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The riveting subject ofDownfallis nothing less than the disintegration of Adolf Hitler in mind, body, and soul. A 2005 Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, this German historical drama stars Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire) 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 (Das Experiment) dares to show the gentler human side ofder 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 documentaryBlind Spot: Hitler's Secretary, this unforgettable film gains another dimension of sobering authenticity.--Jeff Shannon
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CastCorinna Harfouch, Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Juliane Köhler, Ulrich Matthes
DirectorOliver Hirschbiegel
Screen WriterMelissa Müller, Bernd Eichinger, Joachim Fest, Traudl Junge
DVD Release Date:  August 2, 2005
Runtime:  156 minutes
Studio:  Sony Pictures
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Quick Tip by . April 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Along with Das Boot, this is among my favorite war films to come from Germany. This movie shows the last days of the Third Reich, and is done so with such great execution. Based on the memoirs of Traudl Junge, Hitler's secretary, this movie is executed with such powerful attention to detail. The mental degradation of the Nazis in the bunker feels highly realistic in this film, and Bruno Ganz perfectly portrays Hitler.      The funny thing about this movie is that I became …
review by . January 22, 2007
Who would have thought you could shed tears for the Nazis?    "Downfall" is a sad, grim movie about the last days of Nazi Germany. It takes place in corridors and sealed rooms, deep underground, with occasional forays into the shattered surface world of Berlin mere hours before the Russians overran it.    The main character in the story is Tradl Junge, and was based in part on her memoirs, who as a young woman was hired as Hitler's secratary. Now after three …
review by . August 05, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
DER UNTERGANG (DOWNFALL) is not only a brilliant film in its close-up dissection of the mind of a lunatic, it is an important historical document that at last gives us as realistic view as possible of the last days of the Third Reich. Written by Bernd Eichinger who based his screenplay on memoirs by Traudl Junge and Melissa Müller ('Bis zur letzten Stunde') and Joachim Fest, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, and acted by an all-German cast, this is about as frightening as a story can get - yet a …
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