Downfall 2004

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This brilliant film is a dramatic and harrowing tour de force about Hitler's final days in Berlin as the Russians advance. He swings between optimism that his troops will break through and rage against the incompetence of his commanders.

Starring:
Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara
Runtime:
2 hours 28 minutes

Downfall

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, International, Historical
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel
Starring Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara
Supporting actors Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Kohler, Heino Ferch
Studio Momentum Pictures
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 181 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stephen Kennedy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jan 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a near flawless movie, well deserving of a wide audience. The fact that it is a German movie which required watching subtitles, may put some people off - but the reality is that the German actors give this much more resonance than any Hollywood version could have.

Much has been said about the fantastic performance of Bruno Ganz as Hitler. This is his movie, no doubt. It should also be mentioned, however, that all of the performances are so spot on that we are removed from a theatrical overview of events, and truly become part of life in the bunker. So many movies of this period show either the two dimensional Nazi bad guys and Hitler as a raving lunatic and nothing else, or a dispassionate overview of the tactics of the battle for Berlin. This movie achieves something rare - a real personal insight into the characters and how they informed the battle tactics and actions of individuals.

Our view into this world is through the young and naive private secretary Traudl Junge, who wrote one of the books on which the movie is based. Thus, historical accuracy is very high. But what we see is an insight into the humanity of Hitler - in one moment warm and compassionate, the next brutal and vulgar. We can understand through Ganz' portrayal the charisma the man must have had to attract such loyal devotion.

Do not be fooled into thinking that a movie about life in the bunker will be small scale low budget sets.. the movie ventures outside and we get glimpses of some terrible battle scenes. Those with DTS capability for surround sound will be richly rewarded. The scenes of a war ravaged Berlin are incredibly real - in fact, shot in Saint Petersburg.
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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Mike J. Wheeler on 14 Oct 2006
Format: DVD
I don't usually go in for watching foreign language films. Not because I dislike them, merely that living in the provinces mean we sadly don't get to see them up here! However, this had a limited run at a cinema in Birmingham and I was lucky enough to see it. This is a magnificent piece of film making.

Bruno Ganz in the lead role of Hitler is superb, capturing the very essence of the madness that was Hitler and the total self-delusion of the last days of the Third Reich. The contrast between his tenderness towards his secretaries and the complete disdain for the rest of the world is remarkable. Ganz acts out a very difficult role, but comes through with flying colours. The depiction of the secretary Traudl Junge is perhaps a little sentimentalised, but any film has to have some humanity. Perhaps she was blameless, perhaps not.

The films most chilling scene features the killing of the Goebbels children by their mother, played chillingly by Corinna Harfouch. This is particularly uncomfortable viewing.

The real reason that this film is so successful IS that it humanises the Nazis. One has a distinct respect and even sympathy with some of the characters. This is hard to take when we know what they accomplished and makes for very uncomfortable reflection. This is intelligent film-making and well worth giving over an evening for. Hitler and the end of the Reich have never been portrayed as well as this.
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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Tangerine on 31 Jan 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having bought this as a spot purchase and knowing nothing about it beforehand, my wife and I watched it. To say we were surprised would be unfair but it was so much better than I could and would have imagined. The film focuses on the very end period of the war. Hitler, in his bunker with high ranking officers of the German army with his devoted secretary Traudl Junge. It is an astonishing piece of film. Bruno Ganz is superb as Adolf Hitler. His performance ranks as one of the best I have ever witnessed. It is simply breathtaking. I would recommend this film to anyone with an interest in the 2nd World War as this focus on the very last parts of the War is very well scripted and filmed. It is one of the best films in my extensive collection. Buy it and you will be buying a masterpiece.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By AMBER on 4 April 2008
Format: DVD
The director, Bernd Eichinger, researched for over 20 years for this movie and it is based on the latest findings regarding incidents and characters involved. Historians both praised and severely questioned the approach since the accomplished authenticity can be misleading. For instance the last interlocution between Albert Speer and Adolf Hitler is based on a belated report by Speer only. But then the interaction between the people in the bunker is what gives them life and allows the audience a perspective that could not be achieved by a documentary. In any case, there is no purely fictitious scene to be found in this film, every single dialogue and action is based on the written record of a witness.
The bunker scenes were shot in a studio in Munich, the outside scenes in St. Petersburg. There is a lot of material on the two bonus DVDs about both. The reason why they chose St. Petersburg was because a few streets there actually look like Berlin during the last days of war. Embarrassing as it was for the authorities, they needed the money. This also allowed the film makers to cast Russians as extras who appear very Aryan with their blue eyes and blonde hair (e.g. the fanatic girl who is fighting in the streets), which is quite ironic. Also I was very touched when I learned that this movie was a German-Russian co-production.
Ulrich Matthes, who plays Joseph Goebbels, says during his interview (also on the bonus DVDs) that he had had a terrible conflict getting into Goebbels' mind because a method actor has actually to like the persona they are taking on. So he accepted an opposite role in the movie "Der neunte Tag" where he personifies a priest who is tortured by a Nazi in the concentration camp of Dachau.
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