A biography of Hildegard Knef, one of Germany's biggest post-war stars.



(autobiography), (screenplay)
4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Homevideo (TV Movie 2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Shy, sensitive gymnasium (high school)-outsider Jakob Moormann is miserably lacking immaterial support at home, where his strict father, uniformed cop Claas, and selfish mother are too busy... See full summary »

Director: Kilian Riedhof
Stars: Jonas Nay, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Nicole Marischka
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As Tobias, a young director, supposes that his girl-friend Ellen had an affair with his brother Markus, front man of "Hansen", one year ago, he decides to shoot a documentary about the ... See full summary »

Director: Lars Kraume
Stars: Florian Lukas, Jürgen Vogel, Heike Makatsch
Shallow (2012)
Short | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When newly elected MP Richard Dove runs over a young girl on a deserted forest road he fatally decides to bury her in the woods and save his blossoming career. But when he returns to his ... See full summary »

Director: William Bridges
Stars: Amelia Beney, Emily Bruni, Dan Stevens
Naked (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

After Emilia (Heike Makatsch) and Felix (Benno Fürmann) broke up, Charlotte (Nina Hoss) and Dylan (Mehmet Kurtulus) think about to disperse too... See full synopsis »

Director: Doris Dörrie
Stars: Heike Makatsch, Benno Fürmann, Alexandra Maria Lara
Capelli Code (TV Series 2016)
Action | Drama | Mystery
Stars: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Heike Makatsch, Iris Berben
About a Girl (2014)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Charleen, 15, quick-witted and sassy, is Kurt Cobain's biggest fan and wonders why 'growing up' has to be so complicated. One day, feeling especially melodramatic and rebellious, she ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Monheim
Stars: Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Heike Makatsch, Aurel Manthei
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A true tale of love, liberty and scandal amongst the Edwardian artists' colony in Cornwall

Director: Christopher Menaul
Stars: Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning, Dan Stevens
Stereo (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The appearance of a mysterious, hooded man evokes Erik's sinister past.

Director: Maximilian Erlenwein
Stars: Jürgen Vogel, Moritz Bleibtreu, Petra Schmidt-Schaller
Margarete Steiff (TV Movie 2005)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Based on the life of German toymaker Margarete Steiff, the movie shows her long way from a 10-year-old girl, confined to a wheelchair, to one of the first and most successful creators of toy stuffed animals.

Director: Xaver Schwarzenberger
Stars: Heike Makatsch, Felix Eitner, Hary Prinz
Tannbach (TV Mini-Series 2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A story of one village in Germany at the end of WW2.

Stars: Heiner Lauterbach, Natalia Wörner, Senta Auth
Permission (2017)
Comedy | Romance

A woman on the brink of a marriage proposal is told by a friend that she should date other men before spending the rest of her life with her boyfriend.

Director: Brian Crano
Stars: Dan Stevens, Rebecca Hall, Jason Sudeikis
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

North London Book of The Dead is a comic story of loss and acceptance, coupled with a surreal vision of the afterlife, based on a Will Self short story. Grown man, W, struggles to come to ... See full summary »

Director: Jake Lushington
Stars: Ben Caplan, Elizabeth Counsell, Ed Gaughan


Cast overview, first billed only:
David Cameron
Monica Bleibtreu ...
Else Bongers
Hanns Zischler ...
Erich Pommer
Johanna Gastdorf ...
Frieda Knef
Kurt Hirsch
Michael Gwisdek ...
Roger Cicero ...
Ricci Blum
Anian Zollner ...
Ewald von Demandowsky
Boleslaw Barlog
David O. Selznick
Fritz Roth ...
Hary Prinz ...
Willi Forst
Jeroen Willems ...
Anatole Litvak
Marlon van den Boogaard ...


