Dresden (TV Movie 2006) Poster

(2006 TV Movie)

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Good entertainment, not to be taken too seriously
markkinn1 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As an English man living in Germany, it was interesting to see a German made production on the historical events surrounding the bombing of Dresden. One needs to understand, this is not a documentary, it is for the masses, so one should treat it as such. As an Englishman in Germany, I always hear one side, the Brits were war criminals, it, the bombing should never have been allowed. I mention this to my British relatives and friends and they have completely the opposite view. To give credit, the film provides both sides of the argument. It shows Bomber Harris giving his opinions as well as the reservations of some of his subordinates. It shows the horror of the bombings on the civilians. It shows the persecution of many persons including Jews and the extreme depravity of the Nazi regime. Combined with a rather hard to believe love story (Robert appearing at Anna's engagement party, dressed as a Nazi), it was fun entertainment backed by some significant history. Remember, as a love story with some history, it reached a much larger target audience than a pure documentary would have done. And it was entertaining and a tear jerker, at least for my wife. So lay off, it's good decent entertainment, whilst bringing over some of the historical background.
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Dresden - fire from the skies and love in the earth
andrabem28 March 2007
This film, as you can guess from the title, is about the destruction of Dresden by the RAF (Royal Aircraft), but in reality this is only the background for the love story lived by a British pilot fighter whose plane was shot down and a German nurse in Dresden. Well, a dramatic story all down the line! When I went to the video store I found on the shelf a DVD called "Dresden - O Inferno" (the title in Portuguese) and my curiosity was raised when I discovered that it was a German film. I had no information at all about the director, actors etc, but I took my chances and rented the film. When I arrived home I discovered through IMDb that this was a television film. After this bit of information I was not expecting much of the film in spite of some good reviews. Well, I think that for those that don't care too much about logic, it's worth a watch.

What makes this film interesting is that you'll see the bombing of Dresden from the German point of view. As it is a television film "Dresden" was made for the big audience and not for intellectuals. How would the Germans describe the bombing of Dresden? How would they portray the allies? The film tries to be objective - it shows the gruesome details of the destruction of Dresden and shows as well the nazi terror dominant in Hitler's last days. It has a cast of British and German actors and doesn't try to demonize either side. It's much more concerned with the love story lived by the British pilot with the German nurse than with historical details and it's an appeal for peace and understanding. The plot is as full of holes as a swiss cheese, sometimes bordering on the incredible. But if you employ some suspension of disbelief "Dresden" will move you. There's good acting, good cinematography and the sweet Felicitas Woll.
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very moving and something that I haven't experienced in a long time
Joanne-Rachael10 March 2006
What a change from the usual rather run-of-the-mill dramas I'm used to on ZDF.

I wasn't expecting too much, but was hooked from the first minute. I was really pleased to see a good healthy mixture of well-known actors, however I did get the feeling that sometimes the concept and trauma of the whole idea was too overwhelming for even them to actually carry it off believably. I got the feeling that it was mentally exhausting for all involved.

That's the only negative point, but I understand that this subject is such a sensitive one, one that reflected everybody's personal feelings. If no-one feels sensitive about an issue such as this, then we are all in trouble in the future.

I felt that John Light definitely did it for me with his (apparent) stoicism, when all the time the shock and horror of what is actually happening , almost in a surreal way, unfolds beyond his (characters') eyes and becomes more and more embedded in the soul. The idea of being a victim when the "good guys" are actually bombing the hell out of the place you're stuck in, puts a very different subjective aspect on the story. The poignancy reflected in the story on both sides had me very moved for a long time. Of course there are many aspects and issues that were maybe left with the surface barely scratched, but many issues were definitely broached, and that's what counts. How do you condense a culmination of 6 years of war into one "short" TV-event? Answer, it's nigh-on impossible, but the effort was made very bravely, well-done.

A great deal of thought-provoking moments and a no-win situation were another top point, where I feel these sorts of films, be it romance, drama, documentary or otherwise should never cease. We unfortunately need the horrific visions, (and the brain can conjure up plenty of horrific scenes without actually having to have everything laid out on a plate, the essence is important, the rest can and often has to be left to the imagination, one of our most powerful resources) to remind ourselves of how terrible things can become, because human beings are very forgetful of just what has happened in the past and never should happen again.

