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Der Tunnel (2001)

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. ... See full summary »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Harry Melchior
... Friederike 'Fritzi' Scholz
... Matthis Hiller
... Charlotte 'Lotte' Lohmann
... Carola Langensiep
Felix Eitner ... Fred von Klausnitz
... Vittorio 'Vic' Castanza
Heinrich Schmieder ... Theo Lohmann
Uwe Kockisch ... Oberst Krüger
... Marianne von Krausnitz
Dorothea Moritz ... Hermine
Wolf-Dietrich Sprenger ... Fotograf Grüner
... Heiner
Sarah Kubel ... Ina Lohmann
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 January 2001 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Tunnel  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$7,100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,127, 1 May 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,890, 12 June 2005
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (2 parts) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


References The Misfits (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

It's hard to believe what some people have been through, especially when it has been at the hands of their own government and in such recent years.
29 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

In The Tunnel the audience is dragged down to the depths with a group of Germans so desperate to get their loved ones from East Germany in 1961 that they are prepared to dig a tunnel under the infamous Berlin Wall. The tunnel takes a year to dig, is seven metres deep and 145 metres long.

The story of The Tunnel is really the story of Harry Melchior (Heino Ferch), an East German champion swimmer who escapes to the west disguised as a tourist. Before leaving the state which has imprisoned him for four years he promised his sister, Lotte Lohmann (Alexandra Maria Lara) that he would do his best to rescue her from the oppressive regime. Joining him in his noble mission is Matthis Hiller (Sebastian Koch), an engineer with the knowhow if only the rest of the gang will listen to him. He wants to rescue his wife and unborn child. Also on the team is Friederike 'Fritzi' Scholz (Nicolette Krebitz). Her intended is trapped on the other side of the wall, but does she really love him? There is a whole host of other characters who have their own motivations for helping out, but who can be trusted and who is a spy? All the actos put in superb performances, transporting the viewer back to those troubled times. What makes The Tunnel such compelling viewing is not it's high production values and suspenseful story, although it has both in oodles, but the very fact that it is a true story. Directed by Roland Suso Richter and written by Johannes W Betz, The Tunnel is filmed in the original German with English subtitles. But the subject is so enthralling that you soon forget you are having to read each line. While it is three hours long it doesn't even feel it. The Tunnel began its run during the Te Awamutu International Film Festival at The Regent cinema but is to continue showing.

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