A true-story account of a German businessman who saved more than 200,000 Chinese during the Nanjing massacre in 1937-38.


Florian Gallenberger, John Rabe (diaries) | 1 more credit »
8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ulrich Tukur ... John Rabe
Daniel Brühl ... Dr. Georg Rosen
Steve Buscemi ... Dr. Robert Wilson
Anne Consigny ... Valérie Dupres
Dagmar Manzel Dagmar Manzel ... Dora Rabe
Jingchu Zhang ... Langshu
Teruyuki Kagawa ... Prince Asaka Yasuhiko
Mathias Herrmann Mathias Herrmann ... Werner Fließ
Tetta Sugimoto Tetta Sugimoto ... Col. Nakajima Kesago
Akira Emoto Akira Emoto ... Gen. Matsui Iwane
Arata Iura ... Major Ose (as Arata)
Shaun Lawton Shaun Lawton ... John Magee
Christian Rodska ... Lewis Smythe
Gottfried John ... Dr. Oskar Trautmann
Fang Yu Fang Yu ... Han


After 28 years building and managing a vast Siemens plant in Nanking, John Rabe is ordered by the new Nazi regime to close it down. Before he can pack, the Japanese army, lead unofficially by a bloodthirsty imperial uncle, lays siege to the city. Rabe accepts, as prominent representative of Japans' major European ally, to head the Western ex-pats society's plan to start and run an international zone, like worked in Shangai. Rabe however wants it to save his workers and their close ones, over 200,000, and sacrifices all his personal interests. Written by KGF Vissers

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History needs extraordinary heroes.


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Did You Know?


Not surprisingly, none of the major film companies in Japan were interested in investing - or indeed screening - the film. See more »


When the safety zone is being established, a banner is being hung over the portal. The mis-spelled inscription reads "INTERNATIONAL SAFTY ZONE". See more »


Prince Asaka Yasuhiko: Congratulations, Major. You'll make an excellent commander one day. But I ask myself, why is it that I give orders not to take prisoners, and you arrive with thousands?
Major Ose: Please forgive me.
Japanese Officer: Your Highness.
Prince Asaka Yasuhiko: I didn't ask you to speak!
[Japanese officer steps back and bows]
Prince Asaka Yasuhiko: So, Major. What do you propose?
Major Ose: Your Highness. It would be extremely difficult to execute that many prisoners.
Prince Asaka Yasuhiko: Is that so?
Major Ose: Furthermore, I believe such executions could be considered to be illegal.
Prince Asaka Yasuhiko: Illegal? I am entrusting you personally ...
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Alternate Versions

German TV version features ca. 45 minutes of additional footage. See more »


Colonel Bogey March
Music by Kenneth Alford
Lyrics attributed to Toby O'Brien (uncredited)
Performed by Ulrich Tukur and Steve Buscemi
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User Reviews

Excellent film.
25 December 2011 | by makelvinSee all my reviews

Prior to watching this file, I have read John Rabe's diary as well as Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking. I have also watched many documentaries and movies made about the subject from China as well as from the US. I found this film to be one of better film on this subject than most of the other ones in existence today.

The film is based primarily on the actual diary of John Rabe. Certain details were filled-in by the excellent and exhaustive work of Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking. The importance of John Rabe's diary as opposed to the other accounts of what happened during the massacred is the fact that John Rabe was a German Nazi Party member that was working for Siemen in China. Germany was an allied of Japan at the time and there would have been no reason for John Rabe to have lied about atrocities committed by the Japanese if it did not actually happened. Also since John was mainly writing this as a personal diary for himself, there does not seem to be any reason for him to have exaggerated his description of the event. As a result, his diary is probably the credible historical account of the what actually happened in Nanking.

I found some the Chinese version of the film on the subject seemed a little removed from the complex character interactions between most of these reluctant heroes of war. As a result, those movies does not seem quite as genuine and touching as this film.

Most the events from this film seems very accurate or at least true to the overall sense of John Rabe's diary. Obviously some of the atrocities had to be consolidated to be able to fit those events into a slightly over two hour film. But one of the most puzzling inaccuracy of the film was the fictional character Valérie Dupres at the International Girls College. Why was it necessary for the film to use a fictional character's name instead of the actual courageous heroine Minnie Vaultrin from the Ginling Girls College. She had done so much during the massacred that it seems unfair to not use her real name in the film. This is my primary reason for not giving this film a perfect 10. If anyone can provide an explanation as to why Minnie Vaultrin name was not used in this film, I really would appreciate it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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France | China | Germany

Release Date:

2 April 2009 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

John Rabe See more »

Filming Locations:

Nanjing, Jiangsu, China See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,892, 23 May 2010

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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