I was very glad to have watched this drama and will definitely be recommending it further.
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A welcoming change...
duffy04714 May 2007
Following a friend's advice, I just finished watching "Dresden".

"Dresden" deals with two major themes: one dealing with the war itself, showing the German civilians living day to day in fear of severe retaliation on behalf of the British RAF. It also shows how the British pilots, who risk their lives to bomb the enemy, and how ruthless the Nazi's were.

The other theme is a fragment of the previous theme, showing a love-story between a stranded British pilot and a German civilian nurse working in a local hospital during the war.

Hence of course why this film is called "Dresden"; not because of the city but because of anyone and anything taking place in the city of Dresden.

Also worth to mention is that "Dresden" is unlike other Hollywood movies dealing World War 2. It's not meant to only entertain the viewer but to educate as well. This is partially done by some intense dramatic moments and painful, shocking detailed images.

About the rest of the movie; I was surprised by the good acting performances done by a relative unknown cast. At least I don't know any of them. It also was quite obvious that a large budget was available, looking at the good quality of production when keeping in mind that "Dresden" is 'only' a TV-movie.

Conclusion: if you want to learn something more about World War 2 while 'witnessing' it from another point of view and at the same time enjoying an intriguing story about two 'enemies' falling in love, then "Dresden" is something for you.

If you want American patriotism, a single sided view on World War 2 and lots of entertainment, then I'm sure that there are plenty of Hollywood-films out there.

My score, keeping in mind it's 'only' a TV-film: 8 out of 10.
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Shocking, breathtaking, brilliant
somethingsmissing7 March 2006
It was hard watching the film because it contained so much pain and fear that you could actually "feel" it. The filmmakers did a really good job by showing the "reality" of the war because "Dresden" is damn realistic. Maybe sometimes a bit too much and you often ask yourself if it was definitely necessary to show all these cruel details.

But the film also does not just consist of the usual love story between two people who are actually not allowed to love each other but rather tries to show through that love both sides of the attack - the German and the British side. And that fact makes the film kinda special because it really works.
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Not for students of WW2
roger-simmons194217 February 2009
I was hoping this would be of the calibre of Das Boot and echo the stark realism created by acclaimed German Director Leni RiefenStahl in her documentaries, sadly I was monumentally disappointed. The story line is implausible and defies credulity. An RAF airman is shot down and somehow finds his way to a hospital in Dresden. Anna a nurse whose father runs the hospital and is about to become engaged to a doctor she works with falls in love with the airman and they make love. The next evening at a lavish engagement party the airman turns up disguised as a German officer and dances with Anna. Although well directed and acted, to me it is soap opera of the lowest order.
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Good to see for anyone who's interested in the bombing of Dresden
rfahl15 March 2006
I have no idea how historically accurate this movie is, but it gives a good idea of what the bombing of Dresden was like. Yes, there's all sorts of drama and even romance woven into the plot. To me that's expected, otherwise it would be a documentary and maybe even boring. It's really well done for a TV film. The acting is good. The storyline is believable. The effects are very realistic. I don't think this movie was made so that Germans can feel sorry for their suffering under Hitler. Instead, I think it's an acknowledgement of the suffering and it gives the current and future generations a view of the horror of the past. I wish there were stuff of this caliber made for American TV. I hope this gets released with English subtitles so that English speaking audiences get to see it.
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Excellent cast in a convincing anti-war drama
moonatnight9 March 2006
A fictional love drama set on the background of Dresden at the end of World War II achieves to illuminate the complexity of human characters under the life-threatening terror of the Nazi-regime and the war.

The excellent cast with Felicitas Woll, John Light and Benjamin Sadler as main figures involve the viewer into a very personal drama. As the screenplay avoids black-and-white-painting, multi-layered characters invite the viewer to a differentiating point of view.

