Hitler: The Rise of Evil (TV Mini-Series 2003) Poster

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Easy-to-swallow warning for mass-behavior
slash83_mus1 August 2004
Being a fanatical semi-professional historian on WW2, and utterly fascinated by Hitler's third Reich and all it's military power, I could hardly wait for "Hitler; the rise of evil" to come out after having seen the theatrical trailer.

Heavens, I never felt so completely confused about a movie after pushing the 'stop' button on my DVD-player's remote. I simply couldn't decide whether I liked it or not.

First of all, the performances set by Carlyle and companions are quite good. A little over-acted every now and then, especially Carlyle who obviously tries his up-most to copy the "Führer" and his body-language. He acts as if he is in a theatre, and seems to forget the fact that camera's register way more details/facial expressions. Compare a real recording of a Hitler-speech with one of Carlyle's speech-scene's and you'll see what I mean.

Then comes the Historical accuracy. Not quite bad, but I kept noticing small things which obviously were incorrect. Uniforms, weapons, bread-prices, skinny-Röhm, fat Hess... not really impressive job I might say.

but one of the most compelling things about the whole film (or series, I 've seen it as a film) is the fact that it is very obvious the director desperately wants to show the world Hitler was a sick-minded, over-emotional and completely mentally unstable person. Well, I can assure you this: He absolutely had his periods of mental disturbances and ignoring the truth, especially toward the war's end. But this... I have read many, many eye-witness reports from people who lived in his presence, like Albert Speer. They all agreed on some things, namely the facts Adolf Hitler was very often a think full, correct, funny, honorable man. Hitler was the mastermind behind the Nazi's criminal and appalling Holocaust. Hitler was a criminal. A kind of person that can never be allowed to rise to power again. This is obviously the reason why the director choose to show him the way he did. However, Hitler was dangerous not because he was a monster, he was dangerous because he was so intelligent, so well-spoken. Because he was worshipped by so many, because he knew what to say to 'his' people. That was the real danger, and that's exactly what we must teach. Think of it this way: The most successful murderers and big criminals are usually the smart, well-spoken and socially established men. You wouldn't know he is a monster until you see what he has done.

I wish the director/writer added a bit more humanity to his character. But obviously they chose to show the audience Hitler changed from a normal person into a monster. Talking about stereotypes and negligence of the truth.

Overall I still found it an enjoyable movie which does achieve one of it's main goals: portraying us, the crowd, as willing sheep, especially in times of need. Ye be warned.

Rating: 6.5/10

** Note: One very imposing scene: Hitler speaks out loud his ideas in the court-yard, with Hess recording it. After awhile you get to see a different day every now and then, and every time more and more inmates cheer him from behind their bars overlooking the yard.
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Very entertaining, but historically incorrect
kremer-429 December 2003
No wonder that the historian Ian Kershaw, author of the groundbreaking Hitler biography, who originally was the scientific consultant for this TV film, dissociated himself from it. The film is historically just too incorrect. The mistakes start right away when Hitler`s father Alois dies at home, while in reality he died in a pub. In the film, Hitler moves from Vienna to Munich in 1914, while in reality he actually moved to Munich in 1913. I could go on endlessly. Hitler`s childhood and youth are portrayed way too short, which makes it quite difficult for historically uninformed people to understand the character of this frustrated neurotic man. Important persons of the early time of the party, like Hitler`s fatherly friend Dietrich Eckart or the party "philosopher" Alfred Rosenberg are totally missing. The characterization of Ernst Hanfstaengl is very problematic. In the film he is portrayed as a noble character who almost despises Hitler. The script obviously follows Hanfstaengl`s own gloss over view of himself which he gave in his biography after the war. In fact, Hanfstaengl was an anti-semite and was crazy about his "Fuehrer". But the biggest problem of the film is the portrayal of Hitler himself. He is characterized as someone who is constantly unfriendly,has neither charisma nor charm and constantly orders everybody around. After watching the film, one wonders, how such a disgusting person ever was able to get any followers. Since we all know, what an evil criminal Hitler was, naturally every scriptwriter is tempted to portray Hitler as totally disgusting and uncharismatic. But facts is, that in private he could be quite charming and entertaining. His comrades didn`t follow him because he constantly yelled at them, but because they liked this strange man. Beyond all those historical mistakes, the film is well made, the actors are first class, the location shots and the production design give a believable impression of the era.
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An inaccurate movie but good acting.
theredcomet14 March 2005
I was OK up with this film up until the point where Geli comes in and then it all went down from there. In order to demonify Hitler they made it seem like he was a controlling bastard and Geli was scared of him and thought him crazy. Anyone who has done any studying on this subject should know that Geli was completely in love with him and even staged a suicide attempt to get him to notice her more. When he met Eva she couldn't take it anymore, the fact that he wasn't with her all the time and really killed herself out of despair and depression. Not because he was treating her cruelly and being a monster. This really makes me laugh that someone would go and change history so blatantly so it can fit their own concept of an evil maniacal Hitler.

