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on 22 July 2014
A first class recounting of the failed attempt on Hitlers life,during World War Two by members of the German Military Establishment.This version,produced in Germany,will inevitably be compared to the rather grander version,called"Valkyrie",starring Tom Cruise,released just a few years ago,and while that was excellent too,my preference is for this one,which seems "grittier'and more in keeping somehow,with how the attempt really was. It has the same ring of authenticity that the German version of the last days in the Berlin bunker had,"Downfall",which was also truly outstanding..
Perhaps,in the end,only the Germans themselves can do justice to these terrible events,and they are to be congratulated for dealing with them in such a truthful,unflinching,straightforward manner. Not to be missed.
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on 22 July 2017
excellent
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on 6 June 2017
Having enjoyed the 2008 BRYAN SINGER film VALKYRIE on the big screen, I thought that I would see OPERATION VALKYRIE, released for television in 2004, to see how them compared. Without the large budget attributed to the Hollywood adaptation, I feared this one (starring SEBASTIAN KOCH as the idealistic but war-wounded Claus Von Stauffenberg) would be vastly inferior. Yet it was surprisingly good!

The film begins in 1933 not long after Adolf Hitler (UDO SHENK) has seized power in Germany and shows the young Von Stauffenberg proud to be in military uniform. We then rapidly skip to scenes in 1942 and early 1944 when Stauffenberg realizes the full horror of the atrocities committed by the Wehrmacht and his hatred of Hitler takes root. He requests a posting to North Africa but this leads to near death in an allied air attack.

Badly disfigured and sent back to Germany to recuperate, Stauffenberg is given a staff posting and is soon in contact with the likes of Henning Von Tresckow (ULRICH TUKUR) and Friedrich Olbricht (RAINER BOCK), fellow soldiers also deeply disillusioned with the war. Together they decide the only real hope for Germany is to assassinate Hitler and hatch a daring plan to blow him up during one of the regular staff meetings at the heavily fortified Wolf's Lair in Eastern Prussia.

Although I quite enjoyed OPERATION VALKYRIE, I was fortunate enough to have had prior knowledge of the events depicted in this film. For those viewers who know nothing about the 20th July bomb plot, I can only assume that the film may prove somewhat baffling and frustrating as all too often things are left unexplained.

Central characters such as Ludwig Beck (REMO GIRONE) and Friedrich Fromm (AXEL MILBERG) are given no proper introduction and we are told very little about how the Valkyrie plan effects the ordinary German military once implemented. For this reason viewers may be confused why Major Otto Remer (ENRICO MUTTI) suddenly motivates his troops and starts arresting German generals and officials seemingly at random!

Other facts left unexplained include why the fateful meeting is moved from the bunker at the Wolf's Lair to a wooden barrack hut (in reality due to a very hot day) and Stauffenberg's abortive bomb attempt a week earlier – held in the bunker and with a greater chance of killing Hitler outright – is ignored.

Unlike the SINGER film, OPERATION VALKYRIE does not actually show the explosion in the hut, we just hear the explosion and see the aftermath and panic.

In fairness, Director JO BAIER does his best on a limited budget and although made for television, the 91 minute production does have a certain documentary feel to it which the SINGER version lacked. Yet in turn the relatively short running time is also one of the problems as with more time available, BAIER could have explored certain aspects of the plot in greater detail and made the storyline less incomprehensible for the average viewer.

Sadly for such an important moment in the Second World War, there are no Special Features at all included on the DVD. Perhaps a small Making Of programme or a documentary explaining the plot in greater detail would have been a most welcome addition. The film is German language and subtitled (which I do not mind) but the dubbing for the English version is actually very good, despite some lines being delivered at a quick tempo to keep with the synchronization.

As it stands and despite the problems, OPERATION VALKYRIE gives a solid German perspective of the 20th July bomb plot and is well worth watching. If it inspires people to research these events for a greater understanding, all the better!
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Predating the Tom Cruise version by four years and co-starring The Lives of Others' Sebastian Koch and, very briefly, Ulrich Tukur, Jo Baier's 2004 German TV movie Stauffenberg aka Operation Valkyrie is a rushed and unsatisfying effort that could have been a lot better if allowed a more generous running time than its 92 minutes. Many of the individual scenes themselves aren't bad, but the film leapfrogs several years and locations almost haphazardly, never establishing context or flowing smoothly but playing like a clumsily edited assembly of an uncompleted film. The decision to assassinate Hitler is arrived at in a clumsy and perfunctory fashion, the cast of conspirators is never assembled or introduced - when we first meet them you find yourself asking "Who are all these people?" - and the preparations for the plot are completely ignored: it's almost as if the whole thing happened on a whim. Worse, it's never explained how Valkyrie coup was intended to work, and if you don't know what the plan is there's no sense of mounting dread as it goes wrong at every turn just as there's no real sense of hopelessness as people we've never even met storm into an office saying they're not going along with it anymore. As a result there's no tension, despite a couple of crude out of nowhere attempts to imply arrest is possible at any minute, little dramatic resonance and no chance of caring about anyone as the film self-destructs into idealistic "I had a dream" speechifying and increasingly poor writing. A shame, because the performances are good (though the English dubbing is poor, with only Koch appearing to dub himself) and it's an often handsome looking film with solid production values, aside from a bit of bad CGi in North Africa, but it's just too shallow and superficial to work.
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on 3 March 2012
Having watched Tom Cruise's Valkyrie, I wanted to see this film for a number of reasons. Firstly, Sebastian Koch is a German actor who is always watchable (and looks superb in uniform!) and that he and Ulrich Tukur have appeared together before in Amen. Secondly, the film is more realistic than Valkyrie as it is on a smaller scale than the Hollywood version and the feeling of tension is more palpable. I would add that performances are also more realistic and that German actors are used (in the most part) throughout. In the Tom Cruise film, many British actors were cast and they looked unconvincing in uniform. Here, the faces fit and look totally at ease in their roles.