Realistic fire-scenes, carefully computer-animated flying-sequences and the participation of both British and German historians in pre-production contribute to a gripping movie about a sensitive point in German history.
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a touching drama against the backdrop of Nazi Germany
elcilorien2 June 2006
This is an excellent miniseries that does a wonderful job at portraying the ambivalence of war. Because we follow characters in both England and Germany, we see that neither side is completely to blame for the horrors of WWII, however, neither is completely innocent either. Apart from that, this movie should not be seen as a documentary of the bombing of Dresden. Although the movie is titled "Dresden," it follows characters more than history, though one does learn a little of that as well. Highly recommended for warm characters and a touching drama. This is the kind of movie that you can't stop thinking about days after you've seen it.
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Though being called "Dresden", the city only makes a guest appearance
lual8 March 2006
Just like Kleiner_Fuchs after watching this movie and other recent Teamworxx productions like "Sturmflut" I thought that, had Cameron not made "Titanic", these people would probably not rely so heavily on the ever repeated formula of a fictional doomed love with a hazardous historical background (though this is by no means a new concept). Contrary to my predecessor I think that in "Titanic" this worked out fine. But this may be mainly because a ship is a so much smaller microcosm than a city and the actual historical figures,though playing minor parts in the story pop up every few minutes.

It might have worked in "Dresden" as well, had not been the focus so strictly on the English pilot and the Mauth family (plus a few scenes with Annas co-worker and her Jewish partner). From what I have read and seen on TV and listened to I have learned that there are so many interesting and heartbreaking actual stories. I think the makers of the movie should have worked more of them in for it was obvious in the movie that the parts that were the most shocking were the ones that were based on real events - just sad, that they were so few of them.

Also, since the movie was so very focused on a love story that obviously not many people cared about, the structure of this mini-series was somehow awkward. Why make a two-parter about the bombing of Dresden if the bombers don't actually leave the ground until the last scene of part one and only reach the city halfway into part two? Had this been cut down by an hour and shown as one 2-hour TV-movie I believe it might have had a greater impact.

Still I give this movie 6 stars, because the final 45 minutes actually do work. Of course, the focus is mainly an Anna and the two men running around in the city with her but there are many touching and horrifying scenes in which we as viewers get a little insight into how terrible and traumatizing it must have been to be at this place in this night. Sure, the actual events were still much worse and to tell survivors after viewing this one understands what it was like in Dresden is insulting, but it is mostly in small scenes like the one where a group of people asks a young soldier to shoot them because nobody will survive this anyhow, that I felt a big lump in my throat and got a better understanding of the horror than in the (arguably well done for a TV production) scenes of the inferno.

Tha final scene in which the rebuilt Frauenkirche is re-inaugurated worked for me. I think I understood a lot better now, after watching this movie, how important the building was for the people of Dresden, and why for many of the survivors it was a symbol of their wounds slowly healing and coming to terms with these traumatizing events.

But as a whole, this movie is not about "Dresden", thus it should not have this title. It is just about a bunch of uninteresting poorly written, cliché-based cardboard characters that are, though being mostly played by very competent actors, so completely unappealing, that they ruin the movie.
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kleiner_fuchs7 March 2006
James Cameron is to blame. In his 1997 hit "Titanic" he used, in a rather tasteless way, a real-life tragedy as backdrop for a larger-than-life love story. Now some stupid German TV producers wanted to do just the same and came up with something even more tasteless.

The first thing I noticed while watching this much anticipated "TV event" was, that all the British spoke German. I wondered why that British pilot in Dresden tried to avoid talking to Germans, because when he spoke, it was always in perfect German without any accent (I might add, that in the "Making-of" features which promoted the film beforehand, it was pointed out that only British actors were cast for the British parts, for greater authenticity). Have you people never heard of the concept of "subtitling"?

The story of this film comes straight out of our favorite handbook "How to write a screenplay for beginners", so everything is trite, obvious and corny, from the way our heroine meets her hero just as she is about to get engaged, to the point where she is miraculously re-united with her dying father so he can whisper "I'm sorry" before drawing his last breath... And as you might expect, the directing is as trite and unimaginative as is the story.

When it comes to the bombing, there is a lot of explosions and fire, which is not the least impressive, as we have seen better explosions and bigger fires in hundreds of Hollywood films. Of course they throw in some gore (but not too much, as this is supposed to be prime time material), so no one can blame them of not having shown the "real" horror of war.

