Up 14 this week

The White Ribbon (2009)
"Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  5 March 2010 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 50,111 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 188 user | 288 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?



, (story)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 54 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Bénichou
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel
Amour (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert
Funny Games (1997)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After the death of his mother, a man tries to discover a meaning to his life, to the universe and to rebuild a relationship with the only family he has left: his brother.

Director: Robert Lepage
Stars: Robert Lepage, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Marco Poulin
Congorama (2006)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An eccentric Belgian inventor travels to Québec to search for his family, which uncovers a secret history between two seemingly unrelated people.

Director: Philippe Falardeau
Stars: Olivier Gourmet, Paul Ahmarani, Jean-Pierre Cassel
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young journalist (Lespert) helps the French President compile his memoirs.

Director: Robert Guédiguian
Stars: Michel Bouquet, Jalil Lespert, Philippe Fretun
Uranus (1990)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After World War II, a small French village struggles to put the war behind as the controlling Communist Party tries to flush out Petain loyalists. The local bar owner, a simple man who ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Berri
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Gérard Depardieu, Michel Blanc
The Novena (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Bernard Émond
Stars: Elise Guilbault, Patrick Drolet, Marie-Josée Bastien
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
Stars: Marthe Nadeau, J. Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The wife of photographer J.A. Martin decides to go with him in his tour of the hard Canadian countryside at the turn of the century. She hopes the intimacy will revive their marriage.

Director: Jean Beaudin
Stars: Marcel Sabourin, Monique Mercure, Marthe Thierry
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An emotionally immature underwater photographer returns home to an affair with his best friend's deaf girlfriend and unresolved issues with the wife he left six months before.

Director: André Turpin
Stars: David La Haye, Isabelle Blais, Emmanuel Bilodeau


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernst Jacobi ...
Fion Mutert ...
Michael Kranz ...
The Pastor (as Burghart Klaussner)
Steffi Kühnert ...
Maria-Victoria Dragus ...
Levin Henning ...
Johanna Busse ...
Josef Bierbichler ...


From July, 1913 to the outbreak of World War I, a series of incidents take place in a German village. A horse trips on a wire and throws the rider; a woman falls to her death through rotted planks; the local baron's son is hung upside down in a mill; parents slap and bully their children; a man is cruel to his long-suffering lover; another sexually abuses his daughter. People disappear. A callow teacher, who courts a nanny in the baron's household, narrates the story and tries to investigate the connections among these accidents and crimes. What is foreshadowed? Are the children holy innocents? God may be in His heaven, but all is not right with the world; the center cannot hold. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing content involving violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |


| |

Release Date:

5 March 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The White Ribbon  »

Box Office


€12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£72,226 (UK) (13 November 2009)


$2,222,647 (USA) (28 May 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The children in the film are the generation of Germans who became Nazis. Michael Haneke has stated that while that is intentional, the ideas in the film are meant to encompass more than what lead to the rise of Nazism. See more »


The Doctor: My God, why don't you just die?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening and closing credits are shown in complete silence. There is no music or other sounds during both entire credit sequences. See more »


Referenced in DR2 Premiere: Episode #4.2 (2010) See more »


O Sacred Head Now Wounded
Lyrics from a mediaeval Latin poem
Music by Hans Leo Hassler
Sung in the church
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A careful and ambiguous analysis of evil
18 October 2009 | by (Berlin, Germany) – See all my reviews

Fans of Michael Haneke's more morally shocking films such as 'Funny Games', 'Benny's Video' or the draining 'Time of the Wolf' might find themselves surprised by the quieter and slower analysis of evil in his latest work 'Das Weisse Band'.

The action takes place in a North German village shortly before the outbreak of the First World War and in structure presents a number of subtly drawn individual characters as they are caught up in a mysterious series of violent events.

In the hands of a mere moralist this could be an unbearable few hours. But it's credit to Haneke's skill as a film-maker that we are utterly caught up and absorbed by a large cast of children and adults.

One of the on-going arguments in Haneke's films appears to be the origins of human evil, or perhaps more precisely put, individual acts of evil behaviour. Are such acts an individual's responsibility or do they spring from a climate in which particular energies are at work? This is the question Haneke appears to be exploring here (just as was a central question relating to French society in 'Cache').

One of the most disturbing things at the heart of the film is the fact that we do not know why particular acts of evil take place (including the maiming of a disabled child and the beating of a nobleman's son), or even who commits them. However, this is no 'whodunnit', although with its retrospective voice-over from the School Teacher's p.o.v. we are let to believe for a long time that were in a crime/thriller genre.

Throughout his body of work so far, Haneke has suggested that looking for the sort of easy answers films and TV all too readily supply is partly responsible for our misunderstanding how violence in society occurs. (Funny Games).

'The White Ribbon' bypasses the usual dramatical devices of motivation and blame and instead softly focuses on an environment (in this case Germany in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century) in which certain unhealthy energies are at work.

These energies include an emotionally repressed and joyless Protestantism, the mistreatment and oppression of women, the familial abuse of children, the fetishism of strong masculine and patriarchal values, and the un-breachable divide between the rich and the poor. Set over all this, like an umbrella, is the fact that the small provincial society depicted in the film is all but completely isolated from wider society.

Another poster here has pointed out that Haneke is using his village as a microcosm to reflect Germany as a whole, and I would agree with that. Haneke's Dorf, whilst having an individual character, is a relative of Von Trier's Dogville in the sense that it stands for a larger set of national values. In this respect Haneke seems to be diagnosing German society in the run up to the 'Great' War as one of authoritarianism, religious doubt, intolerance, and fear.

What is remarkable in such a film is how little human joy or love is to be found in such a seemingly idyllic rural landscape. The love strand (between the narrator Teacher and the dismissed 17 yr old children's nurse) has a rather strained aspect. It is as though the film maker is suggesting that affection might also be down to available opportunity.

One of the most moving scenes in The White Ribbon is when a young child brings his father, a Priest, a caged bird he has nursed back to health. The father's beloved pet canary was killed (by his daughter as a protest against the bleak, loveless household she's been reared in - a home in which a father shows more affection to a small bird than his own children.

Thus the scene symbolically depicts a child demonstrating the love that the parent himself is unable of showing. Tears fill the priest's eyes. It is a tiny moment of love and hope in an otherwise emotionally barren wasteland. It is also a symbol of how a new generations of Germans have dealt with, and healed, previous decades of pain.

294 of 315 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What most veiwers of this movie are not getting... belladonna99
Why is everyone missing the obvious truth about this film? namragus
why this movie is shot in Black and White? theshaileshparmar
Why didn't Eva want to have the picnic with the teacher? Voice-Of-Reason3
Do you think the girl really dreamt of the crimes? alexpan
Beautiful Metaphor. Oake
Discuss The White Ribbon (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page