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Mother Night (1996)

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An American spy behind the lines during WWII serves as a Nazi propagandist, a role he cannot escape in his future life as he can never reveal his real role in the war.

Director:

Keith Gordon

Writers:

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (novel) (as Kurt Vonnegut), Robert B. Weide (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Howard Campbell
Anthony J. Robinow Anthony J. Robinow ... Prison Warden
Michael McGill Michael McGill ... Prison Official
Shimon Aviel Shimon Aviel ... Guard Bernard Liebman
Bill Corday Bill Corday ... Campbell's Father
Bronwen Mantel Bronwen Mantel ... Campbell's Mother
Brawley Nolte ... Young Howard Campbell
Sheryl Lee ... Helga & Resi Noth
John Goodman ... Major Frank Wirtanen
Louis Strauss Louis Strauss ... Old Jewish Man
Zach Grenier ... Joseph Goebbels
Richard Zeman ... Rudolph Hoess
Thomas Hauff ... SS Officer
Jeff Pufah Jeff Pufah ... Young German Soldier
Norman Rodway ... Werner Noth
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Storyline

Howard W. Campbell, Jr., an American expatriate playwright, Nazi radio propagandist, and Allied spy, writes his memoirs during his pre-trial confinement in 1961 Haifa and learns that people are what they pretend to be. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Howard W. Campbell, Jr., is the most patriotic American in the Third Reich. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fine Line Features

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Yiddish

Release Date:

1 November 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Confessione finale See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,661, 3 November 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$392,362
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The scene where Nick Nolte points a Luger pistol towards his mouth thinking about suicide, the toggle on top of the pistol was up and not flat. The pistol would not have fired this way. The toggle would have to be down or flat. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prison Warden: Do you prefer German or English?
Howard W. Campbell Jr.: English.
Prison Warden: You are to write down your memoirs for the Haifa Institute For The Documentation of War Criminals. You have three weeks to complete your memoirs before your trial begins. Do you have any questions?
Howard W. Campbell Jr.: No, this is great. Thanks for everything.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Makings of You (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Fratres
Composed by Arvo Pärt
Performed by Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe
Courtesy of EMI Classics
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
Used by arrangement with European America Music Dist. Corp., Agent for Universal Edition Vienna,
publisher and copyright holder
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The only perfect book to film adaptation
28 November 1999 | by the coyoteSee all my reviews

Mother Night is one of my favorite novels and going to see this I was expecting a huge disappointment. Instead I got a film that perfectly portrays the irony, humor, elequence, and above all else the crushing sadness of Vonnegut's novel.

This is certainly Nolte's best preformance to date. He captures the defeat and selfloathing of Howard Cambell Jr. consistently from the subtle intonations of his speech to the held back tears behind his eyes.

Alan Arkin is absolutly hilarious as George Kraft. Sherryl Lee is haunting in her detachment from reality as Cambell's young lover. John Goodman is understated and more than effective as Cambell's "Blue Fairy Godmother."

This Pinnocioesque story of Cambell trying to be his own ideal hero and unwittingly becoming his ideal tragic villian is a mature and vivid look into what we are as people. And aside from that, it is one of the most deeply romantic films I have ever come across. Cambell is the incarnation of both foolish and wise love. And at the films sastifyingly painful conclusion, he finally learns what it means to be a real boy as his Blue Fairy Godmother grants him his wish. And he realizes that...well, watch the movie and you'll see.

Mother Night is without a doubt in my mind one of the best films ever made. It is a beautiful poetic story that digs deep within our emotions and is completely faithful to its original author.


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