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The Grey Zone (2001)

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A Nazi doctor, along with the Sonderkommando, Jews who are forced to work in the crematoria of Auschwitz against their fellow Jews, find themselves in a moral grey zone.

Director:

Tim Blake Nelson

Writers:

Miklos Nyiszli (based in part on "Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account") (as Dr. Miklos Nyiszli), Tim Blake Nelson (play) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Arquette ... Hoffman
Velizar Binev ... Moll
David Chandler David Chandler ... Max Rosenthal
Michael Stuhlbarg ... Cohen
George Zlatarev George Zlatarev ... Lowy (as Georgy Zlatarev)
Dimitar Ivanov Dimitar Ivanov ... Old Man
Daniel Benzali ... Simon Schlermer
Allan Corduner ... Dr. Miklos Nyiszli
Steve Buscemi ... 'Hesch' Abramowics
Harvey Keitel ... SS-Oberscharführer Erich Mußfeldt
Henry Stram Henry Stram ... SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Mengele
Kamelia Grigorova Kamelia Grigorova ... Girl
Lisa Benavides-Nelson Lisa Benavides-Nelson ... Anja (as Lisa Benavides)
Shirly Brener ... Inmate
Mira Sorvino ... Dina
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Storyline

The true story of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Hungarian Jew chosen by Josef Mengele to be the head pathologist at Auschwitz. Nyiszli was one of Auschwitz's Sonderkommandos - Special Squads of Jewish prisoners placed by the Nazis in the excruciating moral dilemma of helping to exterminate fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life. Together, the Sonderkommandos struggled to organize the only armed revolt that would ever take place at Auschwitz. As the rebellion is about to commence, a group from the unit discovers a 14-year-old girl who has miraculously survived a gassing. A catalyst for their desperate attempt at personal redemption, the men become obsessed with saving this one child, even if doing so endangers the uprising which could save thousands. To what terrible lengths are we willing to go to save our own lives, and what in turn would we sacrifice to save the lives of others? Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story You Haven't Seen

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong holocaust violence, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Lions Gate Entertainment

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

30 November 2001 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

A szürke zóna See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,526, 20 October 2002

Gross USA:

$517,872

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$621,592
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Director of Photography Russell Lee Fine shot most of this film with a hand-held camera. ''A film like Schindler's List (1993) does this beautiful photography. We're not going to beat that quality. So we've given it an intentionally rough, hand-held look; made the images less romantic and less heroic. We want it to feel like you're there.'' See more »

Goofs

The movie suggests that two crematoria were destroyed during the rebellion. In reality only Krematorium 4 was damaged. See more »

Quotes

SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: This isn't our war.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: Not mine.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: Nor mine. I can assure you. But, to allow this all to go to waste.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: I understand your position.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: Clearly you do more than that.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: As you wish.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: Meaning?
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: There is no meaning.
SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele: We're going to be increasing the volume of our research.
Doctor Miklos Nyiszli: I shall need more staff.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses from the South, Opus 388
(1880)
Composed by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss)
Orchestrated and arranged by Jeff Danna and Andrew Lockington
Performed and conducted by members of the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Extremely disturbing film, and yet...
10 June 2011 | by kaiser100See all my reviews

I had a hard time getting to sleep after watching The Grey Zone. It is the darkest film I have ever seen. It is a stark contrast to Schindler's List in the fact that it is focused on the experience of the great majority of the people who were sent to the death camps and died. Nobody helped them. It is also raw in its presentation of the gas chambers, crematoria and the Sonderkommandos, Jews who volunteered to do the dirty work of processing the people who arrived at the camps and then their dead bodies afterwards in exchange for a few more months of life.

That takes nothing away from the extraordinary Schindler's List, as it is very important to show the deeds of people like Oskar Schindler. His story and the story of many others like him is also true. In my opinion watching both films makes for an effective portrayal of the Holocaust on film, and an exploration of the nature of evil and humanity.

Although the Grey Zone is a bleak story of utter human depravity, the darkness is not total. In an extraordinary turn of events that actually happened in October 1944, the very people who at first abandoned their morality to keep themselves alive threw the Nazis' deal back in their faces and sacrificed themselves, taking a part of the Auschwitz death factory with them. Their actions suggest that even though it flickers, the eternal flame that makes us greater than what we may appear to be is always present within.


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