In no way am I supporting Hitler or what he did but a historian is supposed to portray history in an objective and impartial manner. Something that seems hard for filmmakers with their own agenda to do.

I thought Robert Carlyle was very good in his role as were the other actors/actresses.
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Oh, no - it's drivel!
Chris Davis24 May 2009
If another Hitler ever arises, it will be thanks in part to nonsense like this film, which propagates the absurd notion that he was a visibly deranged lunatic from the start. Far from following such a person and electing him to the highest office in the land, sane people would cross the street to avoid him, and he would have died in a ditch, nameless and unknown.

Anyone who reads the accounts of Hitler's close companions - the autobiography of his secretary Traudl Junge for instance - will be struck by the fact that people found him a kindly, intelligent, generous man. He was also a brilliant orator, and the fact that his speeches seem overblown and ranting to modern ears ignores the times in which they were made, when strutting pomposity was common in political speeches. Ditto the overstated anti-Semitism, which was neither a central plank of the early Nazis - who were primarily anti-communist - nor uncommon or unusual for the times. The film makes it look as though Hitler's sole ambition from the start was the Holocaust.

If you want to identify the next person who will cause the death of tens of millions, you can ignore fleck-lipped ravers life the one portrayed here. Look instead for a charming, charismatic man whose compelling speeches inspire the entire nation, and whose political work visibly and materially benefits the country. I'm afraid his personality will be much more like Barack Obama's than Fred Phelps'.

I hoped for much here, and got nothing but caricature. The fools who made this thing perpetrated a crime against reality. This is the historical equivalent of 'Reefer Madness'.
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ViraNoX27 July 2008
Well first off I'd like to add that I myself is somewhat of a historian so what I look for in a film that is based upon historical events is that it is actually based upon historical facts. But this is however not the case here. Sure the movie is entertaining and all but the fact that it isn't entirely based upon true facts is more than annoying. Hitler wasn't anti-semitic in his youth, he even worked for Jews before world war one. It was however during world war one and after that he formed his views about the Jews. His upbringing in this movie is also inaccurate, Hitler as a child wasn't a disturbed little brat. He had a more or less normal upbringing. Nothing is mentioned about his lost brothers and other important pieces that adds to the puzzle that is Hitler.

Robert Carlyle is a great actor but he doesn't really fit in the role as Hitler. Hitler wasn't as impossible and unstable as he is portrait-ed here. Under his younger years he was a charismatic person whom "manipulated" people through his charms. His unstable behavior and rage outbursts started in the turning point of the war.

I'd like to see a film about Hitler's life that is based upon real historical facts and not accusations. I really hate when people point a blaming finger at for example Hitler and others and tell inaccurate stories just to paint a picture of them as pure evil. It is much better to actually tell the story EXACTLY as it was so that everyone can learn what it was like! The ones behind this movie should have made some research before making this. Because it seems as if they didn't even know what really happened. Hitler wasn't even shot in the revolutionary march in Munch, his shoulder was ripped out of its socket.

It gives you more to see a good documentary than seeing this.
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This script is more criminal than anything written by Joseph Goebbels
paul-365911 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This could well be the worst film I've ever seen. Despite what Mikshelt claims, this movie isn't even close to being historically accurate. It starts badly and then it's all downhill from there. We have Hitler's father cursing his own bad luck on the "fact" that he'd married his niece! They were in fact, second cousins. Hitler's mother, Klara, called his father, Alois, "uncle" because Alois had been adopted and raised by Klara's grandfather and brought up as his son, when he was really his nephew. Alois was much older than Klara and so as a child she'd got into the habit of calling Alois, "uncle."

