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The Ritchie Boys (2004)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 200 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 8 user | 12 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

During WWII, the U.S. formed an elite intelligence unit -- mostly German Jewish academics -- at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. Tasked with devising ways to break the morale of the SS, these men ... See full summary »

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Title: The Ritchie Boys (2004)

The Ritchie Boys (2004) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Michael Hanrahan ...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Werner Angress ...
Himself
Victor Brombert ...
Himself
...
Herself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Philip Glaessner ...
Himself
Hans Peter Hallwachs ...
Narrator (voice)
Fred Howard ...
Himself
Si Lewen ...
Himself
Thomas Mann ...
Himself (archive footage)
Rudy Michaels ...
Himself
Morris Parloff ...
Himself
Richard Schifter ...
Himself
Hans Spear ...
Himself
Guy Stern ...
Himself
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Storyline

During WWII, the U.S. formed an elite intelligence unit -- mostly German Jewish academics -- at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. Tasked with devising ways to break the morale of the SS, these men are often credited with bringing an early end to the war. Some of these heroes, who are now in the eighties, are reunited in this documentary. Written by IMDb Editors

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Release Date:

13 February 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ritchie Boys  »

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(archive footage)|

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1.85 : 1
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Trivia

Christian Bauer was only able to fund this movie after making Missing Allen: The Man Who Became a Camera (2002). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
title cards: Between 1933 and 1939, countless Germans, Austrians, and Czechoslovakians flee their home countries. For them, a visa to the United States is the most valuable document in the world.
Guy Stern: I emigrated to America in October 1939. Germany permitted people like myself to leave, provided you didn't have very much. We arrived in New York with $3 - my mother had $3 and I had $3. America was a fantasy at that point, which turned out to be a reality.
Guy Stern: [lecturing] Who were the first ones who did ...
[...]
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User Reviews

A Largely Unknown WWII Story
12 July 2010 | by (Washington, D.C.) – See all my reviews

"The Ritchie Boys" were a group of young refugees from Hitler's Europe pressed into service because of their language skills by U.S. Army intelligence. Unless you knew one of them (I knew at least two), it's unlikely you would be aware of the critical contribution this operation made to the American war effort. Indeed, if the documentary film is accurate, the Battle of the Bulge -- Hitler's last desperate effort to break through Allied encirclement == could have been foiled before it began, because the Ritchie Boys had collected intelligence about the massing of German troops prior to the offensive.

All of the Ritchie Boys interviewed for this film were Jews. Each had a personal stake in the war. And each had the personal satisfaction of interrogating enemy soldiers in their own language and extracting information through techniques learned at Camp Ritchie, MD, which contributed important, often crucial intelligence about the actions and plans of the foe.

The interviews were conducted roughly 60 years after the fact, and the reliability of memories may be questionable. Film clips, many documenting events not quite related to the narrative, comprise the rest of the film. Missing entirely is any real overview of the Camp Ritchie enterprise. Nevertheless, the individuals interviewed have compelling personal stories to tell -- both why and how they came to the U.S. and what they did during the war.

It's a fascinating group of people in or approaching their 80's: professors, an American diplomat, a distinguished psychologist, an artist, a successful businessman, reliving their experiences for the camera, acknowledging both the pain of separation from their childhood homes and their satisfaction at having given something extremely useful back to the country which had taken them in. Unlikely soldiers to be sure but youngsters with precious knowledge that the United States put to effective use. One would have liked to know more about how it came to be organized and what happened to all the other Ritchie Boys who weren't "available" to be interviewed because they died on the field of battle.


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