Downfall ~ Movie (2005)

Downfall: Awards >> Cast/Credits/Running Time >> Book >> UK Dvd Features >> The Making Of >> Trivia >> Reviews >> UK 2 Dvd Gallery >> Buy Dvd

Adolf Hitler >> Heinrich Himmler >> Josef Goebbels >> Triumph of the Will >> Triumph of the Will 2 Dvd >> Leni Riefenstahl >> Rudolf Hess >> Martin Bormann >> Herman Goering >> Who Helped Hermann Goering Escape The Hangman? >> Josef Mengele >> Adolf Eichman >> Irma Grese

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Downfall ~ Credits :: Cast :: Running Time

2004, 149 Mins Approx., Germany/Italy/Austria


  • Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Prod: Bernd Eichinger
  • Writing credits: Joachim Fest (book); Traudl Junge & Melissa Müller (book Bis zur letzten Stunde)
  • Cinematography: Rainer Klausmann
  • Ed: Hans Funck
  • Mus: Stephan Zacharias

    CAST:

  • Bruno Ganz .... Adolf Hitler
  • Alexandra Maria Lara .... Traudl Junge
  • Corinna Harfouch .... Magda Goebbels
  • Ulrich Matthes .... Joseph Goebbels
  • Juliane Köhler .... Eva Braun
  • Heino Ferch .... Albert Speer
  • Christian Berkel .... Prof. Dr. Ernst-Günter Schenck
  • Matthias Habich .... Prof. Dr. Werner Haase
  • Thomas Kretschmann .... SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein
  • Michael Mendl .... General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling
  • André Hennicke .... SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke
  • Ulrich Noethen .... Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler
  • Birgit Minichmayr .... Gerda Christian
  • Rolf Kanies .... General der Infanterie Hans Krebs
  • Justus von Dohnanyi .... General der Infanterie Wilhelm Burgdorf

    Downfall ~ Making Of

    When writer-producer Bernd Eichinger read the galleys of historiam Joachim Fest's book Der Untergang ("The Dowwnfall: Inside Hitler's Bunker; The Last Days of the Third Reich"), he knew he had found the dramatic key to a film he had wanted to make for decades, but never thought possible due to its scope. Fest's book focuses on the final days of the Reich, and Eichinger saw that the horrifying epic of Hitler and his people during the twelve years in power was reflected in those last twelve days in the bunker, "The final days tell us a lot about how the mass fanaticism functioned in the regime's earlier years and how it continued to reign until the bitter end," says Eichinger.

    Bruno Ganz Downfall Movie
    Bruno Ganz, Downfall (2005)
    © Momentum Pictures

    Eichinger read another very important book around the same time he read Fest's: the memoirs of Traudi Junge, Hitler's private secretary. ("Until the Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary"). "Fest gave me the timeframe, Traudi Junge gave me the character who could hold it all together." .... continued in the sleeve notes of the 2 dvd set release: available at amazon.co.uk.

    Downfall ~ Trivia

    01/ Bruno Ganz was Hirschbiegel's first choice to play the role of Hitler even though the actor is actually Swiss. However, no actor has come close to capturing the essense of Hitler as Ganz achieved in this movie.

    02/ A complete replica of the bunker itself was built on a soundstage at Bavaria Studios outside Munich. Downfall' bunker was a four-walled set. Cast and crew spent weeks inside the claustrophobic bunker.

    03/ For the exterior scenes, the filmaker had to find locations that looked like Berlin in April 1945. They choose St.Petersburg, one of the principle reasons being that many German architects built there and that was immediately apparent to the filmmakers.

    04/ This is the best film I have seen about Hitler by about a country mile. Indeed, Ganz's masterful performance in the central role makes all other Hitler impersonators hitherto laughable! Ganz captures a man collapsing within himself as surely as Berlin in those last few days. We witness a descent into hell, a hell of his own making, a man who knows the end is nigh and yet refuses to accept that none of it is his own fault. His message to the German people says it all:

      "If the war is lost, then it is of no concern to me if the people perish in it. I still would not shed a tear for them; because they did not deserve any better." - Adolf Hitler

    His flashes of a rage that is now largely impotent outside the claustrophobic walls of the bunker are terrifying. Ganz captures every flicker, every sinew, of a man having a mental breakdown. Physically, Hitler is a ghost in the shell of a man, stooped, his useless left hand kept behind him so as not to reveal the trembling. And yet, to the very end, this broken figure commands respect and fear in all around him. Ganz makes every facet of his character (including the brief moments of kindness and consideration to his staff) believable. A superb performance. Indeed, I would say that efore Ganz the portrayals f Hitler in movies an TV have ranged from the absurb to the passable (Anthony Hopkins). Hitler has to be one of the most difficult characters to play as it seems too easy to pass into caricature when actors have played him. Ganz has changed all that.

    I would go one step further and say this is one of the greatest acting roles ever seen anywhere.

    Elsewhere, the stand out performance from a chorus of well-acted parts, is Corinna Harfouch as Magda Goebbels. As the actress says it was the most interesting of the female parts (Junge remains a blank canvas and Braun seems to have been all surface, surface, surface). The clinical efficiency she portrays in killing her children, one by one, slowly, coldly, is the most harrowing scene in the film.

    Thomas Kretschmann And Ulrich Noethen, Downfall
    Thomas Kretschmann And Ulrich Noethen, Downfall (2005)
    © Momentum Pictures

    05/ The Speer character is interesting as in some ways his brand of Nazism was the most dangerous as it was cloaked in charm and respectability. Speer escaped the hangman's noose for no other reason that I can see than because of his affability and because he said sorry.