The scene in the trenches where Hitler is mocked by his fellow soldiers and decides to take it out on his dog is simply a disgrace and an insult to the intelligence of all viewers. We see Hitler chase the dog through the trench, when he catches up with the poor thing he proceeds to thrash it for disobeying him. In the distance we see and hear his fellow soldiers continue to mock and chastise the cowardly little man, but then a shell lands directly on his persecutors, and every last one, we are told, is killed outright. How then, if Hitler was the only person to survive the scene, did this tale of brutality and cowardice come to be told? Did Hitler himself go around "boasting" about it? - I don't think so.

Next up, Hitler bullies and intimidates a poor, stressed out and war weary Jewish officer into giving him an Iron Cross! I can only assume that this Jewish officer had been a pawnbroker before fighting for the Fatherland, and had thoughtfully brought along some pledged medals from his shop, because I'm certain that Iron Crosses were not being handed out as shown in this comic farce.

All the grotesque clichés are here, not least the calming and hypnotic effect of Wagner's music upon the little man. If only the producers had kept Ian Kershaw on side. Then they might have discovered that Franz Lehar's "Merry Widow" was more likely to float the Fuhrer's boat than any "Flying Dutchman" from the cannon of Richard Wagner!

Hitler may have been responsible for the deaths of 60 million people but how can he ever be forgiven for his appalling taste in music?

I could go on but I'd be at it for hours.

Give it a miss.
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Tom-2849 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
As usual, I was really looking forward to a new TV/film on a favourite subject of mine - makes a nice change from a *strangely familiar* documentary about Kursk or Stalingrad on the History Channel.

I avidly looked forward to Pearl Harbour and Enemy at the Gates - but was rudely brought down to earth with the realisation of the malevolent, stupid-ifying power of Hollywood - and its ability to spend an absolute fortune on tripe.

So yet again I got excited about 'The Rise of Evil', especially as I heard that Ian Kershaw was involved, as I've enjoyed his books. I can see why he quit.

To quote some guy responsible for this rubbish:

"The Kershaw book was an academic piece," he said. "It was

quite dry. We needed more incidents."

Incidents? Are they totally nuts? Hitler's life cannot be said to be without 'incident' - yes Kershaw's two volume Hitler biographies were long and detailed, but they were supposed to be.

The thesis behind 'Rise of Evil' seems to be:

Hitler was a very bad man - no he was a VERY bad man, who HATED jews, and just in case you miss this, we're going to emphasise the fact in EVERY scene in the film.

There was no effort whatsoever to try and explain the mood of the time, and why Hitler may have adopted the views and strategy he did. Needless to say - unlike the generally excellent 'Nazis - A Warning from History' - this film neglected to point out the fact that nearly all of the leaders of the Munich communist rising were Jewish, and that this may have coloured his views on the subject - and his axiomatic linking of the jews with Bolshevism - an absolutely crucial aspect to understanding much of the Nazi era.

But there was not much understanding to be done - the film-makers weren't going to go there, so we just got all the stuff we knew about anyway. We certainly don't get the fascinating fact that Kershaw alludes to, which has Hitler briefly being a socialist/communist immediately after WW1. That would of course be far too complex for the film to handle, and might even detract from the relentless 'he was very bad' mantra which bangs away incessantly.

We know he was a bad man. However, we also know that he was a mesmerising figure both as a public speaker and in more private situations. He could be polite and even sympathetic, and of course espoused some views like vegetarianism, anti-alcohol and anti-smoking that many Guardian readers could agree with. He was also famously fond of animals, hence why that wholly invented dog-flogging scene was so absurd.

He was also, from all the accounts I've seen, a brave soldier in WW1. Whilst we saw him with his Iron Cross, we never get to see how he won it (acts of bravery were not in the script, needless to say). We also get no insight whatsoever into why he was so fired up by his war experiences, whilst Sassoon, Owen, Brook, Remarque and so many others found it so repellent an experience. And again, like the point above re the jewish/bolshevik link, this is vital to anyone's understanding about the subject. Why did he love war so much? Why did he think it was always a good idea, despite massive evidence to the contrary? Why didn't he care about his colleagues who died? Or maybe he did - but still drew the wrong conclusions.

This film certainly didn't have anything of any interest to say on this either.

As all too often these days, the film is a classic example of 'making history relevant to the present' and inventing stuff or leaving awkward facts out to fit in with 'the present' - which all too often is to cater to the lowest common denominator, where you don't trust your audience an inch, so you just ram stuff down their throats, knowing (sadly correctly) that you'll always get away with it because there are so many dumb fools in the world.

History is really about making us relevant to the past and seeing how it colours our present, for better and for worse. This rubbish was a great opportunity, lost again. They spent millions on it, and the locations and large scenes were impressive, but told us nothing at all we didn't know already, and promoted no understanding of this dark period in human history.

