Der Untergang
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FAQ for
Downfall (2004) More at IMDbPro »Der Untergang (original title)

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Der Untergang can be found here.

German film producer Bernd Eichinger wrote the screenplay for Der Untergang [Downfall], which was based on several books, most notably Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich (2002) by German historian Joachim Fest [1926-2006]. Other literary influences included (1) Until the Final Hour (2002), an autobiography written by Adolf Hitler's personal secretary Traudl Junge [1920-2002] with author Melissa Mller, (2) Hitler's Last Days: An Eye-Witness Account by Gerhardt Boldt [1918-1981], an officer in the German Army (3), Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer [1905-1981], Hitler's chief architect, and (4) Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 by Siegfried Knappe, another officer in the German army who was stationed near the Fhrerbunker.

Hitler was just under 5′9″ (1.75 meters), supposedly, when measured by the Austrian army in 1914. In 1945, which is much later, he was most likely shorter. According to some sources, he was measured at 5′7″ (1.70 meters); later in life. While slightly above average for his time, he was not a tall man.

Frederick II, King of Prussia (1740-1786), aka Frederick the Great. Prussia was a German kingdom with Berlin as its capital. It achieved many military victories, which inspired Hitler. About 200 years before (during the Seven Years' War) Frederick the Great was in a very similar situation as Hitler. Frederick was fighting a war against an overwhelming coalition of great powers—Austria, Russia and France—with the UK as his only ally. He was on the edge of total defeat, until suddenly the empress of Russia died and the anti-Prussian coalition collapsed. The US President Franklin Roosevelt also died when Nazi Germany was on the the edge of defeat. When Hitler looked at Frederick's painting, he was probably hoping for the same kind of miracle.

Viewers who have seen Der Untergang have also recommended Stalin (1992) and The Inner Circle (1991), both about Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and The Last King of Scotland (2006), about Ugandan President Idi Amin. The latter portion of the biopic TV miniseries Il giovane Mussolini (1993) may be of interest.

In contrast to various other extended versions Der Untergang earns a lot of profit from the additional scenes. Exactly the relation between the happenings in the bunker and the outside are now a way better balanced. Added with lots of new sequences, the odyssey of Peter and the longer decampment through the bombed Berlin show more clearly how the civilians felt during the last days of war and the helplessness of the officers who try to think about a future civil life. Inside the bunker, Gbbels' children are more examined which helps to explain his oldest daughter's reaction. Various other sequences are actually just a makeover and don't contribute to the movie. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.


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