7.5/10
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8 user 6 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:

See all certifications »
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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, Konrad Wolf had planned to elaborate more on the Soviet's abuse of German women. In the final script, only a small hint at this problem was included: a woman seeking safety in Greogor's commanding headquarters reasons "rather with one of them than with all of them." Considering the strong censorship common to the GDR in those days, this was nevertheless a bold and effective decision by Wolf. See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Good but not Great
7 October 2009 | by RichardvonLustSee all my reviews

The main problem with Ich war 19 is that glosses over several essential realities. It seems like a Soviet propaganda movie trying to white wash the past. The invasion of Germany by Soviet troops in 1944/5 was nothing short of barbaric. 18 million people were driven from their ancestral lands - over 2 million civilians were brutally murdered. More than a million POW's were liquidated and another 2 million Ukrainians, Poles and White Russians of German descent were also exterminated by the Soviets.

The landscape was almost completely destroyed by allied bombing and soviet artillery. 80% of the buildings were destroyed. Women (and boys) were frequently raped on the spot. The boys were lucky - they were invariably bayoneted after-wards - but the women were passed to next comrade. Of course we can argue that this was justified because of the Holocaust and the German barbarism in Russia and Poland. But women and children?

The film does not even suggest this was happening. It represents the war as a sort of part time activity in which a few unlucky people got killed. The buildings are all intact. The people all look well fed. The faces look completely undramatized. It doesn't bring home the reality of truth.

1945 was truly horrific for everyone between Berlin and Konigsberg (Kaliningrad)It is an indelible scar on the memory of everyone old enough to remember it. This film does not convey that horror.


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