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Nobody would have followed *this* Hitler
wittmann738 June 2007
Just imagine the real Hitler, who was a master of propaganda and speech, would have been such a mumbling moron as Carlyle portrayed him in this film.

Nobody would have followed him, not even a desperate, unemployed guy in the 1920s.

This is just a Hollywood cardboard piece of propaganda itself, disguised as "true history".

I pity everyone who actually believed anything from this show. Carlyle and the producers didn't get anything right with this.

Why was Hitler able to win so many people, a whole county for his ideas if we was such a sausage? Why did people follow him to death? By portraying him as such a loser they make their own film totally unbelievable. This film is a mixture of old WW2 propaganda and MTV urban myths about one of the most important persons of the last century. Imagine a film about Churchill where the director only shows him as a drunkard for 90 mins.

This film is a disgrace and I wonder how they could talk an actor like Carlyle into this dreck.
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Awful. Wrong. Nonsense.
crayonzero10 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I have rarely been subjected to such outright nonsense in a film that is supposed to be based on a historical figure. A horrible joke of a film, I cringed throughout. Terrible, trite, distorted and riddled with outright lies and half truths.

The famous Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw was to originally be a consultant for this film. However, he found the script to be so historically inaccurate and ridiculous that he refused, and also demanded they stop using his name as a source (it embarrassed him to think people would think he was involved).

One scene shows Hitler beating his dog. There is not one source for this. Hitler loved animals above people. He brought in the strictest animal welfare laws in Europe, banned vivisection and animal experimentation. He was also a vegetarian.

The film turns his gaining of the Iron Cross into a farce, involving bribery. Utter lies. He was awarded it for repeated acts of bravery over a long period of time.

There are no historical documents showing that Hitler ever had a sexual relationship with his niece. Not one.

Apart from these, Hitler is portrayed as a rabid simpleton in this garbage flick.

If he was even half as ignorant, demented and thick as he is in this nonsense film as in real life you would not even know he had ever existed. Never mind become the leader of Germany.

Honestly, this film was utterly terrible.

Go watch Downfall and give this a very wide berth.
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Cartoonish distortion
pawebster22 November 2007
The best bits in this are the convincing recreations of the look of the Reichstag and other places associated with the rise of Hitler. It may involve CGI, but this is CGI that works (unlike in many much more expensive productions).

The script is ropey. Especially in the early stages the characters lecture each other with historical information they would all already know, for the benefit of viewers - a classic mistake. Later we have Hindenburg talking about defending democracy. Hindenburg was not a democrat. He believed it was his duty to serve the state and to uphold its constitution.

Many have noted that Robert Carlyle's ranting Hitler would never have come to power. He'd have been certified. Why the makers of this went for this one-dimensional treatment is a mystery.

The film suggests that the Nazis could provoke an election just by walking out of the Reichstag chamber - an over-simplification to say the least.

The scenes with the newspaper man do not ring true at all, and are an embarrassment.

