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Controversial and award-winning German drama about the final days of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Bruno Ganz plays the German dictator who, as the Russians close in towards Berlin, retreats to his bunker with his fiancée Eva Braun (Juliane Köhler), his private secretary Traudle Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes). His mood ranging from violent rage to pessimistic defeat, Hitler attempts to deny the inevitable as the other occupants of the bunker deal with the prospect of their impending death at the hands of the Russians. Goebbels kills his family before committing suicide, while Hitler finally marries Eva Braun in a ceremony that precedes their own suicide by hours. With only Junge surviving, the Red Army closes in and takes the capital.
The riveting subject of Downfall is nothing less than the disintegration of Adolph Hitler in mind, body, and soul. A 2005 Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, this German historical drama stars Bruno Ganz as Hitler, whose psychic meltdown is depicted in sobering detail, suggesting a fallen, pathetic dictator on the verge on insanity, resorting to suicide (along with Eva Braun and Joseph and Magda Goebbels) as his Nazi empire burns amidst chaos in mid-1945. While staging most of the film in the claustrophobic bunker where Hitler spent his final days, director Oliver Hirschbiegel dares to show the gentler human side of der Fuehrer, as opposed to the pure embodiment of evil so familiar from many other Nazi-era dramas. This balanced portrayal does not inspire sympathy, however: We simply see the complexity of Hitler's character in the greater context of his inevitable downfall, and a more realistic (and therefore more horrifying) biographical portrait of madness on both epic and intimate scales. By ending with a chilling clip from the 2002 documentary Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary, this unforgettable film gains another dimension of sobering authenticity. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
And then it's back to her first meeting with Hitler - an impressionable young woman, swept off her feet by an opportunity to be close to the ultimate celebrity. And then another jump through time to the Bunker and the last days, with the Red Army sweeping into Berlin.
It's a very physical performance by Bruno Ganz as Hitler; he makes the Fuhrer physically insignificant, a little man with big ideas and flamboyant but volatile emotions. Ganz's gestures, his body language, his passion, his histrionics are utterly convincing. It is a compelling piece of acting - Ganz describes (in an interview on the DVD extras) how he had to suspend his own hatred of Hitler in order to play the man. The aim was realism, accuracy, not caricature or parody. It's an astonishing performance.
Around Hitler, the fanatics cling to fantasy, believing to the end that some miracle will happen, that they will be proved right, that somehow the Fuhrer will conjure up … what? Yet others are already plotting to abandon the sunken ship, to try to save themselves. This is not the downfall of Adolf Hitler, it is the utter collapse of a regime and its ideology. All that is left is fantasy, and recrimination. Ultimately, they blame the German people for having failed them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not a review of the film simply a review of the fact that nowhere did it tell me that this film was in German. Read morePublished 20 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Fantastic film from start to finish ,was gripping throughout despite the inevitable ending.though I can't help but wondering weather her account on this isn't some what encouraged... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Bruno Ganz is simply mesmerising in the role of Adolf Hitler and his rendering of the man in the last moments of his life is almost haunting. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Pilou
I just watched this movie on Amazon Prime, having read Traudl Junge's biography some time ago. Initially I was surprised that the movie was going to concentrate only on Hitler's... Read morePublished 15 days ago by La vie en rose
A great movie, showing the last moments of a monster and his dreams of power. Bruno Ganz delivers an outstandig performance. Amazing production. Excellent!Published 16 days ago by Julio H. S. Maziero
Having originally seen Der Untergang/Downfall at a Cinema, I have never tired of it on DVD. Superb acting with an earthly realism that gives the viewer a real feeling of despair... Read morePublished 28 days ago by MICHAEL O'KEEFE
Amazing performances from all the cast. Unnervingly brilliant portrayal of Hitler.
I have seen this film before,but it is still gripping and compelling. Read more
An Excellent and historical correct film. Would highly recommend this filmPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer