7.6/10
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The Counterfeiters (2007)

Die Fälscher (original title)
Trailer
2:14 | Trailer
The story of the Operation Bernhard, the largest counterfeiting operation in history, carried out by Germany during WWII.

Director:

Stefan Ruzowitzky

Writers:

Adolf Burger (book), Stefan Ruzowitzky (screenplay)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Karl Markovics ... Solomon 'Sally' Sorowitsch
August Diehl ... Burger
Devid Striesow ... Sturmbannführer Friedrich Herzog
Martin Brambach ... Hauptscharführer Holst
August Zirner ... Dr. Klinger
Veit Stübner Veit Stübner ... Atze
Sebastian Urzendowsky ... Kolya
Andreas Schmidt Andreas Schmidt ... Zilinski
Tilo Prückner ... Hahn
Lenn Kudrjawizki ... Loszek
Marian Kalus Marian Kalus ... Plappler
Norman Stoffregen Norman Stoffregen ... Abramovic
Bernd Raucamp Bernd Raucamp ... KZ-Insasse Dusche
Gode Benedix Gode Benedix ... 1. KZ-Insasse
Oliver Kanter Oliver Kanter ... 2. KZ-Insasse
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Storyline

The Counterfeiters is the true story of the largest counterfeiting operation in history, set up by the Nazis in 1936. Salomon "Sally" Sorowitsch is the king of counterfeiters. He lives a mischievous life of cards, booze, and women in Berlin during the Nazi-era. Suddenly his luck runs dry when arrested by Superintendent Friedrich Herzog. Immediately thrown into the Mauthausen concentration camp, Salomon exhibits exceptional skills there and is soon transferred to the upgraded camp of Sachsenhausen. Upon his arrival, he once again comes face to face with Herzog, who is there on a secret mission. Hand-picked for his unique skill, Salomon and a group of professionals are forced to produce fake foreign currency under the program Operation Bernhard. The team, which also includes detainee Adolf Burger, is given luxury barracks for their assistance. But while Salomon attempts to weaken the economy of Germany's allied opponents, Adolf refuses to use his skills for Nazi profit and would like to... Written by Sony Pictures Classics

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A genius con artist put to work by the Nazis. A survivor's tale you've never seen before. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence, brief sexuality/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Austria's Official Submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008). See more »

Goofs

While Sally and Kolya are being transported on a moving train, a German guard is bringing them food. In the camp hierarchy, German guards seldom interacted with prisoners, instead having other prisoners undertake menial tasks of serving food. Prisoners were seldom fed during transport as these cattle-wagons were not inter-connected and most likely locked from outside. See more »

Quotes

Salomon 'Sally' Sorowitsch: Only by surviving, we can defeat them.
See more »

Connections

Remake of Interpol: Geld, Geld, Geld (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Down By The Riverside
(uncredited)
See more »

User Reviews

 
laughter in the dark
17 October 2007 | by snow0rSee all my reviews

Salomon "Sally" Sorowitsch (Markovics) is a master counterfeiter, living a life of debauchery in pre-war Berlin, until his luck finally runs out, and he is captured and shipped out to the Mauthausen concentration camp. He witnesses the horrors of camp life; fellow prisoners are beaten, shot, and starved, but Sally, determined to survive, looks out for himself and uses his skills as an artist to secure a more comfortable lifestyle during his incarceration. After taking advantage of his talents, his superiors transfer him to Sachsenhausen, where he is to oversee the largest counterfeiting operation in history.

Here, Sally is provided with all the men and equipment he needs to crack the pound and the dollar; his criminal enterprises are now government funded. The price of failure is made clear, but the counterfeiters are also wary of the price of success, as once the currencies have been cracked, they will be surplus to requirements; their lives depend not only on their successes but also their failures.

This is where Burger (Diehl), the film's moral centre, comes into play. Unlike Sally, he sees the bigger picture, struggling to come to terms with the fact that while his work keeps him alive, it helps the Nazi war effort. Neither can he reconcile himself with the fact that while he lives in relative comfort other detainees, including his wife and children, live in squalor.

These moral dilemmas form the basis of the film, and in the face of the horrors of camp life, Sally tries to shrug them off with De Niro squints and smiles; the maxim that one must look after oneself is one repeated throughout the film. It's a very interesting idea, and it's one that is presented very well, both in terms of style and performance. The camera-work captures the bleak setting effectively, and the lead performances are uniformly excellent, but the use of tango for the score is inspired. The contrast between the music and the images adeptly complement the film's complicated moral tone. There is also a surprising amount of humour; while the bigger picture is indeed bleak, there are moments of comedy, and even if it is laughter in the dark, it is welcome and helps not only to carry the film along but humanise it and its characters.

The Counterfeiters is a very enjoyable film, which isn't something that can be said for many World War II "true stories". Its interesting exploration of adaptation and survival under extreme circumstances makes for an engaging story, and one that is definitely worth seeking out.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Austria | Germany

Language:

German | Russian | English | Hebrew

Release Date:

18 April 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Counterfeiters See more »

Filming Locations:

Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR4,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$87,514, 24 February 2008

Gross USA:

$5,488,570

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,814,713
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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