It all gets very rushed once Hitler becomes chancellor. The key election after the Reichstag fire is omitted. There is no mention of the Communists and Social Democrats who were missing from the session which passed the enabling law in an atmosphere of fear. The Night of the Long Knives appears to come immediately after this, although it took place 15 months later. It's a hopeless jumble.
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Entertaining, just don't take it as history.
halw123431 October 2007
As an amateur historian of WW2/Nazi Germany, I couldn't wait for this to come out on DVD. I missed it when it was first on in 2003. I don't want to repeat what's already been said in the previous 8 pages of comments about the historical inaccuracies. A better job could've been done portraying the "charming" Hitler. I also had a small problem with some of the casting choices, not so much for their acting, but for their appearances. Peter Stormare doesn't look much like Rohm, why didn't they make Babson as Hess wear a wig? And my biggest complaint..so much has always been made of Hitler's striking blue eyes, why didn't they make Carlyle wear blue contacts? On the plus side, I thought the actors who played Goring and Drexler looked pretty good. Again, as long as people watching this understand that this is supposed to be entertainment 1st, history 2nd I don't think a lot of harm will be done.
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This is humanizing Hitler?
malachiX2000-122 November 2005
Simply put, this is a simplistic and one dimensional film. The title, The Rise to Evil, should tell you that this isn't going to attempt to be anything deep or do much with Hitler's character. Rather, from the first minutes of the movie where we see baby Hitler looking evil with evil music playing the background, we are given a view of Hitler that presents his as a cartoony supervillian, seemingly ripped right out of a Saturday morning TV show. The film REALLY wants to make its case that Hitler was evil but does anyone need a movie to convince them that Hitler was evil? Ultimately, making him such a one-dimensionally evil character is both boring and confusing (one must ask how the inept, phsycotic character in the film cold ever persuade a nation to follow him or be named Time's man of the year). This film had a great opportunity to take a figure who has committed some of the most horrible acts in the 20th century, and try to delve into his mind. Instead, it basically just says, "Hey! Hitler was evil! Just thought you might like to know..." over and over again. The great irony is that the film still was attacked for presenting too sympathetic a view of the character. Give me a break.
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What was this?
deruntergang527 November 2007
I watched this film few times and all i can say that this is low budget rubbish and that it does not have anything to do with a real history facts. Actors performances is very poor but it is result of limited acting possibilities. Anyone who watched this film now probably think of Hitler as some crazy skinny lunatic who running with a gun like some Chicago gangster. I can only to say that there is much better films about Hitler and Germany in those years and that Rise of evil is very much under average. I can recommend German film Downfall in which you can see brilliant performance of Switzerland actor Bruno Ganz in a roll of Adolf Hitler.
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A rubbish propaganda movie :(
Shc-Shc2 October 2004
I have recently watched this movie twice, and I can't seem to understand why the h*ll the makers made this pile of crap. I mean, yes, It gives a great impression of Hitler's environment, and I mean the way they reproduced Austria in the late 1890's, WWI and the Inter-war period. What I can't understand is why they pictured Hitler as a 100% pure evil, mad, unreliable, mentally unstable freak. He was after all a very thoughtful, loving and intelligent man who of course had his dark sides, no doubt about that. But why in heaven's name portray him in this way? All of his positive aspects have been cut out of the scenario, leaving nothing but a very propaganda-like portrait of a man who had the biggest influence on modern civilization ever. Yes, he threw Germany into the devastating 2nd World War. Yes, he was racist, and yes he was at times menially unstable especially at the end of the war. All true. But again; why the hell did they plain LIE to the public? To warn us?

I absolutely don't think this movie was a warning. The true danger of Hitler and the Nazi's was the fact they were able to rise to power at moments of severe global weakness. The fact this evil was so recognizable yet so embraced by almost every German alive (not to mention Austrians and a LOT of other people) makes it a warning to modern civilization, NOT the fact Hitler was such a 'weirdo'. If it would have been like the makers make us believe - I would have been convinced that the German people were retarded. A man like the one in this movie would have never gotten anywhere near party leader - not to mention ReichsKanzler.

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Badly Written
Theo Robertson14 October 2003
I watched this hoping to find out something I didn`t know about modern history`s most infamous man and couldn`t help thinking that history has been rewritten in HITLER:THE RISE OF EVIL . Hitler was so obsessed with his niece that he threatened to have one of her admirer`s shot . Hitler turned up with a gun in his hand to arrest Ernst Rohm . Forgive me for asking but haven`t the writers confused Adolph Hitler with Tony Montana from SCARFACE ? That`s bad enough but what really offended me was that there`s entire chunks of historical context missing in this mini series . Germany lost the first world war and the allied powers made Germany pay a heavy price for doing so. It was this economic environment that led the German people to have someone - anyone - to restore their pride and that`s why they turned to Nazism . The German humiliation of the 1920s caused by the allied powers seems to be entirely missing therefore there is no way that HITLER:THE RISE OF EVIL can be taken seriously as a historical document, and I haven`t even mentioned that Himmler and Goering are conspicous by their absence

There is one positive point about the mini series and that`s Robert Carlyle in the title role . Okay some of his mannerisms are wrong and his voice is a little too loud ( Archive recordings show that Hitler had a soft seductive voice ) but Carlyle is a charismatic actor and he does manage to communicate Hitler`s own charisma on screen . Comments in the British press that Carlyle resembles the synth player from Sparks more than Adolph Hitler are unfounded and he gives one of the better interpretations of Hitler.

