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Germany Year Zero (1948)

Germania anno zero (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 19 September 1949 (USA)
A young German boy faces the problems of the tough life in the immediate post WWII Berlin.


Roberto Rossellini


Roberto Rossellini (screenplay), Roberto Rossellini (dialogue) | 3 more credits »
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Edmund Moeschke ... Edmund Köhler (as Edmund Meschke)
Ernst Pittschau Ernst Pittschau ... Herr Koehler - Il padre
Ingetraud Hinze ... Eva (as Ingetraud Hinz)
Franz-Otto Krüger Franz-Otto Krüger ... Karl-Heinz (as Franz Grüger)
Erich Gühne ... Il maestro


Edmund, a young boy who lives in war-devastated Germany after the Second World War has to do all kinds of work and tricks to help his family in getting food and barely survive. One day he meets a man who used to be one of his teachers in school and hopes to get support from him, but the ideas of this man do not lead Edmund in a clearer or safer way of living... Written by Hugo <transit@cam.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The country is obliterated, the buildings are dilapidated and the people are desolated.


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #499. See more »


Eva: You're so selfish. You don't care about getting food. You only care about eating it.
Karl-Heinz: Didn't I tell you to send Edmund to work?
Eva: You don't do anything. You just hide, and yet you want to eat and drink. You don't ask where I go every night. All that matters is that I come back with a couple of cigarettes for you.
Karl-Heinz: Did I smoke them?
Eva: No, but you know that cigarettes are like money.
Karl-Heinz: Should I thank you for that? Nowadays everybody does it.
Eva: They do worse things, too.
Karl-Heinz: You see?
Eva: Then tell me to sell myself!
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Referenced in Pierrot le Fou (1965) See more »

User Reviews

Beyond words
15 July 2013 | by RichardvonLustSee all my reviews

As a child of the post war Berlin ruins myself, I confess this film had a special relevance. But nothing could have prepared me for the sheer impact that Germany Year Zero has upon the soul. Roberto Rosselini captured a tragedy that has been largely ignored and his haunting work screams the pain of post war civilian suffering in Berlin louder than any documentary.

Not only filmed in the very streets where a million died only months before, all those appearing in Stunde Null were quite clearly living the very experience they were enacting. These were not actors. Their performances are clumsy and strained without the polish of professional training or Hollywood editing. But that was the magic of this production. This was not drama but rather a window of reality. Their faces were scarred by the terrors they had just survived and one can only wonder at their courage to enact their own daily suffering for the entertainment of others.

The essence of the plot is simple enough. It is the story of ordinary German civilians trying to survive the starvation and deprivations of 1945 Berlin. The central character is a 12 year old boy, Edmund, who has to endure anything and everything in order to provide for his family. And in the end.....

Well nobody knows what really happened to Edmund Moeschke, the ex Hitler Jugend who was playing himself. After filming the external shots in Berlin the entire cast were taken to Rome in 1946 where the interior scenes were put together. And of course most of them attempted to remain there. Edmund disappeared from history and probably met his end somewhere in the Roman streets. Certainly he has never emerged to claim the accolades that would undoubtedly be poured upon him were he to only mention his name.

But Edmund will never be forgotten because his tragic story touches the soul and speaks for millions of other youngsters who were so cruelly sacrificed in that terrible conflict. This is not a film: it is a masterpiece.

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German | English | French

Release Date:

19 September 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Germany Year Zero See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (TCM print) | (Blu-ray)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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