7.5/10
812
8 user 7 critic

I Was Nineteen (1968)

Ich war neunzehn (original title)
April 1945: Gregor Hecker, 19 years of age, reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army's scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted ... See full summary »

Director:

Konrad Wolf

Writers:

Wolfgang Kohlhaase (scenario), Gerhard Wolf (dramatisation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jaecki Schwarz ... Gregor Hecker
Vasiliy Livanov ... Wadim Gejman
Aleksey Eybozhenko ... Sascha Ziganjuk
Dieter Mann Dieter Mann ... Willi Lommer
Johannes Wieke Johannes Wieke ... Oberst Lewerenz
Rolf Hoppe ... Major Behring
Jürgen Hentsch Jürgen Hentsch ... Oberleutnant Schenk
Kalmursa Rachmanov Kalmursa Rachmanov ... Dsingis
Anatoliy Solovyov ... Starschinka
Jenny Gröllmann ... Deutsches Mädchen
Galina Polskikh ... Sowjetisches Mädchen
Mikhail Gluzskiy ... General (as Mikhail Glusski)
Otto Lang Otto Lang ... Pfarrer
Kurt Böwe Kurt Böwe ... Sturmbannführer
Klaus Manchen Klaus Manchen ... Blinder Soldat
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Storyline

April 1945: Gregor Hecker, 19 years of age, reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army's scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted with the dilemma of having to fight men from the very country he was born in. Through dealing with challenging situations (e.g. he is appointed commander of Bernau, talks to many disillusioned Germans, and is once and again attacked by scattered groups of German soldiers), he grows more confident that not all hope is lost for post-war Germany. Based on the diary entries of director Konrad Wolf, the episodic movie authentically portrays the protagonist's struggle to come to terms with his own past and identity. Written by c.winter

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film reaches a grim climax by featuring a short clip from the DEFA-documentary "Todeslager Sachsenhausen" ("Deathcamp Sachsenhausen") (1946), detailing the technical proceedings in a death-chamber. See more »

Connections

Featured in Century of Cinema: Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995) See more »

User Reviews

 
Soviet/East German propaganda, sugar coating history
27 August 2010 | by drwlsSee all my reviews

I rented this film because of an interest in German culture and history. I lived there for a while, and have a (former East-) German wife and relatives. My wife, who was 11 in 1945 when this film takes place, says that it was much worse then than the movie shows, particularly with regard to the utter devastation, starvation, and behavior of the Russian soldiers. Few women between ages of 13 and 50 escaped being raped, and most boys of her age and a bit older were taken away and never seen again. After reunification, the mass graves of many of them, killed by Russians, have been found. Her father, who was never a soldier or Nazi, was shipped off to slave labor in Kazakhstan for about ten years. In the movie, it is implied that the surrendering German soldiers were rewarded with extra food, and then sent home. Get real.

The intent of the movie, made in the GDR at a time when they were barraged with propaganda trying to make them believe that Russians were their friends, is obvious.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy watching it, because even propaganda can be interesting for what it is. (Example: Triumph of the Will, which is infinitely better than this movie). The events involving the surrender of Spandau prison to the 19 year old Russian "commandant", which may have been based on fact and the director's own experience, were of particular interest, and well dramatized.


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Details

Country:

East Germany

Language:

German | Russian

Release Date:

1 February 1968 (East Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

I Was Nineteen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film (DEFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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