    06/ Overall, the film is consistently gripping and compelling. However, it is not without its faults. Obviously, as the story is told from the point of view of Hitler's secretary you only see what she saw. Thus it is clear she didn't have much contact with Martin Bormann as his character is frustratingly neglected. That left me frustrated as I wanted to know more about Bormann and why he was so influential. To a lesser extent Goebbels is also underdeveloped.

    The Junge character also made me wonder. Not as has been well documented about the reasons why this non-Nazi member stayed by her employer's side right to the end (and I still don't know the motives of this pleasant and seemingly innocent woman) but how central was she really in Hitler's life? Naturally in a film partly based on her book she is central to almost everything in the film, but that pushes out more important characters as suggested in the previous paragraph. And as we learn little of Junge it seems a waste.

    07/ The UK dvd set itself also isn't perfect. On the special features disc, the virtual tour of the bunker could have been better. In the biographies all we get of the actors aren't biographies at all but filmographies. I wanted to know more about the life and work of Harfouch for example as here in the UK she is relatively unknown. And The Making of Downfall feature uses alot of interviews that are found in the Cast and Filmaker Interviews section. A bit lazy that.

    Overall though these are minor quibbles. Ganz more than makes up for it and the film from start to finish is a cracking story. If you only see one 2nd World War movie then make sure it is this one.

    08/ In the ironies of ironies alot of the exterior shots supposedly of Berlin were shot in St Petersburg (during the war: Leningrad). The Nazis spent the war trying to stave Leningrad to death while the Russians razed Berlin to the ground when they took it at the end of the war. Now Berlin is Leningrad and Leningrad is Berlin. Extraordinary.

    Ulrich Matthes And Corinna Harfouch Downfall Movie
    Ulrich Matthes And Corinna Harfouch, Downfall (2005)
    © Momentum Pictures

    09/ Troubling (well, to me) and I haven't seen alot written about it or explored is the Traudi Junge portrayal. Now I realise she was the perfect vessel for the film to flow through but was she really this vacuous? We are led to believe she had no right-wing political leanings and yet she comes out with sudden proclamations of allegiance to Hitler that are all out of character with how she is portrayed in the rest of the film.

    I first saw her interviewed for the acclaimed World At War documentary in the 1970s and she seemed a nice lady. I'm sure she was as she was portrayed but I can't help but thin her character was understandably, understated.

    Downfall ~ Awards

  • Oscar Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
  • Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival 2004

    Downfall ~ Reviews

    "Gripping, compelling and brilliantly acted...a masterful achievement"

    Sunday Express

    "Bruno Ganz is superb...Fascinating and superbly acted"
    The Times

    "Mesmerising, compelling, magnificient"

    The Independant

    "A spellbinding, exceptional film"

    Daily Express

    "Riveting, agonizing, bravely human"
    The Telegraph

    Downfall ~ Book

    Until The Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary

  • Buy:
    Amazon.co.uk (UK) >> Amazon.com (US)

    Downfall ~ UK Dvd

    Don't bother with the 1 disc edition. The 2 disc one is vastly superior and usually doesn't cost much more than the 1 disc release.

  • Number of discs: 2
  • Region: 2 encoding (Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East including Egypt)
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Catalogue Number: MP409D
  • UK Dvd Release Date: September 19, 2005
  • Classification: 15
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Colour Mode: Colour

    UK Dvd Special Features

  • The Making Of Downfall - 1 hour feature
  • Cast And Filmmakers Interviews
  • The Historical Personalities And Their Actors Biographies
  • The Bunker A Virtual Tour
  • Shooting In Russia: Behind The Scenes Look With Production Crew Commentary
  • About Shooting Behind: The Scenes Look With Directors Commentary

    Downfall ~ UK 2 Dvd Gallery

    Downfall 2 Dvd Set
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    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall 2 Dvd Set
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    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
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    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
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    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
    Enlarge Image
    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
    Enlarge Image
    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
    Enlarge Image
    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
    Enlarge Image
    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
    Enlarge Image
    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
    Enlarge Image
    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall UK 2 Dvd Set
    Enlarge Image
    © Momentum Pictures

    Downfall ~ Buy Dvd

  • Price: £9.99 UK Sterling
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    July 14: back in stock. These are - 'used - very good'. Outer card slipcase have wear in places but all the ones I've seen do have it. Rest fine.

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    Links

    Downfall: Awards >> Cast/Credits/Running Time >> Book >> UK Dvd Features >> The Making Of >> Trivia >> Reviews >> UK 2 Dvd Gallery >> >> Buy Dvd

    Recommended Link - The Last Hours Of Martin Bormann: On April 30th, 1945, (15:30) Hitler with his new wife, Eva Braun commited suicide in the Fuehrerbunker in Berlin. Goebbels, also in the Fuehrerbunker with his wife, Magda & five children, became Reich Chancellor. His tenure was brief. In the late afternoon of the following day, he poisoned his five children with cyanide capsules. At 20:30 he and his wife committed suicide...more

    Adolf Hitler >> Heinrich Himmler >> Josef Goebbels >> Triumph of the Will >> Triumph of the Will 2 Dvd >> Leni Riefenstahl >> Rudolf Hess >> Martin Bormann >> Herman Goering >> Who Helped Hermann Goering Escape The Hangman? >> Josef Mengele >> Adolf Eichman >> Irma Grese

    Kristallnacht >> The Final Solution >> Auschwitz >> Nuremberg Party Rallies

    Daily Mail - 2nd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - 3rd May 1945 >> Daily Mail - VE Day - It's All Over >> Scans added of the best books of Germany during the war and after incl. definitive guide on The Nuremberg Rallies - Smartphone Page >> Best 2nd World War Book Scans Added >> British War Dvds

    Advertise >> 2nd World War Dvds & Books available @ amazon.com

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