7.8/10
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Mephisto (1981)

Unrated | | Drama | 22 March 1982 (USA)
A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and ... See full summary »

Director:

István Szabó

Writers:

Péter Dobai (screenplay), István Szabó (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Klaus Maria Brandauer ... Hendrik Höfgen
Krystyna Janda ... Barbara Bruckner
Ildikó Bánsági Ildikó Bánsági ... Nicoletta von Niebuhr
Rolf Hoppe ... Tábornagy
György Cserhalmi ... Hans Miklas
Péter Andorai Péter Andorai ... Otto Ulrichs
Karin Boyd Karin Boyd ... Juliette Martens
Christine Harbort Christine Harbort ... Lotte Lindenthal
Tamás Major ... Oskar Kroge, színigazgató
Ildikó Kishonti Ildikó Kishonti ... Dora Martin, primadonna
Mária Bisztrai Mária Bisztrai ... Motzné, tragika
Sándor Lukács Sándor Lukács ... Rolf Bonetti, bonviván
Ágnes Bánfalvy Ágnes Bánfalvy ... Angelika Siebert, naiva (as Bánfalvi Ágnes)
Judit Hernádi Judit Hernádi ... Rachel Mohrenwitz, drámai szende
Vilmos Kun Vilmos Kun ... Ügyelõ
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Storyline

A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and friends flee or are ground under by the Nazi terror, the popularity of his character supercedes his own existence until he finds that his best performance is keeping up appearances for his Nazi patrons. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

Hungarian | German | English

Release Date:

22 March 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mefisto See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

Contrary to what is depicted in the film, Hitler was not named chancellor of Germany after the Nazis won a majority in the Reichstag. He was appointed chancellor in January 1933 without proper parliamentary confirmation, and the Nazi Party did not win an absolute majority of votes in the next election (March 1933). See more »

Quotes

[Hendrik stumbles upon some soldiers beating up a Jew]
Hendrik Hoefgen: They must be drunk.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Last Horror Film (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Mephisto - Improvisation
Written by Aladár Pege
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Before "The Truman Show", "Mephisto" asks its audience, what is good entertainment?
10 January 1999 | by lefty-11See all my reviews

Another disturbing film about the complicity of ordinary people in fascism, which explores similar territory to "Cabaret", "The Conformist", "The Leopard" and "The Remains of the Day". It argues that fascism demonstrates how difficult it is to separate one's public and private roles and beliefs from politics. The title character, an actor, starts to realise how his "make believe" public role has very real, tragic consequences. In this sense, the film has merit beyond its superb acting and other technical features: it subverts the liberal pieties of Hollywood drama which resolve all conflict within the confines of the existing social system. It undercuts the banality of much film criticism which says it is "just entertainment" with "no subtext"- as if produced in a social/historical vacuum with no point of view. In short, the film argues that artists, like everyone else, have to take some responsibility and assume a critical role or risk being haunted, like Mephisto, by the awareness that they have become pawns in a dangerous game.


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