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Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

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In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazi judges for war crimes.

Director:

Stanley Kramer

Writers:

Abby Mann, Abby Mann (based on his original story by)
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Popularity
4,424 ( 55)
Top Rated Movies #135 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Chief Judge Dan Haywood
Burt Lancaster ... Dr. Ernst Janning
Richard Widmark ... Col. Tad Lawson
Marlene Dietrich ... Mrs. Bertholt
Maximilian Schell ... Hans Rolfe
Judy Garland ... Irene Hoffman
Montgomery Clift ... Rudolph Petersen
William Shatner ... Capt. Harrison Byers
Werner Klemperer ... Emil Hahn
Kenneth MacKenna ... Judge Kenneth Norris
Torben Meyer ... Werner Lampe
Joseph Bernard Joseph Bernard ... Maj. Abe Radnitz
Alan Baxter ... Brig. Gen. Matt Merrin
Edward Binns ... Sen. Burkette
Virginia Christine ... Mrs. Halbestadt
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Storyline

It has been three years since the most important Nazi leaders had already been tried. This trial is about 4 judges who used their offices to conduct Nazi sterilization and cleansing policies. Retired American judge, Dan Haywood has a daunting task ahead of him. The Cold War is heating up and no one wants any more trials as Germany, and Allied governments, want to forget the past. But is that the right thing to do is the question that the tribunal must decide. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The event the world will never forget. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

18 December 1961 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

El juicio de Nuremberg See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,000,000, 31 December 1961

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,000,000, 31 December 1961
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Roxlom Films Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Westrex)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burt Lancaster was paid 750,000 dollars for his part, Spencer Tracy earned 400,000 dollars, and Montgomery Clift reputedly did his role for free. See more »

Goofs

Mr. Wallner complains to Lawson about being disturbed "in the middle of the night", but when Lawson is shown approaching and entering the Wallner home, it is clearly in full daylight. See more »

Quotes

Hans Rolfe: I'll make you a wager...
Judge Dan Haywood: I don't make wagers.
Hans Rolfe: [chuckles] A gentleman's wager... in five years, the men you sentenced to life imprisonment will be free.
Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Rolfe, I have admired your work in the court for many months. You are particularly brilliant in your use of logic...
[Rolfe nods with an appreciative smile]
Judge Dan Haywood: -so, what you suggest may very well happen. It *is* logical, in view of the times in which we live. *But to be logical is not to be right*, and *nothing* on God's earth could ever *make ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Feud: And the Winner Is... (The Oscars of 1963) (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13
(1798) (uncredited)
By Ludwig van Beethoven
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Revelation of Horror
25 February 2001 | by buckboardSee all my reviews

This is a fine film by a fine director, but I can only hope that Stanley Kramer, in committing to full length film a television story, knew at heart the message his movie was trying to say. Because this is truly a message movie, for all mankind, but if the reviews I've read on this site are any indication, the message has been lost to some degree.

I've entitled my review "Revelation of Horror", but the horror revealed was not the Holocaust. That had already been revealed, although Kramer's film certainly lent its emotional impact. The revelation was a deep, true insight into how it happened, and the horror is that it happened in a civilized country. Few on this earth can imagine the true horror of Nazi Germany--I've read criticism of Widmark's Colonel Lawson as too preachy, but the character and the acting conveyed the mission of one who actually saw the horrors, beyond any scope we can identify with.

Kramer's achievement is that everything in this movie reminds us that the Nazi's used every facet of civilization, no matter how minute, to foster their extermination of their enemies, to inculcate it as an ordinary part of life. That was why judges were chosen to portray the issue of "obeying orders" versus "human decency." Herr Rolf is "forced" to defend the worst criminals imaginable, and yet his very defense and the principles behind it are abused in the process, used as a weapon against the very law they represent. Thus did the Nazis prevail with the willing acquiescence of the German people, and the abominable disregard of the rest of the world.

The other horror revealed in this film is the incessant excusing of it. Beyond the obvious pleas of the guilty ("We didn't know", or as one judge says to another, "Was it possible to kill like that?") are the multiplicity of subtle excuses: the reminder of centuries' old German culture, Rolf's plaintive cry of "unfairness" at the showing of the death camp films because of their inflammatory nature, the invocation of "Lili Marlene" throughout the film, to name just a few. While the song evokes sadness, a guilty German society meant for it to invoke sadness. Long before Germany had its country destroyed by bombs, it had its soul destroyed by Hitler.

Because this is a courtroom drama, respecting the sacred role of the Rule of Law in safeguarding humanity, almost every scene, every line is a statement that Nazi Germany perverted the Rule of Law, as did the very defense of the war criminals. But what is principle on a small scale of a single man being judged by society becomes outrage when used to defend the indefensible on an impossibly massive scale. Tracy's character at the film's end has a realization that this is so, as well as an awareness that what happened in Germany during the Third Reich was an Aristotelian tragedy for anyone touched by it, even remotely, so that any personal considerations (such as Mrs. Berthold) are made utterly impossible.

Rolf's speech about the guilty responsibility of the rest of the world was valid--but he was indicting the world to save one man. Where have we heard that in our own time? This quality about "Judgment at Nuremburg" makes its message forever fresh--and its warnings.


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