6.8/10
14,547
115 user 14 critic

Swing Kids (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music | 5 March 1993 (USA)
A close-knit group of young kids in Nazi Germany listen to banned swing music from the U.S. Soon, dancing and fun lead to more difficult choices, as the Nazis begin tightening their grip on... See full summary »

Director:

Thomas Carter

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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Sean Leonard ... Peter Müller
Christian Bale ... Thomas Berger
Frank Whaley ... Arvid
Barbara Hershey ... Frau Müller
Tushka Bergen ... Evey
David Tom ... Willi Müller
Julia Stemberger Julia Stemberger ... Frau Linge
Jayce Bartok ... Otto
Noah Wyle ... Emil Lutz
Johan Leysen ... Herr Schumler
Douglas Roberts ... Herr Hinz
Martin Clunes ... Bannführer
Jessica Hynes ... Helga (as Jessica Stevenson)
Carl Brincat Carl Brincat ... H.J. Thug
Mary Fogarty Mary Fogarty ... Mama Klara Müller (as Mary Fogerty)
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Storyline

A close-knit group of young kids in Nazi Germany listen to banned swing music from the U.S. Soon, dancing and fun lead to more difficult choices, as the Nazis begin tightening their grip on Germany. Each member of the group is forced to face some tough choices about right, wrong, and survival. Written by Susan Southall <stobchatay@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In a world on the brink of war. You either march to one tune or dance to another. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 March 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Os Últimos Rebeldes See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,632,086
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Thomas calls the H.J. "the Scheiße Patrol". Although he pronounces it incorrectly, "Scheiße" means "shit" in German. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, when Willy is running after Peter and stops, there is clearly nothing at Willy's feet. Later, after being told "Swing Heil", he grabs an umbrella on a wet poster at his feet that clearly wasn't there before. See more »

Quotes

H.J. Thug: You call us pansies. Even my girlfriend doesn't wear a hair that long.
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Soundtracks

POLKA PARADE
Written by Chris Boardman
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User Reviews

Uneven, but powerful
11 November 1999 | by Tin Man-5See all my reviews

Four German teenage boys (Leonard, Bale, Whaley, and Batrok), living under Nazy reign in World War II, secretly play Swing music, American stuff that's been forbidden, and embrace the concepts of the musical heritage. But this is clearly an act of rebellion, so they must do it in secret clubs at night, avoiding the Gestapo. Their relationships and the outcomes are the study of this film, which is both uneven and, ultimately, very powerful.

Roger Ebert detested this film for the fact that, to him, is unclear in it's message. He feels that the motives behind these teen's rebellion are stupid: It seems as if Hitler hadn't banned Swing music, then they would have thought that he was a swell guy.

Actually, this observation on Mr. Ebert's behalf might be the film's point. They thought Hitler was a loser because of he didn't let them play their music. Through this fact, they learn that there is a much bigger problem here, and they know that they can't conform to it. So how do they rebell? Through the music that they cherish.

Along the way, two of the boys, Leonard and Bale, are forced to join the Gestapo. Leonard doesn't embrace the teachings, but Bale is slowly brainwashed into conforming. Whaley is a cripple, and he therefore observes the Nazis from a different position. He soon begins to despise his two friends for their uniforms. While his character might be an arrogant jerk, it is clear that he's got a better idea about the evil that's going on than anyone else. Bartok is just sort of along for the ride, just wanting to hang out with his friends and play in his music...oblivious to what happens with the Jews or Nazis.

So here we have four chief characters that pretty much represent probably the most basic attitudes of German citizens during the war: Brainwashed, aware, torn in between, and indifferent. The characters are well acted, and the balance and chemisty between them work. The message at the end is very clear and VERY powerful....I am often reminded of its subtle excellence, though I haven't seen it in a good while.

Unfortunately, the film itself is uneven. Almost too much time is spent on the swing music itself. So much that it takes away from the message of the film. The music should have only served as a backdrop, and endless scenes of dancing almost threaten to take away from the impact of the theme. "Almost" is the key word. All in all, this is a most intriguing film. Kenneth Branagh appears unbilled, as a central Gestapo character.

*** out of ****


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