Before the Fall (2004)
"Napola - Elite für den Führer" (original title)

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In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonas Jägermeyr ...
Christoph Schneider
Leon A. Kersten ...
Tjaden (as Leon Alexander Kersten)
Thomas Drechsel ...
Florian Stetter ...
Joachim Bißmeier ...
Michael Schenk ...
Justus von Dohnányi ...
Gauleiter Heinrich Stein (as Justus von Dohnàny and Justus von Dohnányi)
Frau Stein
Katharina (as Julie Marie Engelbrecht)
Johannes Zirner ...
Torben Send
Alexander Held ...
Friedrichs Vater


In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich enrolls, seeing this as his ticket out of factory life to university and a good salary. During his year in seventh column (fifth form), this innocence is altered as Friedrich encounters hazing, cruelty, death, and the Nazi code. His friendship with Albrecht, the ascetic son of the area's governor, is central to this education; a night in the forest hunting for escaped Russian POWs brings things to a head. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Men Make History. We Make The Men.


Drama | Sport | War


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 January 2005 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Before the Fall  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$8,036 (USA) (7 October 2005)


$144,065 (USA) (19 May 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dennis Gansel:  as Friedrich's boxing trainer. See more »


During Friedrich's glider flight, his helmet is securely strapped at the start but is shown unstrapped a few seconds later. He kept both hands on the glider's yoke. See more »


Albrecht Stein: [reading from his essay] "As childish as it sounds, the winter time and the sight of freshly fallen snow always fill us with inexplicable joy. Perhaps because as children, we associated it with Christmas. I always imagine myself the hero who killed dragons, rescued virgins, and freed the world from evil. As we went out yesterday to find the prisoners, I felt like that little boy who wanted to save the world."
Vogler: Albrecht, stop.
Albrecht Stein: But as we returned, I understood that I am part of the evil that I ...
See more »


Featured in 2006 Glitter Awards (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

A great film, meaningful, deeply moving emotionally
20 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film which depicts an elite Nazi teenage male youth training facility takes place in Germany during 1941 or 1942. Students are being trained to become future leaders after Germany wins the war. Much of the training is brutal. Students are taught to win regardless of any pain that their actions might cause their fellow man - whether friend or foe, fellow countryman or enemy. The film tells how the students accept or reject their training and the consequences of their decisions/indecisions.

I saw this film at the 2005 Palm Springs International Film Festival at a "Best of Fest" special showing. It certainly should be a candidate for an academy nomination as "Best Foreign Language Film" but I do not know if it has a distributor for North America. It reminded me somewhat of a 2003 Palm Springs festival entry - EVIL/ONDSKAN (Dir. Mikael Hafstrom/Sweden) - which also packed an emotional kick in the gut that left me stuck in my seat for at least five minutes after the film had ended. Napola is the better of the two films by far. Great acting, script, direction, music, etc. See it on a big cinema screen if at all possible since film makes great use of the colors that will not have a similar impact in a video format.

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