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The Great Cattle War (1920)

Der Ochsenkrieg (original title)
A power struggle between mountain peasants who have been raising milk cows on common land and a village bailiff trying to gain power driving them off the land. Both have a ducal documents that states the opposite.


Franz Osten


Ludwig Ganghofer (novel), Franz Osten


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Credited cast:
Thea Steinbrecher Thea Steinbrecher ... Jula
Viktor Gehring Viktor Gehring ... Chorherr Aschacher
Ernst Rückert Ernst Rückert ... Lampert
Fritz Greiner Fritz Greiner ... Richtmann Runotter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carl Dalmonico Carl Dalmonico
Lia Eibenschütz Lia Eibenschütz
Curt Gerdes Curt Gerdes ... Malimmes
Fritz Kampers
Katharina Schratt
Hans Schwarze Hans Schwarze
Thelma Votipka Thelma Votipka
Toni Wittels Toni Wittels


A power struggle between mountain peasants who have been raising milk cows on common land and a village bailiff trying to gain power driving them off the land. Both have a ducal documents that states the opposite.

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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »









Release Date:

17 October 1920 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Cattle War See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Received a 2K digital restoration in 2018 from the Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum using the two surviving copies of the film, a shortened roadshow version entitled "Der Schiedsmann von Berchtesgaden" ("The Judge of Berchtesgaden") and an American print entitled "The Great Cattle War". The state of the copies entailed that it was impossible to restore certain scenes to their original aspect. The original film had a length of 1883 meters while the restoration's is 1709 meters. See more »


When Runotter is apprehended while mourning the death of his son, his hands are being bound. Between shots, his hands appear right above the head of his son's dead body in the extreme close up. In the total, he stands farther away from his son. See more »


Remade as Der Ochsenkrieg: Episode #1.1 (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

peasants versus thugs
10 October 2018 | by kekseksaSee all my reviews

This historical epic of sorts is remarkable for the extent to which it foreshadows many of the genres and themes that would be important in German film not only in the twenties but in he thirties too and even post-war - the legendfilm, the "heimat" film, even the "mountain film", "blut und boden". The film, set in the fifteenth century, is in part set in Bechtersgarten where Hitler would later make his home and of course these genres and themes would be dear to National Socialists in the same way they were to Germans of all creeds and credoes but, before one supposes, like the egregious Krachauer, that all films made in the Weimar Republic lead to Hitler, it is a film about popular resistance to those in power who believe that might is right. It is true that many in Bavaria who supported Hitler and his thugs at this time (just three years before the beerhall putsch), may have believed they were supporting such a resistance movement but a closer look would have told them where the resembance really lay....

The director, Franz Ostem did join the Nazi party in 1936, by which time he was in India making the films for Himanshu Rai's Bombay talkies (prounce "takis") for which he is probably now best known. The paramilitary Hindutva movement Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, founded in 1927 and still very much around, bore a close resemblance to the European fascist movements but Osten's best known film from the thirties, Achyut Kannya (1936) contains a powerful critique of the Hindu caste system.

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