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Invincible (2001)

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A Jewish strongman performs in Berlin as the blond Aryan hero Siegfried.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Roth ... Herschel Steinschneider / Erik Jan Hanussen
Jouko Ahola ... Zishe Breitbart
Anna Gourari Anna Gourari ... Marta Farra
Max Raabe ... Master of Ceremonies
Jacob Wein Jacob Wein ... Benjamin Breitbart
Gustav-Peter Wöhler ... Alfred Landwehr (as Gustav Peter Woehler)
Udo Kier ... Count Helldorf
Herbert Golder Herbert Golder ... Rabbi Edelmann
Gary Bart Gary Bart ... Yitzak Breitbart
Renate Krößner ... Mother Breitbart
Ben-Tzion Hershberg Ben-Tzion Hershberg ... Gershon
Rebecca Wein Rebecca Wein ... Rebecca
Raphael Wein Raphael Wein ... Raphael
Daniel Wein Daniel Wein ... Daniel
Chana Wein Chana Wein ... Chana
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Storyline

The film is based on the true story of Zishe Breitbart, a Jewish blacksmith's son from Poland who becomes a sensation in Weimar, Berlin as a mythical strongman. His employer Hanussen dreams of establishing an all-powerful Ministry of the Occult in Hitler's government. Yet as Hitler's hold on power grows more sure, and Berlin erupts in a ferment of anti-Semitism, Zishe must decide how he will use his strength. Plagued by nightmares, he takes counsel from a local rabbi. He becomes convinced that he has been chosen by God to warn his people of the grave danger they face. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Ireland | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 January 2002 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Invencible See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,293, 22 September 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$80,636, 20 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Werner Herzog: the curtain puller at the Palace of the Occult. See more »

Goofs

The real Marta Faria was a talented strong-woman in her own right; she could wrap a steel bar around her arm and once supported the front legs of a large elephant on her shoulders. She was not the slender pianist seen in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Hanussen: No jew should be as strong as you are.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to The People of Kuldiga and The People of Vilnius See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Debridement of Rome (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet and Lovely
(1931)
Music and Lyrics by Gus Arnheim / Neil Moret (as Charles Daniels) / Harry Tobias
Performed by Max Raabe and his Palast Orchestra
Published by EMI Robbins Catalog Inc / Anne Rachel Music / Redwood Music Ltd / Range Road Music / Harry Tobias Music
Courtesy of EMI Music Partnership Musikverlag GmbH/ Greenhorn Musikverlag GmbH/ Warner-Chappell Music GmbH Germany,
Munich/ Chappell & Co GmbH/ Range Road Music/ Harry Tobias Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The invincible Werner Herzog
12 November 2001 | by MiryamSee all my reviews

I just saw this touching movie at the Stockholm Film Festival, and I have to say Herzog is still as poignant, charming and direct in his storytelling as ever. Not afraid to cast people who just have pure feelings, no plastic acting-by-the-book moves and more than one and a half expressions on their faces.

The frame of the story is a little jewish village in Poland in 1932, where a big family lives a poor but happy life. The eldest and the youngest sons, Zishe and Benjamin, mocked by some people as the thick and the thin, lead us through thick and thin of their lives. Based on a true story, the legend of the Invincible Zishe Breitbart, played bravely and somewhat charmingly naive by Jouko Ahola (the 1997 and 1999 strongest man), still is told among the jewish people. A man who accepted his physical strength as the gift of God, and thereby felt obliged to define his goal by that call. When he gets hired at a varieté in Berlin, he finds himself confronted with the Nazis, his strange employer Jan Hanussen, played by the impressive Tim Roth, who wants to sell him off as Siegfried, a blond, germanic hero who can even lift an elephant. It is obvious that Zishe has to decide whether he wants to deny his identity or rather become a Samson and fight for who he is. A touch of romance is added by the real life concert pianist Anna Gourari, who is almost over-acting, almost resembling a silent movie actress.

A very international, very special cast. Told in a simple, poetic and beautifully photographed way, Herzog manages to make you overlook the only downside of the whole movie: the bad language, german spiced english.

For people who care more about the persons than the action, this movie comes highly recommended.


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