Some thing I liked was the cast and the acting, especially that of some of the supporting actors, for example Wolfgang Stumph as a priest and Katharina Meinecke as Annas mother. I really liked Susanne Bormann as the heroine's sister. I'd rather have followed her through the film instead of Felicitas Woll's Anna, that annoying prig who never hesitates to dump her fiancé (without telling him, of course) in favour of a handsome Englishman she barely knows. Oh, how I hate this kind of women.
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One of the biggest disappointments...
wollpulli6 March 2006
Dresden had great expectations because of its spectacular theme and its high budget. I was really looking forward to it and I really wanted it to be good... but it is not. The only good thing are the special effects that are very well done, but, like in a really bad Hollywood blockbuster, everything else is missing.

It is poorly written, the screenplay tries to fulfill genre-rules with standard suspense/love- story elements but there is no depth or originality at all. It's way below average. The next thing: It is also poorly directed. It has this uninteresting TV-directing-Style with lots of close-ups and wanna-be-great-action by fast editing where actually no action or suspense is. The actors are not bad but there is no performance that is touching in any way.

I don't know... they obviously try to do a typical TV-movie and not a film for the cinema, where its alway good to have some edges and a clear visual style. But why do they try to fulfill typical commercial Hollywood-rules? it really feels like the screenwriter did a weekend- class with some American scriptwriting-guru and then delivered this mess. Is there no producer who is responsible for the project who has an interest in dramaturgy/ visual style or plain in simple this magical cinematic moments that make some TV-Movies great ?!? Do they think that an TV-audience is stupid and doesn't need to get a high quality- movie experience? The Downfall was a very good example for a good TV-movie but there was probably some executive or producer who knew what he was doing.

Don't waste you time with this one, rent "downfall" instead...
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Tedious Lumbering Bore
P_Cornelius28 January 2008
This film took up three hours, including commercials, on the History International Channel last night. But it felt like three weeks. It wasn't the cheap, stagy and unintentionally funny depictions of the bombing of Dresden. It wasn't that the film is stripped of almost all context surrounding World War II. It wasn't even that the bombing itself was often made to appear as nothing more than a major inconvenience for a goofy love story. No, it was the wooden featureless characterizations that sucked the life out of the story. Oh, and the fact that if it is possible for a movie to be obsequious, then Dresden is that movie. Perhaps a better title would have been DRESDEN--AS URIAH HEEP WOULD HAVE EXPERIENCED IT.

It is especially the latter point that so irritates. Was the bombing of Dresden a war crime? The makers of this movie believe so. But in the typically emasculated way that Germans have come to approach World War II, they can't bring themselves to say so without braying about "peace" and "no more wars--anywhere" like they're Mother Teresa. And, also typical of German obsequiousness towards the British in particular, there is an unwieldy effort to grovel before "Britishness", while loading all the "guilt" for Dresden on to one person, Arthur Harris.

Did I say one person? Well, not quite. At the beginning of the movie, there is an exclamation from the leading character, Anna, with whom we are all supposed to sympathize. "Damned Americans!", she screams, while watching as far off bombs fall. And a few minutes later, a radio voice intones warnings about the "American Terror Bombing" being inflicted upon Germans.

Note the word, "terror". Got that? It's really the Americans behind the inhumane targeting of German civilians. No matter that the American strategy for almost all the war in Europe was the "precision" bombing of industrial and war manufacturing sites. No matter that it was the British who enthusiastically adopted "area" bombing of civilian targets in Germany--before the Germans had themselves even targeted English ones. No matter that the Americans bombed during the day, suffering more casualties in the process than the British, in order to hit precision targets, while the British bombed civilians under the cover of night. No matter that the Americans, essentially, were brought into the RAF's true terror bombing campaign kicking and screaming against it. No matter that most American officials, from FDR to Gen. Dolittle, opposed targeting civilians, while Churchill and his generals couldn't wait to do so.

No, in DRESDEN, both the Germans and British, except for "Bomber" Harris, are innocent of a doctrine, it is intimated, created by the evil Americans. And only the might and power of a love story between a German nurse and a downed British bomber pilot can adequately explain the "truth" of the atrocity. Right.

Oh, by the way, for the younger and likely less well read readers of IMDb, the first and still so far only major literary effort to give a thoughtful voice to Dresden's bombing was the pacifist novel penned by Kurt Vonnegut--an American POW in Dresden at the time of the bombing. I guess Germany's ZDF couldn't find a pretty nurse for Billy Pilgrim.
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Promiscuous nurse and porn-grade scriptwriting
Simon Maverick11 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is without a doubt, the worst steaming nut-filled turd I have seen in YEARS.