A biography of Hildegard Knef, one of Germany's biggest post-war stars.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Music


See all certifications »




| | |

Release Date:

12 March 2009 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Hilde - Aru joyû no hikari to kage  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


Heike Makatsch originally had to back out of the project due to her pregnancy in 2006. But, pre-production was then delayed and she was eventually able to take the lead part. See more »


The scene where Hilde is entering the "Selznick International Pictures" is set in 1948 and the "Hollywood"-sign is visible in the background. In 1948 the sign should have said "Hollywoodland". The "LAND"-part has been deleted in 1949. See more »


Features Auschwitz (1945) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A German La Vie en Rose & a performance to die for
23 April 2009 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

Hildegard Knef (1925–2002) was many things – Broadway star, songstress, screen diva, international icon and bestselling author. In this compelling biography Heike Makatsch gives a knockout performance as Knef, who walked out of the rubble of post-war Berlin and embarked on a career so amazing it could only be true. Infamous for appearing in the first nude scene in German cinema (in "Die Sünderin", 1951) and called 'the best singer without a voice' by Ella Fitzgerald, Knef's adventures in Hollywood, on Broadway and back home in her beloved Germany is the stuff of showbiz legend.

So reads the blurb for the 2009 Audi German Film Festival and about 200 to 300 of us were lucky enough last night to attend 1 of 2 screenings in Melbourne of the "version originale" as the French would say.. original German language with English sub titles. Before the 8.15pm performance the cinema foyer was fairly buzzing and alive with a very good vibe as keen German film fans, some German by birth queued up for the 8:15pm session.

This is a bio pic or is it a bio epic painted with a very broad and polished brush starting out where we find Hilde caught up in WW2 as a budding actress in war torn Berlin. It's here she meets characters like her early directors and the lady from the acting school who are in her life for many years to come. From the early 1940s the film takes us through her life and career, relationships, a time in Hollywood for the next 40 years up until about 1970. At the close of the film other later facets and highlights of Hilde's life are covered by text before the closing credits.

Hers is a very full and interesting life and surely lead actress Heike Makatash was born to play this role. Without the need to physically transform like Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose, Heike is truly luminous here. I was going to say initially Heike was a little like Angelina Jolie physically except with a lot more warmth and perhaps a stronger looking body (and one to die in some scenes) But as one comment here in the boards states Heike looks very much like Jeri Ryan http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005394/ whose around the same age and born in Munich.

Production values and the quality of the screenplay here are first class. It's intelligent, well written and covers a multitude of themes. Too many perhaps to fully absorb in a single viewing. At 136 minutes it's not a short film and perhaps like a lot of modern films (Australia comes to mind) a short intermission would have help. Perhaps the point for such a break would have been at the conclusion of WW2.

But truly we have a top quality performance here and film making, sets and locations and recreations of the period of a very high degree and quality. Not being familiar with the real Hilde it's difficult to say how close Heike got so the question may remain was it the actress who appealed, the character she played or both. At this stage lets stay both. Once again whether Heike did the vocals I'm not sure. Mention should be made of her early male piano/vocal accompanist.. some very nice duo and solo work here.

(Postscript - taking a quick look online after writing this review the resemblance to the real Hilde is remarkable. The real Hildes vocals seem somewhat more husky than in the film. The real Hilde was a stunning beauty in some of the black and white stillshots I found online)

Digressing France have done Piaf (1916-1953), German have done Hilde proud (1925-2002). Can someone in France please do the same for the late great Yvonne Printemps (1894-1977) to complete the trio. To quote the NY (New York) mag "Printemps was one of France's great vocal originals, who flourished in the music hall, operetta, film, and, apparently, the bedroom during the first half of the last century. Her singular voice, seductive presence, piquant style, and sheer joy of performing can still be relished on CD reissues and in several movies—watch Les Trois Valses of 1938 and try to resist her". Hear, hear!

French actress Catherine Frot would be my pick to perhaps play Printemps in her 50s.

Meantime I hope Hilde gets a wide distribution so the good work of Heike, the other actors and the production team can be fully appreciated by a wider audience for this flagship German film production.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
International release? plod13
Trailer! clivy
Short commentary on 'Hilde' in English clivy
Car scene? zxtrueb
Discuss Hilde (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: