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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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1,411 ( 65)

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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 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Austria | Italy

Language:

German | Russian | Hungarian

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:

€13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,540,118 (Germany), 17 September 2004

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,220, 18 February 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,509,040, 2 November 2013

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,180,910, 2 November 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Karl Richter, a member of the German NPD, managed to get into the movie via the normal way of being cast. He played the uncredited part of Generalfeldmarschall Keitel's adjutant. He later expressed his pleasure and satisfaction when the casting crew asked him to try on the uniform, lift his right arm and shout "Heil Hitler." The filmmakers did not know who he was and that he actually was quite experienced in performing the salute. See more »

Goofs

Axmann was an Reichsjugendführer, and his collars should have had three golden Oak leaves in the center surrounded by large laurel wreaths on red fabric. In the film it is a Gauleiter (NSDAP), and it is unlikely that he was actually a member of the Nazi party, as the collar that he wore only had golden leaves, and that insignia was used before 1939. After 1939, the Third Reich Eagle in gold was added on the collar, therefore he was wearing an outdated uniform. It's possibly that the prop designers could not find golden colored Reichsjugendführer collars, and instead decided to use Gauleiter ones. His hat is also completely wrong, it would have been similar to the one used by Dr. Joseph Goebbels. 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

German TV version features ca. 22 minutes of additional footage. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movie Villain Meltdowns (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Davon geht die Welt nicht unter
(Michael Jary / Bruno Balz)
© 1942 by Ufaton-Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
Performed by Zarah Leander
Courtesy of BMG Music Publishing Germany, Munich
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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