7.4/10
13,319
56 user 62 critic

Before the Fall (2004)

Napola - Elite für den Führer (original title)
In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich ... See full summary »

Director:

Dennis Gansel

On Disc

at Amazon

8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Five friends go out to war and promise each other to be back for Christmas.

Stars: Volker Bruch, Tom Schilling, Katharina Schüttler
The Wave (2008)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A high school teacher's experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own.

Director: Dennis Gansel
Stars: Jürgen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt
Free Fall (2013)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A soon-to-be-father policeman falls for a gay fellow officer and his life starts falling apart.

Director: Stephan Lacant
Stars: Hanno Koffler, Max Riemelt, Attila Borlan
Before the Fall I (2016)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A re-imagining of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" set in modern day, rural Virginia with Elizabeth Bennet as a man. Ben Bennet is an affluent but seemingly arrogant attorney who ... See full summary »

Director: Byrum Geisler
Stars: Ethan Sharrett, Chase Conner, Brandi Price
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An aimless university dropout attempts to make sense of life as he spends one fateful day wandering the streets of Berlin.

Director: Jan Ole Gerster
Stars: Tom Schilling, Katharina Schüttler, Justus von Dohnányi
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A woman tries to survive the invasion of Berlin by the Soviet troops during the last days of World War II.

Director: Max Färberböck
Stars: Nina Hoss, Evgeniy Sidikhin, Irm Hermann
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Five friends spend their holidays on a faraway island in the sea. On the last day of the holidays, out of the blue, Björn informs his friends that he will not return home but intends to ... See full summary »

Director: Luki Frieden
Stars: Max Riemelt, Maximilian Simonischek, Thierry van Werveke
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Max Riemelt ... Friedrich Weimer
Tom Schilling ... Albrecht Stein
Jonas Jägermeyr Jonas Jägermeyr ... Christoph Schneider
Leon A. Kersten Leon A. Kersten ... Tjaden (as Leon Alexander Kersten)
Thomas Drechsel Thomas Drechsel ... Hefe
Martin Goeres ... Siegfried Gladen
Florian Stetter ... Justus von Jaucher
Devid Striesow ... Vogler
Joachim Bißmeier Joachim Bißmeier ... Anstaltsleiter
Michael Schenk ... Sportlehrer
Justus von Dohnányi Justus von Dohnányi ... Gauleiter Heinrich Stein (as Justus von Dohnàny and Justus von Dohnányi)
Claudia Michelsen ... Frau Stein
Julie Engelbrecht ... Katharina (as Julie Marie Engelbrecht)
Johannes Zirner ... Torben Send
Alexander Held Alexander Held ... Friedrichs Vater
Edit

Storyline

In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich enrolls, seeing this as his ticket out of factory life to university and a good salary. During his year in seventh column (fifth form), this innocence is altered as Friedrich encounters hazing, cruelty, death, and the Nazi code. His friendship with Albrecht, the ascetic son of the area's governor, is central to this education; a night in the forest hunting for escaped Russian POWs brings things to a head. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Men Make History. We Make The Men.

Genres:

Drama | Sport | Thriller | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

13 January 2005 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Before the Fall See more »

Filming Locations:

Hamburg, Germany See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,036, 9 October 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$144,065, 21 May 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| |

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite its English title "Before the Fall",this German anti-war film actually has the acronyme "NaPolA" for the original title.Outside the English-speaking countries it was distributed and broadcasted under the original German title,namely,"NaPolA". See more »

Goofs

At least one of the Napola boxers and one of the training officers have pierced ears. Very unlikely, this being set in Nazi Germany. See more »

Quotes

Albrecht Stein: [reading from his essay] "As childish as it sounds, the winter time and the sight of freshly fallen snow always fill us with inexplicable joy. Perhaps because as children, we associated it with Christmas. I always imagine myself the hero who killed dragons, rescued virgins, and freed the world from evil. As we went out yesterday to find the prisoners, I felt like that little boy who wanted to save the world."
Vogler: Albrecht, stop.
Albrecht Stein: But as we returned, I understood that I am part of the evil that I ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in 2006 Glitter Awards (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Should have been a contender for 'best foreign film'
14 January 2005 | by pawebsterSee all my reviews

Contains slight spoilers.

This is one of a new breed of German films (like 'The Downfall') that takes a new look at the Nazi period. It is not afraid to show how attractive Nazism actually seemed to most Germans at the time and to show 'nice' characters happily giving the Hitler salute. Not that the film is in any way pro-Nazi -- quite the reverse.

Here we have a story about an élite school for future Nazi leaders. A working-class boy who is good at boxing is given a place there, where he makes friends with the sensitive son of the local Nazi leader. The brutality of the system eventually pushes both of them to become outsiders. Two suicides tellingly punctuate the story.

The acting is outstanding throughout, especially by the young stars of the film. Max Riemelt is particularly good as the boxer. The character is meant to be a doer rather than a thinker, unlike his friend, but Riemelt manages the transition from easy-going and rather empty-headed Hitler youth to someone who is prepared to stand against the inhumanity of Nazism.

The plot contains some powerful dramatic set pieces, such as the scene with the hand grenades and the one where the students dive under a frozen lake. These are brilliantly handled by the director and screenwriter, Dennis Gansel. He manages to bring out the full drama of them without overdoing it or lurching into melodrama or pathos.

I'm not generally a great fan of German films, many of which tend to be either self-consciously arty or trashily commercial. This is the best one I've seen since Das Boot.


82 of 97 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 56 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed