7.1/10
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51 user 32 critic

Mother Night (1996)

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0:31 | Trailer
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

Gross USA:

$403,701

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$403,701
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

While they are hiding out, Campbell (Nick Nolte) says to Resi and George, "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart," a direct quote from "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. 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

Followed by Breakfast of Champions (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten
Composed by Arvo Pärt
Performed by Staatsorchester Stuttgart,
Dennis Russell Davies conductor
ECM New Series 1275
Courtesy of ECM Records
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

 
Wartime Allied undercover operative suffers the consequences of his deception, in the process discovering something about himself and about justice.
15 December 2003 | by Narwhal-1See all my reviews

It's so rare to find a literary work adequately translated to the screen that I may have rated this film higher than it deserves, but not by much. As a long-time student of Vonnegut's works, I have no hesitation in recommending the film to his readers, at least to those that love him as I do. The casting is inspired: Nolte is understated in triumph, bewildered in defeat, decisive in judgment. Sheryl Lee is luscious throughout, but her handling of the treacherous Resi and her tragic crescendo almost makes you forget her beauty. Alan Arkin delivers a totally lovable, but equally treacherous, Soviet spy.

Do not feel you have to read Mother Night to appreciate the film; though, if you haven't read Mother Night, you will probably want to after viewing the film.

Notice the shifts from color to black-and-white and back again, and don't miss the final symbolism of Campbell's noose. Watch, also, for Kurt Vonnegut's cameo near the end of the film.

Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" will never sound the same (I write in mid-December, when the song is getting heavy radio play, and it's driving me nuts).


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