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Downfall (2004)

Der Untergang (original title)
Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

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(screenplay), (book) | 2 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #120 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Michael Mendl ...
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Justus von Dohnányi ...
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Storyline

In April of 1945, Germany stands at the brink of defeat with the Soviet Armies closing in from the west and south. In Berlin, capital of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler proclaims that Germany will still achieve victory and orders his Generals and advisers to fight to the last man. "Downfall" explores these final days of the Reich, where senior German leaders (such as Himmler and Goring) began defecting from their beloved Fuhrer, in an effort to save their own lives, while still others (Joseph Goebbels) pledge to die with Hitler. Hitler, himself, degenerates into a paranoid shell of a man, full of optimism one moment and suicidal depression the next. When the end finally does comes, and Hitler lies dead by his own hand, what is left of his military must find a way to end the killing that is the Battle of Berlin, and lay down their arms in surrender. Written by Anthony Hughes {husnock31@hotmail.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

April 1945, a nation awaits its...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

8 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Downfall  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

€13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$210,232 (Austria) (17 September 2004)

Gross:

$5,501,940 (USA) (10 June 2005)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Clips from this movie are used in numerous parodies that appear on YouTube in which a scene (usually the one of Adolf Hitler yelling at his subordinates) is re-subtitled to imbue it with unintended comedic meaning. The first such video was "Hitler gets banned from Xbox Live;" other subjects include Nashville's gas crisis of 2008, changes to Epcot at Walt Disney World, the delay of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), fans' disappointment with the first Avatar (2009) trailer, the "Balloon Boy" hoax of October 2009, and Brett Favre signing with the Vikings. Many of the parodies have Hitler yelling at his subordinates about punctuation or spelling errors, in reference to the fact that sticklers for editing are sometimes derided as "Grammar Nazis." In 2010, Constantin Films, which owns the rights to Downfall, started taking down the parodies, arguing that their copyright was being infringed. Shortly thereafter, new parody videos appeared decrying Constantin Films' actions as "Naziesque." Contrary to the reaction of Constantin Films, director Oliver Hirschbiegel claims to have seen over a hundred of such parodies, and enjoyed them very much. YouTube has since stopped blocking these parodies. See more »

Goofs

The soap dispensers in the bunker's restrooms were, despite their classic looks, not invented until 1950 in France. They are called "Savon rotatif" (rotary soap) and were - more or less a piece of soap on a wall-mounted stick - a standard issue in French schools and magisterial buildings for many years. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Traudl Junge: I've got the feeling that I should be angry with this child, this young and oblivious girl. Or that I'm not allowed to forgive her for not seeing the nature of that monster. That she didn't realise what she was doing. And mostly because I've gone so obliviously. Because I wasn't a fanatic Nazi. I could have said in Berlin, "No, I'm not doing that. I don't want to go the Führer's headquarters." But I didn't do that. I was too curious. I didn't realise that fate would lead me ...
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Crazy Credits

After the final credits there is a statement by the real Traudl Jung about her feelings of guilt and responsibility. In the British Cinema release, this is moved to before the credits. See more »


Soundtracks

When I Am Laid In Earth
from "Dido and Aeneas"
Composed by Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Arranged by Horst Liebenau and Stephan Zacharias
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The last days at the bunker
19 March 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This magnificent film goes where no one else dared to go to show us the last days of Adolf Hitler. The director, Oliver Hirshbiegel, working with a big cast, brings to life the madness of the last days of the monster, as observed by a young and impressionable secretary who witnessed most of the crisis.

At the beginning of the film we watch as five young women are brought to be interviewed by Hitler for a job as his personal secretary. Young Traudl Junge is selected. She is a pretty woman who is naive in many ways and probably had no inkling about the trip she was going to embark.

The film captures the tragic figure of Hitler as everything is caving in on him and his grand plans for victory. We watch a man at the beginning of the film that is still thinking he is in command of the German forces, but his authority has eroded, as it becomes clear to the people under him the war is lost and it will be a matter of time before they are defeated.

We watch the life of privilege the higher ups led inside the bunker. It was a fortification in which all comforts the regular Germans could not imagine existed. We get to know the people in Hitler's inner circle. The Goebbels, both Joseph and Magda, supporters of the regime, maintain the loyalty to the Fuhrer until the end. The scene where Magda Goebbels murders her children is hard to take and we keep sinking in our seats, as we can't believe such cruelty existed. In her narrow view of things, Magda must take her family with her to a death these children didn't deserve.

The film is totally dominated by Bruno Ganz. As Hitler, he makes us see this man as he probably was in real life. Mr. Ganz's uncanny resemblance with Hitler is what makes the film works the way it does. At times, Mr. Ganz is totally irrational, and at times, he is presented as a lost man who can't see what he has done to Germany and to Europe and the world.

As Traudl Junge, the young secretary, Alexandra Maria Lara gives a subtle performance. She saw plenty inside the bunker and lived to tell it to the world. The other excellent performance is given by Corinna Harfouch, who as Mrs. Goebbels makes us cringe in horror because of what she is capable of doing. Juliane Kohler, as Eva Braun, is an enigma. At times, she is presented as a carefree young woman who might have loved Hitler. Yet, we don't ever know what made this Eva Braun tick. Ulrich Matthes as Joseph Goebbels and Heino Ferch as Albert Speer are equally effective playing these two men.

The director and his team have to be congratulated for taking us on a voyage to see the last moments of the Third Reich.


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