Apart from the fact that this caricature of a movie doesn't even attempt to take the bombing of Dresden seriously, it tries to make up for its historical inaccuracy with a highly improbable "love story". When I say "improbable love story" I mean something that would not happen in a million years.

Most of the movie revolves around 2 characters, Anna and Robert. Anna is a German nurse who in the first few scenes of the movie expresses her disgust towards Americans and their "campain of terror". Laughable, considering that it was in fact the British who started bombing civilian areas in WW2. Anyway... Rober on the other hand is a British pilot who happens to get shot down over Dresden and after a rough landing decides to nonchalantly hide inside a German hospital where Anna works.

Long, tedious and nauseating story cut short, Anna falls in "love" with him and decides to take her panties off and let him have some fun while her intelligent and hard working fiancé is probably out there somewhere healing injured German soldiers. Later on she decides to dump her fiancé altogether and run off with this charming(not) Brit and... the rest is not even worth mentioning. Stories like that belong on the corner of streets "Possibility 0%" and "downright creepy".

Apart from the cheesy romance, if you can even call it that, the movie completely fails to capture the true horror of the 1945 Dresden bombing. The scenes are rushed, the special effects are completely and utterly crap and acting so wooden, it belongs with movies like Wiseau's 'The Room' and Ed Wood's 'Plan 9: From Outer Space'.

This movie is a complete insult to the survivors of the Dresden Bombings and if you're looking for a decent war movie... then go watch "Das Boot" or "Downfall" but please, stay away from this one.
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mattywray9910 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Although on the whole i thought the movie was good and showed a good account of what happened in Dresden that night, there are many goofs involving the Lancaster's. When Robert enters his Lancaster through the rear door, he turns left, as such he is heading to the rear gunners position not the pilots seat at the front of the aircraft. Not 2 minutes later when he is taking off he advances the aircrafts throttles on his own, Lancaster pilots did not do this as they had to use both hands on the control column to get the aircraft airborne, and operate the wheel brake on the control column to stop the wheels spinning so they could be retracted, the Flight engineer would advance the throttles with the pilot and then take over when the pilot gets the plane airborne. Moving on to the end of the film, the morning after the main raid, American bombers, and long range fighters attacked the city, machine gunning people, and bombing what was left of the ruined city. However the film is a bit too much like titanic in its plot focusing on a love story rather than what actually happened.
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great movie who made you understand history
moni-3411 March 2006
I think a documentary about the bombing of Dresden would not have had the same effect. When you are taken along in a story and you start to identify with the people involved the impact of the Dresden bombardment makes you understand and you sure will remember it. I did not like the fact that the movie was totally in German on TV - well why had they chosen English actors for the English roles then. But I was very happy with the DVD now as here I got what I had expected and which made the whole movie more real. The English really spoke English and the English pilot had the English accent when speaking his role. I have seen Dresden in 1992 and I have seen it today with the newly built church. But born in 1970 I had not much of an idea of what really had happened during WW II there. This movie made me understand. And I really liked that it showed both sides - The German and The English.
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Too much romance, too less bombs
agusti30 August 2006
When you are going to watch a movie called "Dresden", it's logical to think that historical bombing of Dresden must be the main argument in it. Unfortunately in this movie the bombing is almost residual in its plot.

We can see a beautiful (but unbelievable) love story between a British officer of the RAF and a pretty German nurse (all in a few days). No real problem about this, but for my was a disappoint because I waited for something different, for more history and less story.

Finally, bombing of the city happens, of course, but it results no impressive. It was one of the most terrible bombings made in history, but in my opinion this is not reflected in the movie, and this is the main cause of its fail.