I liked the performance by Robert Carlyle but I hated everything else about this mini series and wondered why on earth it was made in the first place . There`s nothing to recommend it to serious history fans
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Oh Lord, what a bad idiotic peace of crap!!
alex-dicks7 May 2005
I saw that movie, and i was shocked! Robert Carlyle isn't Hitler he is a man who sadly tries to be Hitler. The Movie lies, it doesn't reflect the truth. In the scene were Hitler hit the guy with his gun. Hitler never had hit anybody, he wouldn't hit people with his fist, but with the fists of soldiers. Understand?? Another thing is: It is too obvious, that Hitler is that evil, he was more clever, than shown in this movie. No German would have accepted him as the leader, because the can see that he is evil. So the real Hitler haven't shown his evil side to the people.

Have any of you Yankees watched the movie "Der Untergang" or "The Dawnfall"? this is a great movie, with amazing actors. And its a German movie. I think, this Theme of Nazi-Germany, should not be realized as a movie by people who don't know anything of Germany. People! Watch "Der Untergang":


Its a great movie about a very sad period of time for human beings around the world.
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Hitler, the rise of boring and foolishness
gorgeousgreekbeauty22 May 2003
This is by far one of the most boring and horribly acted accounts of the early days of Adolf Hitler that I have ever watched. Robert Carlyle is a wonderful actor, but to cast him as Hitler is just plain wrong. To cast Liev Schrieber as Hitler's longtime friend and aid, Haefengstal must have emitted cries of despair and anguish from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. A J-W playing a Nazi supporter, bad bad bad casting. This was not an enjoyable family film with a good historical background. This was Hollywood rubbish at its finest, cashing in on the strength of a strong (but sorely under utilized) supporting cast of actors whom seemed to have all but disappeared from the acting radar in the past 5 years.

The fake German accents (vee vill vin zis var) is insulting to German people everywhere. My mother is German and she sat fuming at the sound of the voices which kept switching from American/English/German all in the same sentence. The supporting cast make better cardboard cutouts at the local video store than they do on screen. Jenna Malone as the fated Geli Raubal, was splendid though, she captured the innocence and confusion of this tragic young woman who ultimately ended her own life to escape what her future would have been like in Hitler's shadow.

If you would like a tremendously fantastic and historically accurate account of Hitler's early years leading up to and including the war/holocaust, rent "Inside the Third Reich" 1983 starring Rutger Hauer as Albert Speer and Derek Jacobi as Hitler. It was good and made more sense then this baloney.

As a historical researcher of the Third Reich I can honestly tell you, this had me reaching for my books to confirm its myriad of inaccuracies.
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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
tipplerunkus21 May 2003
"Hitler: The Rise of Evil" was shrouded in controversy before it ever aired, and that controversy may obscure the accomplishment of the film.

Those who criticzed the film, which they hadn't seen, did so with good intentions, based on the misguided thought that it would be overly sympathetic to Hitler. However, they misunderstood the point: to humanize the evil Hitler is not sympathize with him. It is far more disturbing to realize that the unspeakable acts committed by one of history's greatest villains were committed by a human being. A sick, diseased maniac, to be sure, but a human being nonetheless. It is necessary to know the story of how Hitler was able to come to power to prevent it from happening again.

"Rise of Evil" is highlighted by a brilliant, career best performance from Robert Carlyle, who makes Hitler a human being without ever redeeming him in any way. Carlyle flawlessly captures the look and mannerisms of the Nazi leader, while never letting the impersonation become cartoonish or distance us (something Anthony Hopkins was not quite able to accomplish when he portrayed Hitler in "The Bunker", another very good made-for-television film). While were are repulsed by Hitler's depravity and virulent ant-Semitism, Carlyle gives him a certain magnetism and power the real Adolf Hitler must have possesed. After all, while else would a nation have followed him?

Of the various subplots, by far the most compelling features Matthew Modine as reporter Fritz Gehrlich, who makes it his life's work to draw attention to the reality of of Hitler and Nazism. While Modine's performance is a little stilted in part 1, by part 2 he seems to have settled in, the character gives us a real-life hero in a film full of villains. Peter Stormare and Liev Schrieber also give strong support.

Part 1 of this two-part mini series suffered a little bit from being overly choppy, including a look at Hitler's childhood which lasts only the duration of the opening credits. And in part 2, sections detailing Hitler's relationship's with his niece, and his mistress Eva Braun, are less successful than the central plot, but do serve to give us further insight into his mental and emotional state.

Ultimately, no film about Hitler can make us understand him. The average person is, thankfully, incapable of ever understanding a man who would try to exterminate an entire race of people. "Hitler: The Rise of Evil" tries less to make us understand Hitler, and more to make us understand how he came to be power. It is an important story that must be told, and it is impossible to believe anyone who has seen the film would accuse it of having anything but the best of intentions, and the capability of doing anything but good.

