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Downfall (2004)

Der Untergang (original title)
Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Writers:

Bernd Eichinger (screenplay), Joachim Fest (book) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,453 ( 186)
Top Rated Movies #131 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 22 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruno Ganz ... Adolf Hitler
Alexandra Maria Lara ... Traudl Junge
Corinna Harfouch ... Magda Goebbels
Ulrich Matthes ... Joseph Goebbels
Juliane Köhler ... Eva Braun
Heino Ferch ... Albert Speer
Christian Berkel ... Prof. Ernst-Günther Schenck
Matthias Habich ... Prof. Werner Haase
Thomas Kretschmann ... Hermann Fegelein
Michael Mendl ... General Weidling
André Hennicke ... General Mohnke
Ulrich Noethen ... Heinrich Himmler
Birgit Minichmayr ... Gerda Christian
Rolf Kanies ... General Hans Krebs
Justus von Dohnányi ... General Wilhelm Burgdorf
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Storyline

In April of 1945, Germany stands at the brink of defeat with the Soviet Armies closing in from the west and south. In Berlin, capital of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler proclaims that Germany will still achieve victory and orders his Generals and advisers to fight to the last man. "Downfall" explores these final days of the Reich, where senior German leaders (such as Himmler and Goring) began defecting from their beloved Fuhrer, in an effort to save their own lives, while still others (Joseph Goebbels) pledge to die with Hitler. Hitler, himself, degenerates into a paranoid shell of a man, full of optimism one moment and suicidal depression the next. When the end finally does comes, and Hitler lies dead by his own hand, what is left of his military must find a way to end the killing that is the Battle of Berlin, and lay down their arms in surrender. Written by Anthony Hughes {husnock31@hotmail.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

April 1945, a nation awaits its...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Justus Von Dohnanyi, who portrayed General Wilhelm Burgdorf, is the grandson of Hans Von Dohnanyi, one of the members of the anti-Hitler conspiracy, who was hanged in Sachsenhausen concentration camp in September 1944. Through his grandfather's marriage, he was also the grand-nephew of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, another anti-Hitler conspirator who was hanged in the Flossenburg concentration camp. In 2003, Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, granted Hans Von Dohnanyi the title of Righteous Among the Nations. See more »

Goofs

After Adolf Hitler's conference on 22 April, when it was announced that Steiner's assault did not happen, Hitler and his entourage exited to the corridor where all kinds of people were waiting. Amongst them a Großadmiral (the equivalent of a 5-Star or Grand Admiral). The only two Grand Admirals during the Third Reich were Eric Raeder, who had resigned from his command post earlier and was not in the Führerbunker during the last days, and Karl Dönitz, who had his headquarters in Flensburg in Northern Germany, far away from Berlin. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Traudl Junge: I've got the feeling that I should be angry with this child, this young and oblivious girl. Or that I'm not allowed to forgive her for not seeing the nature of that monster. That she didn't realise what she was doing. And mostly because I've gone so obliviously. Because I wasn't a fanatic Nazi. I could have said in Berlin, "No, I'm not doing that. I don't want to go the Führer's headquarters." But I didn't do that. I was too curious. I didn't realise that fate would lead me ...
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Crazy Credits

After the final credits there is a statement by the real Traudl Jung about her feelings of guilt and responsibility. In the British Cinema release, this is moved to before the credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

Extended version includes 22 minutes of additional footage. See more »

Connections

Version of Moloch (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Blutrote Rosen
(Hermann Hünemeyer / Alfred Krönkemeier)
Performed by Marek Weber and Orchestra
Courtesy of Musikverlag Ruthe
See more »

User Reviews

A truer rendition of Hitler I've never seen...
15 September 2004 | by adammezeiSee all my reviews

Not since perhaps Rod Steiger's portrayal of Benito Mussolini in Moustapha Akkad's LION OF THE DESERT (1980) have I seen a notorious dictator more realistically acted than Bruno Ganz's stunning display as "Der Fuerer" in The Downfall (2004).

Sitting amongst a full-house of patrons here at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival's 2004 edition, Ganz captivated the local audience with the scariest Hitler I've ever seen up on the silver screen -- better than Noah Taylor's English Hitler in MAX just a couple of years back.

Audience members get a glimpse into the final days of Hitler's rule from the bunker deep beneath the Reich Chancellery in Nazi Berlin's dying days. The defeated spirit of the Nazis -- covered extensively in the history books -- has seldomly been more penetratingly shown on the Big Screen. Bravo to director Oliver Hirschbiegel for doing this the right (German) way -- for intrepidly tackling a period piece few German producers might.

I'd had a chance to chat with the actors post-screening, with lead actress Alexandra Maria Lara (playing Traudl Junge) candidly admitting the sheer amount of work she'd diligently invested in bringing her character to life -- doubtless complicated by the death of Frau Junge in 2002. Her research, however, was clearly impeccable and left no stone unturned. Corinna Harfouch wasn't on hand -- as Magda Goebbels. Pity because in many respects, she convincingly stole the show.

So rarely do we see Hitler on screen in modern days to allow us a glimpse into the horrifying nature of a madman bent on global domination. We all know the end of this story, but seldom does a film so masterfully suspend your disbelief than does The Downfall in making you wonder just how the Third Reich might end. Historical fiction might never be the same.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Germany | Austria | Italy

Language:

French | English | German | Russian

Release Date:

8 April 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Downfall See more »

Filming Locations:

Russia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,195, 20 February 2005

Gross USA:

$5,509,040

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,181,574
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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