Briefing, not a bad movie, but if you want to see a war movie or a disaster movie, try another.
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Jeez, not again!!
LordOfTheForest6 March 2006
What a bloody nuisance! You can't get on subjects like these with TV budgets and some smartass director who can't tell the difference between a Lanc I, II and III. All the silly clichés are well in place; on the character and human level the story is so schmaltzy and unbelievable it hurts. And all those responsible get carried away with joy for the brilliant ratings. Tech details: rubbish. Lancs flying that close would have kicked each other out of the sky by the dozen. Single engined night fighters attacking line astern: ridiculous. As I said: made up by a director who I bet never even heard the name Lancaster before that project and some kid 3D guys who turned Lancs into waddling ducks. But these are minor things compared to the overall mediocrity of this film. Although it might be too harsh I dare say this hurts the memory of those who died on both sides. TV crap, entertaining the dumb masses who don't care anyway. Shame on those responsible. Use your brains next time. And enjoy the profit you made from it.
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Bad! Boring! Typically German!
Christian Heynk7 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I only saw the first part of this and concluded that I wouldn't miss anything if I didn't watch the second episode. The cinematography was OK, but apart from this, the plot was just as commonorgarden and run-of-the-mill as any other war story. The actors and actresses play their characters without any passion, and the make up is really bad (Heiner Lauterbach with his white hair and Kai Wiesinger respectively, as if some dyed white hair could give them more dignity and common sense). I mean if you've watched more than two or three movies about WWII (as most of us have) then you'd only go to the trouble of seeing a third or fourth one if it promises some new insights or twists in the plot. But Roland Suso Richter seems to afraid of doing so, you can almost smell his fear of not living up to the bourgeois and jejune expectations of the conservative ZDF TV channel while watching this movie. Millions of Euros were spent to perpetuate boring and unimaginative German film-making. These millions of dollars could have been spent to make three or four independent movies, but no, let's give to some director who'll make a film that tells people that war can be explained by rational means. My advice: Read Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut instead. They'll tell you what war is like! Or give me one million Euros and I make a better film than this load of BS! And another thing: Why is it that German movies only get to be nominated for the Oscars when the movie deals with WWII or the Holocaust? Probably because that is the only thing German film-making is good at. And that should get us thinking, shouldn't it?
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Not impactful at all
Warning: Spoilers
"Dresden" is a German film from 2006, so it has its 10th anniversary this year. The director is Roland Suso Richter and if you know the name, you also know what to expect: He is a trademark director for opulent historically-themed movies for the small screen. And this is exactly what this is. It consists of two 90-minute episodes and deals with life in the city of Dresden at the end of World War II. People with an interest in history will immediately make the connection that Dresden is possibly the one city in Germany that was destroyed the most by the allied attacks. And a part of this movie is exactly about this. Another reviewer wrote about the historical importance of the film, but I cannot agree with this at all. While the war (action) scenes are probably still one of the better aspects of the film, it never makes an impact from a documentary perspective and it basically just sets a forgettable background for the bland stories of the main characters.

The biggest character is portrayed by Felicitas Woll. I personally see her as a charismatic actress that is really beautiful (which saved the film a bit) but has no range. But you can't really blame her either for the generic way the character was written. Male main characters are played by John Light, Benjamin Sadler and Heiner Lauterbach and these last two are the perfect example of actors that shine through recognition value instead of range. I cannot say anything about Light as I have not seen him in other works. Sadly, Jürgen Heinrich, who I liked, has not a lot of screen time at all. Marie Bäumer also fits the description I gave earlier. Charismatic. recognition value. But not particularly talented.

The story is the film's biggest problem. In the end, nothing stays memorable about this film at all, not from a historic perspective and certainly not about the characters. There are several cringeworthy scenes though when it comes to drama like Lauterbach's character's farewell (suddenly a good guy out of nowhere???) or Sadler's shooting scene at the very end almost that could have been so much better (again, Sadler is not to blame, but the blatancy of the filmmakers in their unsuccessful attempt to create something relevant). The worst part of the film is probably the romance though. Again, it is not the actors' fault, but it already starts in the way Woll's and Light's characters meet when he saves a boy from committing suicide after Sadler's character was very cold towards the grieving boy before. These are the scenes where the film is nothing more than a schmaltzy romantic drama and even if the filmmakers' intention to turn this into something more is visibly throughout the entire film, it is really almost never successful. Another painful moment was the ending when they went for a semi-happy ending (the birth, but the death) and tried to convince the audience that a non-gooey ending is something that prevents the film from being forgettable romantic schmaltz. It does not. I don't recommend the watch as it offers very little of quality and instead drags on so many occasions because of characters that were written in an uninspired fashion and without shades.
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Don't do to others what you don't want others do to you
jvdesuit13 March 2014
The Allies have constantly accused quite rightly the Axe and especially the Nazis to break the Geneva convention which explicitly forbids to attack cities representing no real threat in the course of a war.

