the actors post-screening, with lead actress Alexandra Maria Lara (playing Traudl Junge) candidly admitting the sheer amount of work she'd diligently invested in bringing her character to life -- doubtless complicated by the death of Frau Junge in 2002. Her research, however, was clearly impeccable and left no stone unturned. Corinna Harfouch wasn't on hand -- as Magda Goebbels. Pity because in many respects, she convincingly stole the show.

So rarely do we see Hitler on screen in modern days to allow us a glimpse into the horrifying nature of a madman bent on global domination. We all know the end of this story, but seldom does a film so masterfully suspend your disbelief than does The Downfall in making you wonder just how the Third Reich might end. Historical fiction might never be the same.


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