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The Tunnel (2001)

Der Tunnel (original title)
During the Cold War, Germany was divided into two states - East and West. This epic story tells about their dramatic connections.
11 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Heino Ferch ... Harry Melchior
Nicolette Krebitz ... Friederike 'Fritzi' Scholz
Sebastian Koch ... Matthis Hiller
Alexandra Maria Lara ... Charlotte 'Lotte' Lohmann
Claudia Michelsen ... Carola Langensiep
Felix Eitner Felix Eitner ... Fred von Klausnitz
Mehmet Kurtulus ... Vittorio 'Vic' Castanza
Heinrich Schmieder Heinrich Schmieder ... Theo Lohmann
Uwe Kockisch ... Oberst Krüger
Karin Baal ... Marianne von Krausnitz
Dorothea Moritz Dorothea Moritz ... Hermine
Wolf-Dietrich Sprenger Wolf-Dietrich Sprenger ... Fotograf Grüner
Florian Panzner ... Heiner
Sarah Kubel Sarah Kubel ... Ina Lohmann
Ruth Glöss Ruth Glöss ... Mutter Fritzi


Based on a true story a group of East Berliners escaping to the West. Harry Melchior was a champion East German swimmer at odds with the system under which he has already been imprisoned. On his own escape, he is determined the arrange the escape to the West of his sister and her family. The idea of the tunnel is born, but the project does not run smoothly. The participants struggle not only with the massive logistics of their task, but betrayal from friends in the East. And always the East German police are close to discovering the plot. Written by johnno <johnno.r@xtra.co.nz

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Berlin. 1961. The true story of a flight to freedom.


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Alternate Versions

German DVD version runs for ca. 150 minutes, ca. 40 minutes shorter than the TV version. See more »


References The Misfits (1961) See more »

User Reviews

Almost 3 hours, but doesn't feel like it
30 July 2007 | by robin_rubinSee all my reviews

What a great movie! It's a very well made adventure flick that has the added advantage of being true.

I agree with the IMDb reviewer who said Heino Ferch, who plays the central character Harry Melchior, was a lot like Bruce Willis. I found the similarities profound.

And I thoroughly disagree with the New York Times reviewer (click on the EXTERNAL REVIEWS link to read it), who wrote: "They are joined by numerous volunteers hoping to rescue their own friends and family, and by the eager Fritzi (Nicolette Krebitz), whose solitary feminine presence complicates the team's relationships."

I don't know what movie that reviewer saw, but it wasn't this one. What a stupid remark, apropos of nothing, making it sound like a romantic triangle or quadrangle develops. There is nothing of the kind. In fact, Fritzi is a great female role model. When she first volunteers and the men wonder what sort of contribution she'll be able to make, she says, "I may look different from you when I'm naked, but I can work just as hard." Then she jumps into the tunnel and starts digging. Right on, sister.

I don't remember much about Germany before the Berlin Wall came down, beyond cinematic references to "Checkpoint Charlie" and the Brandenburg Gate and news reports I was too young to understand. But this movie really brings the horrors -- psychological as well as physical -- to life.

Another film that explores similar territory, psychological as well as physical, is The Lives of Others. Interestingly, the German actor Sebastian Koch has high profile roles in both films.

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Release Date:

21 January 2001 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tunnel See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »


Box Office


$7,100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,127, 1 May 2005

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (2 parts) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Dolby | DTS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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