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The Memory of Justice (1976)

Explores the subject of atrocities during wartime, especially during World War II and the Vietnam War.


Marcel Ophüls


Marcel Ophüls
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Yehudi Menuhin ... Self
Noël Favrelières Noël Favrelières ... Self - French Paratrooper in Algeria (as Noel Favreliere)
Anthony Herbert Anthony Herbert ... Self (as Col. Anthony Herbert)
Edward Sowders ... Self - US Deserter (as Eddie Sowder)
Telford Taylor Telford Taylor ... Self (as Gen. Telford Taylor)
Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier ... Self - Nuremberg Prosecution Witness
Robert M.W. Kempner Robert M.W. Kempner ... Self - Attorney
G.M. Gilbert G.M. Gilbert ... Self - Psychologist (as Dr. G.M. Gilbert)
Karl Dönitz ... Self
Albert Speer ... Self
Walter Warlimont Walter Warlimont ... Self (as General Walter Warlimont - OKW)
Eugen Kogon Eugen Kogon ... Self - Author
Walter Bauer Walter Bauer ... Self - Farmer
Alexander Mitscherlich Alexander Mitscherlich ... Self
Margarete Mitscherlich-Nielsen Margarete Mitscherlich-Nielsen ... Self


Explores the subject of atrocities during wartime, especially during World War II and the Vietnam War.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The film had a difficult genesis. It was originally financed in 1973 by BBC, Polytel, and a private company based in London, Visual Programme Systems (VPS), the latter of whom had wanted the film to dwell heavily on America's involvement in Vietnam and France's involvement in Algeria. After completing rough cuts, VPS was dismayed at Ophüls work (particularly his excessive leaning on the Nuremberg Trials and Nazi involvement) and tried to remove him as director. Hamilton Fish V organized a group of investors who were able to buy back the rights to the film from VPS and allow Ophüls to complete it. See more »


Hermann Göring, Himself: Not guilty, as charged.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When initially previewed at the New York Film Festival, the film included remarks by Telford Tayler critical of Israel. These were later deleted when their verity was challenged. See more »

User Reviews

the memory of justice, Ophüls own favorite
15 April 2013 | by pierrefilmonSee all my reviews

Yesterday evening, Paris cinema Etoile, 23.00 : Two masters of documentary together. Accompanied by his friend of 40-years Frederick Wiseman (who insists on Ophüls' talent for quality interviewing), Marcel Ophüls tells the public that "the memory of justice" is his favorite own film and that it was a public disaster when it came out in 1976 in the USA... The public is still vibrant with the nearly five hours projection (although the version projected is a 10 years old TV recording in DVD - the only existing 16mm copy seems to be in Germany in 29 reels).

Very dense, tense and complex editing makes this film another fascinating film from the director. With wit and elegance, the film passes from one interview to another, focusing mainly on the lessons NUREMBERG trial left us, mainly through the point of vue of Telford Taylor (USA prosecutor at the trial) who as a character and in Marcel Ophüls' own words appears as "Mr Smith goes to Nuremberg" (he served also as historical adviser on the picture). Some Nazi talk to exonerate themselves, Albert Speer being the most controversial and in the same time most charismatic one. After having study NUREMBERG trial itself in the first part through archive images and long interviews of 1975's survivors of the facts, the film draws in the second part a parallel between Nazi atrocities, American exactions in Vietnam (contemporary to the shooting of the film) and French torture in Algeria...

A single review cannot contain all the complexity of the film but I was surprised no review had been written before. If you are lucky enough to see this title aired on TV in your country or projected nearby, please watch it or go to the cinema and bring young people with you in order to learn more together and start a discussion... (If I noted it 7 out of 10, it is because my personal impression of the film was that the second part lasted a bit too long and was a bit confusing in its first hour (third hour of projection))

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UK | West Germany | USA | France


English | German | French

Release Date:

5 June 1978 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Nicht schuldig? See more »

Filming Locations:

Bremen, Bremen, Germany See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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