At the end of the war the allies did exactly what they reproached to their enemies, by bombing Dresden then Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This movie shows what it was to live with that constant threat over one's head and the consequences of the massive bombing of the town. Of course there are goofs, of course there are situations which are mostly improbable or impossible to happen in such situations. But it's not the point and the important thing in such a movie.

The important thing is to make conscious young generations who were not even born during WWII of the horrors of war, of hate, of excess nationalism and sense of superiority which all leads to such situation and their terrible aftermath.

In 1962 I was 21 and I spent 3 months in Reutlingen, a town near Stuttgart. The family who was my host were former residents of Dresden. They had lost everything. In the rumbles of the house totally destroyed Mrs. Kaiser had recovered a beautiful blue crystal vase. Under the tremendous heat of the bombs, the vase had become oval from its original cylinder shape. I then really understood what it must have been.

There's nothing more to say. We have all of us Allies and especially, England, the USA, Russia and our enemy Germany, all without exception, committed a major war crime. We punished one side and had not the courage to face facts and do the same for our side. This is not excusable whatever the motives presented.

I'm of this generation who has a full responsibility for the occurrence of WWII and its huge massacre. The Allies especially the French (I'm French) and England for having set up the Versailles treaty and the reparations plan they persisted to have brought to its total accomplishment, ruining the German economy and by doing so setting up the conditions for an extremist mad man to exacerbate the nationalism and the desire for vengeance of the German nation. You never, never take a positive result from hatred, desire of revenge, by humiliating your enemy. Israel today is exactly doing the same mistakes with the Palestinians, the USA by thinking they know best and never make mistakes and by their contempt of others civilizations and culture. All these crazy behaviors are slowly setting up the conditions for future deflagrations, but if these occurs they will not last 5 or 6 years but a few hours and the result will be an empty planet....
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A Ministering Angel, Thou.
Robert J. Maxwell6 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The central figure in this series is Felicitas Woll, a young nurse in a Dresden hospital who secretly helps a wounded British pilot, John Light, out of simple decency and then falls in love with him, despite her imminent marriage to a rather stiff doctor. It's all about her. And she carries it off nicely, cheerfully for the most part. If at first she looks a little chubby, after a few minutes of exposure she comes to resemble Meg Ryan with her gay smile. She has the most engaging nose too. Unremarkable except at its tip where its ordinary slope forms an impudent lump.

It's a lengthy miniseries mostly in German with English subtitles. I wish more Americans were able to see this because it's intelligent, and many American's don't seem to get out much, and the younger among us don't hear much about Dresden. They're lucky if they know who fought who in World War II. Really. Forty percent of high school seniors think the US fought with the Nazis against the Russians in WW2. That's high school seniors, mind you.

Back to the film. Like many mini-series it has multiple sub plots and an abundance of improbabilities. There's a nice couple, the Goldbergs, still surviving in Dresden because the wife is not a Jew. Yes, there were still Jews at large in Germany. One of the survivors of Dresden was the diarist Victor Klemperer, cousin to Otto, the conductor, and Werner Klemperer, or Colonel Klink as he's better known.

There is Felicitas Woll's family -- an upright doctor/father who is trying desperately to bribe the way for his wife and daughters to Basel. (Kids, Basel is in Switzerland. Switzerland was neutral in World War II. It's usually neutral in war time because nobody wants a bunch of mountains, cows and cuckoo clocks.) They don't make it. Felicitas' love affair with the British pilot doesn't survive the immediate post-war period.

I can't describe all of the details of all of the sub plots. The acting is unimpeachable and the photography and CGIs are outstanding for a TV production. When Dresden has been turned into an inferno, we don't simply see buildings on fire. We see wind machine whipping burning pieces of debris and sometimes people through the air with hurricane force winds.

And there are some unusual touches. When bombs leave the Lancasters, they cause the release mechanisms to rattle. It's a small thing but no one has bothered with it before. And when there is the flash of a distant explosion, it takes a second or two for the WHOOM to reach the viewers. The dropping of the red and green flares by the Pathfinder Mosquitoes has the awesome, benign beauty of a fireworks display on the Fourth of July at the fairgrounds of some small town in the Midwest.