9 out of 10. *** 1/2
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Soaring Performances Carry The Story of Hitler's Evil
Dan1863Sickles28 January 2006
I agree with many of the negative reviews posted here, for reasons I will go into later on. But this miniseries is powerful and convincing because the talented cast really captures the dark truth of Hitler's world.

Peter Stormare is perfect as Ernst Rohm, the brutal Brownshirt leader. Each scene he has with Hitler is explosive! Hitler is so evil he dominates everyone but the thuggish, primitive Rohm -- and he clearly digs Rohm for just that reason. The interplay between Stormare and Carlisle illuminates the way Hitler relished Rohm's brutality, but later sacrificed him for political reasons.

Jena Malone turns in a heartrending performance as Geli Raubal, Hitler's doomed niece and the victim of his unspeakable perversions. Without revealing any of the sexual filth directly, Jena Malone plays out all the horror of the slow extinction of a young girl's spirit. She uses her eyes and voice to suggest all the horror that will be visited on millions in the years to come. And she's brilliant! Zoe Telford very nearly matches Jena Malone with her portrayal of Eva Braun. Eva is clearly sick, cruel and heartless -- but at the same time almost pitiably dependent on her Adolph's twisted tenderness. The aborted lovemaking scene between them (hinting at the spine tingling truth of Hitler's enormous self-loathing) is both chilling and erotic.

Liev Schrieber gives a deliciously weasel-like performance as Putzi Hanfstaengel, the spineless man-about-town who is seduced by Hitler's promises of wealth and power. While a brute like Rohm simply loves the idea of crushing skulls under his boots, Schrieber's character is one of many Germans who abhors Nazi violence but can't resist the quick and easy route to money and power. His weak-willed fawning over Hitler soon loses him the respect of his wife, played with style and sensuality by the stunning and regal Julianna Margulies. They provide a true portrait of marriage and betrayal.

These performances carry the mini series along, easily overcoming occasional weaknesses in the script. There is one exception. Regrettably, Matthew Modine's acting chops just aren't up to snuff. His noble lunk-haid journalist ruins every scene he has -- the viewer can hardly wait for Rohm's brown-shirts to stomp that smug, righteous look off his ignorant, corn-pone low-rent Hollywood golden boy face. But the story still works.

Now in regard to the factual inaccuracies of the script -- Hitler's perversions and cruelty are rendered in a vibrant, compelling drama. But the battlefield record of Corporal Hitler is badly distorted. As if afraid the audience can't handle the idea of evil and courage in the same person, the writers make Hitler look like a whining coward who "begged" for an Iron Cross. As if anyone in the Kaiser's Army could get a medal just by whining about it! The movie makes it look as if Hitler were a coward in the trenches, when he was a fearless soldier. They also suggest his comrades despised him, when in reality he was widely admired by officers and enlisted men alike. The depressing thing is that the mini-series succeeds so well in representing Hitler as a monster in honest ways -- but they just couldn't resist the cheap shot.

All in all, however, Hitler: RISE OF EVIL is a soaring success highlighted by powerful performances.
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Excellent history and entertaining too
pksky121 May 2003
For a series that covers four hours and is constrained to history, this was not only educational but gripping drama too. I disagree with the popular pronouncement that this is some attempt to humanize Hitler. Hitler doesn't need humanizing, he was human and all that is necessary to fear somebody like Hitler is to understand his personal history better. This movie goes a long way towards doing that.

An important point that the series makes is that Hitler was not all there was to Nazi Germany, there was the Nazi party too and the social, historical and cultural forces that brought it into being. All these things are nicely fitted in to the story.

The cast is excellent and the acting is not bad for television and especially good for the characters we see. The cinematography -- or videography -- is excellent and little was spared to create an authentic sense of place. Costumes especially were thoughtful and well crafted.

Nazi Germany is one of those periods of history that will always have some corner that will make a good movie or good television and I hope this will not be the last.
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Hail Shitler
D.O. Hennig24 January 2009
This 1919 to 1933 Germany looks hardly like a post WWII Czech capitol. Oh sorry, it is the Czech capitol and it is 2003, how funny.

