6.9/10
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16 user 10 critic

Triumph of the Spirit (1989)

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Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert M. Young

Writers:

Shimon Arama (story), Zion Haen (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Willem Dafoe ... Salamo Arouch
Edward James Olmos ... Gypsy
Robert Loggia ... Father Arouch
Wendy Gazelle Wendy Gazelle ... Allegra
Kelly Wolf Kelly Wolf ... Elena
Costas Mandylor ... Avram Arouch
Kario Salem ... Jacko
Edward Zentara ... Janush
Hartmut Becker ... Maj. Rauscher
Burkhard Heyl Burkhard Heyl ... Aide to Rauscher
Zofia Saretok ... Momma
Grazyna Krukówna ... Sister Julie
Karolina Twardowska Karolina Twardowska ... Bemmi
Juranda Krol Juranda Krol ... Sarah
Wiktor Mlynarczyk Wiktor Mlynarczyk ... Beppo
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Storyline

Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he fought for the amusement of his captors. His father and brother were also held as insurance that he would continue to fight. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prisoner | fight | prison | boxer | greek | See All (139) »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

23 December 1989 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

A pokol bajnoka See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,963, 10 December 1989, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$408,839
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nova International Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Robert M. Young was initially hesitant to take on this project when given the original script. He felt that the subject was too voluminous to be incorporated into one movie. He later agreed when presented with a revised script that focused only on one small element in the death camp, or in Young's own words "like a cork, bubbling on the surface of the sea." See more »

Goofs

During the movie, Arouch was rewarded for his boxing victories with a reassignment to the factory, which was considered easier work, was inside and provided more food for him. According to the real life Arouch, he was actually assigned to the camp's kitchen. He was able to take advantage of this work assignment by secretly procuring food from the kitchen for himself and his friend. See more »

Quotes

Gypsy: Listen, I'm only going to say this once. For those who can hear me tell the rest. First come the SS, our lord and masters. Then comes our block health manager, Kyr. Then come the assistants, Otto and me. Then come the rats. Then come the lice... and then come you.
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User Reviews

 
One of the best holocaust movies I've seen
23 November 2013 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

When Greece was invaded, its Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Among them was boxing champ Salamo(Dafoe, determined) and his family. When it is discovered that he can fight, he is put in the ring for the entertainment of the SS officers. This doesn't mean that they're safe, not even with him making a contact with a gypsy(Olmos) who is also granted a temporary "tolerance". Based on a true story.

This is among the most detailed, authentic and gripping pictures about its subject that I know of. The sheer volume of awful events, ways to be singled out and murdered and lies told by Nazis to avoid panic is impressive for being fit into the 1 hour 51 and a half minute running time. Production values are high. Acting is great for all concerned, with numerous subtle performances.

Going to great lengths to avoid being exploitative, this has few on-screen deaths, piles of dead and little naked skin. And yet, so much is communicated. Some recurring images convey far more than gore ever could. A reaction shot of conveys the horror inside the crematorium. And we know exactly what it means when we see the smoke from its chimney, or a train pulling in to, as my father solemnly put it as we watched it together, "the end of the line".

There is a lot of disturbing, and some bloody, content in this. I wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone old enough to handle the material. 7/10


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