There are some weaknesses too. John Light, as the fugitive pilot, may be a nice guy in real life but his part here limits him to suspicious scowls and he seems all jaw, like Powers Booth. If I were Felicitas Woll, I wouldn't fall in love with him at first sight, as she does. I'd fall in love with me and beg to come be my slave. Another gap in the historical record: the Americans completed the destruction of the ancient city with daylight raids. What the Brits didn't destroy, the American B-17s did. It's only alluded to once.

The bombing of Dresden has always been controversial. There have been arguments for and against it. The consensus seems to be that it was a political act designed to assure Stalin that we were still interested in weakening Germany's battles on the eastern front. Of course Dresden had some importance as a military target. Even a German apple orchard had some importance.

The problem is that the old city had little military significance because the war was already won and whatever local factories were still operating were in the suburbs, left untouched except by accident. The city itself was packed with refugees from the east, trying to escape the Russians. It was a terrible catastrophe. Civilians literally melted in air raid shelters. The film pins the blame on the Nazi regime that invited such mindless destruction, and on "Bomber" Harris, the RAF general who was determined the flatten every German city to destroy civilian morale. It didn't work. "Unsere mauern brechen, unsere herzen nicht," read the signs, until they were replaced by white flags. The Queen Mum unveiled a statue of Bomber Harris some years ago and there were some boos from the crowd.

It all somehow resonates with something Jimmy Carter said in his acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize award: "War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other's children."
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Magnificent and moving!
headshot6911 May 2008
I was very moved by this film. The subtitles didn't bother me at all, but instead made the movie more realistic.

It didn't quite end as i thought it would (characters wise), however it was a great insight into the "other side".

I've always thought the obliteration of Dresden was over the top, and to this day it is controversial.

Anyway, as another person said, this probably has more impact than a mere documentary.

Oh, and Felicitas Woll - even though it is a VERY serious subject matter, the film is worth watching just for her :)
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Quality and Insight Overcome Any Clichés
Neil Turner7 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Even though this German television film is high melodrama, its quality and insight overcome any clichés that might appear in the plot. World War II in Europe is on the wane. Germany is basically defeated but refused to give up. On a mission into Germany an English bomber pilot and his crew are shot down. Those who do not initially die in the crash are killed by villagers all save the pilot who manages to escape. Wounded, he seeks shelter in a hospital and is discovered by a nurse. She hides him and gives him medical help. She soon discovers that he understands her, because his mother was German.

The pilot is dumped into a melodramatic mess in which the father of his savior nurse - the head of the hospital - is withholding pain killer from the wounded German soldiers and citizens in order to sell them on the black market and buy his family a way out of Germany before the inevitable defeat. Not only that, the nurse's intended is a self-serving coward. It seems that the only one around who lives up to the German ideals is the wounded British pilot. Needless-to-say, a love affair blossoms between the nurse and the pilot.

But surrounding all of this melodrama is the story of Dresden written and produced by Germans whose view of the situation and the lives of the everyday citizens of a city that will soon become an incredible, flaming oven of death is insightful and horrifyingly realistic.

This film was excellently produced with a quest for accuracy - an accuracy that is hard to view but one that is necessary for anyone who contemplates the inhumanity of war. It is clear that the bombing of Dresden was more of a punishment of Germany rather than an attack needed to end an already devastating war.

There is much to learn in the special features of the DVD that add to the rewards of the film. If you - like myself - knew of the firebombing of Dresden, have read a little, but didn't know much more, I think you will find this a worthwhile viewing. Plus, there's a nice love story with agreeable actors.
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A solid movie.
wvanderheiden27 December 2008
When I turned on the TV I accidentally found a channel where 'Dresden' had just started. I like movies about war, especially when they contain a story that has happened in real life back in those years. I experienced the first hour as slow, but steady. Story lines were getting cleared and you get to know the characters. Towards the ends the movie becomes better and better. Very good camera-work and when you see people cough of all the smoke you are going to feel your own throat as well, breathtaking shots.

What more can I say. It's steady, bitter, beautiful, staggering, marvelous. All in one movie.

It definitely is one of the rare movies that took me in it's grip and sucked me up.
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