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Varian's War: The Forgotten Hero (2001)

Varian's War (original title)
1:32 | Trailer
Varian Fry rescues more than 2,000 artists from Nazi persecution during World War II.


Lionel Chetwynd


Lionel Chetwynd
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
William Hurt ... Varian Fry
Howard Ryshpan ... Konditerei Owner
Carol Shamy Carol Shamy ... The Owner's Wife
Harald Winter Harald Winter ... First Brownshirt
Susan Almgren Susan Almgren ... Eileen Fry (as Susie Almgren)
Barry Blake ... Drury
Noel Burton ... Thompson
Emma Campbell ... Clifton's Girl
Ian Finlay Ian Finlay ... Ballroom Man 1
Maitreya Friedman Maitreya Friedman ... Ballroom Woman (as Maitreya Frieman)
Alain Goulem ... Clifton
Christopher B. MacCabe ... Ballroom Man 2 (as Christopher Maccabe)
Walter Massey Walter Massey ... Sydney
Tom Rack ... Reinhold Neibuhr
Michael Rudder Michael Rudder ... Thomas Mann


After witnessing the treatment of Jews in Nazi territory made him physically sick, cultured American gentleman Varian Fry starts en emergency rescue commission to raise funds and lobby to help intellectuals and artists, especially Jews, escape from Vichy France -where the Pétain government avoid occupation only by utter collaboration- to the US, and for lack of a better volunteer personally sets out in search of them. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt personally overcomes the reticence of the State Department. In Marseille he finds the people he specifically looked for, such as Marc Chagall, already housed by Harry Bingham, a Jewish US consulate official so he starts screening less obvious candidates and examines with Miriam Davenport and a German social democrat they pass for US clergyman Beamish how some can be rescued legally, others via a clandestine route, while colonel Joubert's State Police is at their trace... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He changed the world forever. One person at a time. The true story of the American Schindler.


Drama | War


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Did You Know?


Near the beginning of the movie, Varian is holding the "Foreign Affairs" book differently depending on the camera angle. See more »


Varian Fry: ...Not much time to react. But, react we must. What we do now, how we rise to the challenge will be how our children will judge us. The Darkness descending over Europe might keep the night for a thousand years. You ask me, Why the intellectuals? Because it is precisely the artists, poets, and writers who the Nazis hate the most for they are the keepers of the soul of Europe. The best of that civilization. If their voices be stilled, then who will sound the call to the rest of the world? You ask...
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User Reviews

Needed to be made
9 April 2014 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Varian Fry (William Hurt) is an American who witnesses the cruel treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany. He advocates for helping the artistic lights of Europe to escape the Nazis. He enlists the help of many including Mrs Roosevelt. In Vichy France, he finds the help of Miriam Davenport (Julia Ormond) but the situation starts to deteriorate.

This is a smaller TV movie based on the true story. However there are a lot of big name actors including Alan Arkin and Lynn Redgrave. The actors in this is enough to make this a reasonable movie. The subject matter is very compelling. Varian's mannerisms can be very stiff, and the dialog can be a little bit unnatural. However the story comes with a good dose of international intrigue. Also this movie needs to be made.

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English | French | German | Italian

Release Date:

22 April 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Au service de la liberté See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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