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Conspiracy (2001)

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At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, senior Nazi officials meet to determine the manner in which the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" can be best implemented.

Director:

Frank Pierson

Writer:

Loring Mandel
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2,217 ( 20)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Based upon the final confession of Adolf Eichmann, made before his execution in Israel as he accounts to Captain Avner Less, a young Israeli police officer, of his past as the architect of ... See full summary »

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Stars: Avner W. Less, Thomas Kretschmann, Troy Garity
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Branagh ... Reinhard Heydrich
Clare Bullus Clare Bullus ... Maid (as Claire Bullus)
Stanley Tucci ... Adolf Eichmann
Simon Markey ... Stenographer
David Glover David Glover ... Supervising Butler
David Willoughby David Willoughby ... Orderly #1
Tom Hiddleston ... Phone Operator
David Spinx David Spinx ... Cook
Dirk Martens ... NCO
Barnaby Kay ... Rudolf Lange
Peter Sullivan ... SS.Col. Eberhard 'Karl' Schöngarth
Ben Daniels ... Dr. Joseph Bühler
Andreas Guenther ... NCO2
Ewan Stewart ... Dr. Georg Leibbrandt
Brian Pettifer ... Dr. Alfred Meyer
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Storyline

In January 1942, as the United States enters World War II, a conference assembles near Berlin. S.S. General Heydrich and his associate, Lieutenant Eichmann call the meeting to discuss the "evacuation" of Germany's Jews and other undesirables, a code word for their extermination in concentration camps. To begin this Final Solution, they must change the mind of a small group of men opposed to the idea, led by Chancellor Kritzinger. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One Meeting. Six Million Lives. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

19 May 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Conspiracy See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Tucci and Nicholas Woodeson appeared in The Pelican Brief (1993). See more »

Goofs

As Heydrich's staff car approaches the Wannsee mansion, a country identifier plate can clearly be seen, on a holder on the back bumper (showing a 'D' for Deutschland). Country identifier plates, and the national abbreviations they use, did not appear until after the war. They were introduced in 1949 by the United Nations, which itself did not exist at the time of the film's setting. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Adolph Hitler invaded Poland in September, 1939, starting WWII. By the winter of 1942, his armies were freezing and starving in the snows of Russia, where his best general had died of a heart attack, and America had entered the war. For the first time, Hitler's dream of a German empire to last 1,000 years was in doubt. While he hired and fired generals and the winter grew colder 15 of his officials were ordered from their commands and ministries to meet in a quiet lakeside ...
See more »

Connections

Version of The Final Solution: The Wannsee Conference (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quintet in C Major', D.956: Adagio
Written by Franz Schubert
Performed by Ensemble Villa Musica
courtesy of Naxos of America
by arrangement with Source Q
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An astonishing record of a pivotal, but little known moment in human history
25 January 2002 | by gus120970See all my reviews

Our perception of the Holocaust is shaped by the harrowing images of the gas chambers and crematoria of Auswitz; watch Conspiracy and be jarred out of the complacency that comes from familiarity and be a fly-on-the-wall at the genesis of genocide.

The film documents a meeting held during WW2, when SS second-in-command, Reinhard Heydrich, assembles a group of Nazi bureaucrats and functionaries to 'discuss the final solution of the Jewish question'. In the sublime surroundings of a German country house, the assembled mingle for drinks, enjoy a first class buffet lunch and debate whether execution or sterilisation is the most efficient option of eliminating an entire race of people.

Subject matter aside, Conspiracy is all the more devastating, and precious, from its excellent script and incredible ensemble performances. There is no attempt or need to manipulate the viewer - the enormity of the truth is compelling, and appalling enough. The are no cartoon Nazis here, the depiction of Heydrich is fascinating and complex: the man is urbane, witty, impeccably mannered and utterly devoid of morality.

Credit must be given to Kenneth Branagh who propels the entire piece with one of the best portrayals on screen in memory. He is utterly convincing in the role of a man who epitomises the classic definition of evil: not just the doing of wrong, but the perversion of the human spirit so that it no longer has any perception of the good.

Where Heydrich is conviction, as the narrative develops, almost exclusively as table-talk, others are less sure. The range of attendees symbolises the various strains of Nazi culture, which developed over the course of the third reich. For the idealistic of these - the philosopher/technocrat Kritzinger; the legalistic Wilhelm Stuckart and the young soldier Major Lange, there is the dawning realisation of the human catastrophe in which they are complicit.

Technical objections are raised - Stuckhart expounds a ludicrous web of of objections on how the plan breaks the vile race laws he himself architected, and will be an 'administrative nightmare', but they soon realise this is a done deal - most of the mechanisms are already in place. The politically sharp Heydrich only needs to extract expressions of support in order to bind all the orders of Nazi society into equal guilt. During breaks in the proceedings he discreetly buttonholes the wobblers and silences their doubts: by naked threats, or in the case of Lange by invoking the fantasy that what they do is all part of a plan for a better tomorrow. Succumbing to Heydrich's magnetism and realising the dream is pretty much all that is left, Lange allows himself to be persuaded.

The eloquent script captures the delusional, the grotesque and the desparate qualities of the German position at that moment in the war: the calculation that defeat is inevitable, but unthinkable - despite the repeated whimsy of Heydrich that he will return here for a quiet country life once the war is over. He knows that he, and all others present, is headed only into the dark. And it's a one-way journey.


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