This is one of the most awful history movies in the nearest past. Röhm is a head higher than Adolf and looks so damned good, Göring looks like 40 when he just is 23 and the "Führer" always seems to look like 56. And the buildings, folks, even buildings have been young, sometimes. Especially 1919 were a lot of houses in Germany nearly new (the WWI does not reach German cities!). No crumbling plaster! Then the Reichstagsbuilding. There have never been urban canyons around this building, never. And this may sound to you all like a miracle: in the year 1933 the Greater Berlin fire brigade owns a lot of vehicles with engines, some even with turntable ladders, but none with a hand pump.

One last thing: What kind of PLAYMOBIL castle was this at the final sequence? For me this was a kind of "Adolf's Adventures in Wonderland"
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Using English instead of German was a big mistake.
hok_herman1 March 2005
I'm not sure it was the language or the poor acting, but everything about this movie feels and looks cheap and fake.

After seeing Der Untergang this is a huge disappointment. There's no connection between different scenes, and the acting is so incredibly poor I couldn't even believe people could make such a mess of something that had great potential.

And above all, everyone in Germany speaks English. Big mistake. The German language has a certain sound to it, and especially Hitler himself only sounds like Hitler when he's speaking/yelling German.

The way the story is told made me believe it was improvised on the spot, the characters were empty and the movie seems to be a collection of random events that could have happened.

Whether it's the English or the fact that I've already seen Der Untergang, everything about this movie was fake and ridiculous.
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Adolescent TV pap about Adolf has him beating a dog before the first commercial.
TheVid19 May 2003
This is strictly for those who like their history delivered via TV movies. Addie's childhood is hashed out during the opening credits, and it's obvious from there that anything complicated about his personality is going to be overshadowed in favor of a sophomoric portrait that would be better titled: Hitler, Son of Satan. A tepid TV costume drama about everyone's favorite villain. Carlyle is mediocre in it.
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Overtly demonized Hitler, once again
jillord5 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Hitler - Rise Of Evil has, despite its rather accurate historical scenery, one major problem which undermines this production. The problem is in the title already: "rise of evil". Okay, we all know the atrocities Hitler's reign committed, we all know racism, concentration camps, warmongering and alike. But despite this Adolf Hitler was just a man, he wasn't a demon or the embodiment of Ultimate Evil, the devil incarnate.

This movie's view of Hitler is exactly the same as before: Hitler is represented as a totally evil, larger-than-life archfiend. The traits of his personality are highly biased, and even historically inaccurate. Hitler wasn't a coward who begged for Iron Cross, he was in fact a maniacally fierce soldier.

And Hitler didn't scream maniacally or ogle his companions like a frog. His "political voice", the ranting, screaming and such, was just a show. Hitler's personal way of communicating was actually rather silent and contemplative. The only remaining recording of his civil voice was recorded (secretly) in Finland, when Hitler visited Finland's Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim's 75-year birthday celebration, in an attempt to secure the support of Finland against Soviet Union. This recording was used as a basis, when Bruno Ganz prepared for his extraordinary role as Hitler in the German movie Der Üntergang (Downfall), which is by far the best representation of Hitler and Nazi commanders.

In Hitler - Rise Of Evil Hitler is a freaky inhuman monster. In mentioned Downfall (and in real life) he was twisted, but still a human being. This banality is what makes Hitler's action so horrible. It would be easier to think that he was one of a kind -monster, whose "Rise Of Evil" won't happen again. He was in real life much less dramatic and unique person than his representation by Carlyle.

That is what we should fear most even today: the rise of banal evil, and the oppression, racism and loathing of common life, of common people.
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Mediocre acting, historical inaccuracy
Maakuntasatraappi3 October 2007
The back cover of the DVD (missed this one when it came out) hails Hitler -the Rise Of Evil as "A Triumph" (The New York Post) and "Mesmerizing" (Newsweek).

Well,never mind the Post but really, who ever wrote that word in Newsweek in the same context with this peace of, ahem, art should be sacked.

I don't no where to start with. Why try to paint the picture of Hitler's evil with colors that did not exist? He was evil alright, but now his character is portrayed in way that is often historically inaccurate (compared to his love of animals, the gentle and subdued way he treated women) and so on.

The actors are good, so you must feel sorry for them as they are imprisoned inside their one-dimensional characters. Some kind of curse here with Peter O' Toole: This is the second time in his honorable career when he has ended up playing an old and failed leader in a failed movie (or in this case TV-production, to be accurate). The first one was of course the legendary Galigula.

The list of historically inaccurate scenes alone would fill the 1000 words allowed by IMDb, so I think I'll leave it here.

This one is OK if it's on telly and you don't have anything else to do, but believe me - it's best left on the shelf in your local Virgin store.
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