Sebastian Koch, who is from the same region of Germany as Stauffenberg, plays the role superbly. At the beginning of the film, he is shown to be a young, idealistic officer who clearly adores Hitler, but then realises that Germany is in the hands of a madman and that that madman needs to be eliminated.

The subtitled version is so much better than the dubbed version, so anyone wanting to brush up on their German language skills, watch this one.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 29 April 2011
This is a German version of the story of the failed attempt by Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and others to assassinate Hitler at the Wolfs lair in 1944. It will inevitably be compared to the US version starring Tom Cruise,Valkyrie [DVD] so let me say right up front they are very different telling.

I actually like both films, this however had a much more modest budget and some may feel has suffered because of that. However, the entire cast is excellent maybe not the stellar performances you could expect from Brannagh Nighy and co, but I found it hard to fault them.

It does seem to assume that you know a fair bit about what actually happened and the whole plot is not as well sign posted as in the US version. However, I think that just shows that the makers actually felt their audience did have foreknowledge and decided to treat them as grown ups.

It starts as early as 1939 Poland when Staufenberg gets disillusioned and that part of the story is told through letters to his wife Nina. It tracks his time in the Afrika Korps and injuries in a very human way leaving out the Prussian stiff upper lip that is so often favoured. It dwells much more on the actual events rather than build up to the plot and then the aftermath.

This is a thoughtful production from Jo Baier who clearly portrays the plotters as heroes and wants to give a message; it is not preachy except for a short burst towards the end, which is entirely forgivable.

It is obviously in German, with quite good English translation in the form of sub titles and runs for 90 odd minutes. This is not an actioner, but a drama so if your taste is for war footage and violence you would be advised to avoid. I really enjoyed this and would recommend to fans of historical films. There is a lot of attention to factual detail and a very good portrayal of Major Remer, who many could say played a pivotal role in the actual outcome.
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on 17 September 2013
This movie has a greater sense of reality than the Tom Cruise affair but it also lacks alot e.g. no build up in terms of conspiracy, planning and preparation. This movie focuses largely on the events per se surrounding 20 July 1944. The acting is good, it fits the German culture well and is a reasonable story line.
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on 3 August 2016
Being interested in the history of the Second World War, this film was gripping viewing for me. It chronicles an assassination plot on Hitler and does so without judgement being made on the issues involved. Sebastian Koch has to be one of the best contemporary German actors and he is ideally suited in the lead role. (He also stars in The Lives of Others - another great German language film.) His matter-of-fact performance avoids burdening the events through the prism of our current day viewpoint. This is how history should be depicted in celluloid.

If you are happy to endure the inconvenience of subtitles, and want a break from the crash, bang, cgi trivialities of a Hollywood blockbuster, then you won't go far wrong with this film.
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on 21 March 2013
Show's you how good a docu-drama can be. So realistic I almost jumped out of my skin!

Acting, photography, production values including vintage cars first class.

One teeny reservation - I saw this originally on telly and it was uncut. This version has a nasty anti-Semitic remark from a Nazi field officer removed. So, to that extent, it has been sanitized.
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on 5 July 2011
As mentioned above, this is a good film (well, TVM) for those who know the facts, but those who do not are better-served by 'Valkyrie', with Tom Cruise, as the latter explains the mechanics of the intended coup very well. That said, with this also being well-acted it is certainly worth 90 minutes of your time, although a minimum of an extra 30 mins would have been helpful in the telling of this story. The DVD quality is grainy in the background of shots, which is distracting at first, but the story soon drew me in. There are no extras, but one has the option of German with English subtitles, or with English overdubbing (some of which is by the cast). Whilst I do prefer my BD of 'Valkyrie', at this price, 'Operation Valkyrie' is a steal.
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