15 user 2 critic

Out of the Ashes (2003)

R | | Drama | TV Movie 13 April 2003
0:56 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti), a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who manages to survive Auschwitz. Decades later, she's ... See full summary »


Joseph Sargent


Gisella Perl (book) (as Dr. Gisella Perl), Anne Meredith (teleplay)
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A group of people are imprisoned in a rail car bound from Berlin to a concentration camp in 1945.

Directors: Joseph Vilsmaier, Dana Vávrová
Stars: Gedeon Burkhard, Lale Yavas, Lena Beyerling
The Devil's Arithmetic (TV Movie 1999)
Drama | Fantasy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A 16-year-old American girl with an apathetic view towards her Jewish family history finds herself pulled through time into 1941 to a small Polish village where the Nazi have just began their genocidal propaganda.

Director: Donna Deitch
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Brittany Murphy, Paul Freeman
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A WWII Drama about a German/Jewish industrialist who, in order to ensure his family's safe passage out of Germany, is forced to hand over his business to the Nazis.

Director: John Daly
Stars: Martin Landau, Kenny Doughty, Caroline Carver
The Relief of Belsen (TV Movie 2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

With the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, safety did not come to its 60,000 prisoners right away. Starring Iain Glen, this award-winning movie recalls the actual events ... See full summary »

Director: Justin Hardy
Stars: Iain Glen, Nigel Lindsay, Jemma Redgrave
The Grey Zone (2001)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Nazi doctor, along with the Sonderkommando, Jews who are forced to work in the crematoria of Auschwitz against their fellow Jews, find themselves in a moral grey zone.

Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Stars: David Arquette, Velizar Binev, David Chandler
Holocaust (1978)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The saga of a Jewish family's struggle to survive the horror of Nazi Germany's systematic marginalization and extermination of their community.

Stars: Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh, Rosemary Harris
Auschwitz (TV Movie 1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: John Kaylin
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Against a backdrop of war and poverty, Out of the Ashes, traces the extraordinary journey of a team of young, Afghan men, as they chase a seemingly impossible dream, shedding new light on a... See full summary »

Directors: Tim Albone, Lucy Martens, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Hasti Gul Abid, Taj Malik Aleem, Harsha Bhogle
Escape from Sobibor (TV Movie 1987)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

During WWII, the death camp at Treblinka had an escape, causing the Commandant at a similar camp in Sobibor to vow that his camp would never experience the same thing. But those who were ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Gold
Stars: Alan Arkin, Joanna Pacula, Rutger Hauer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon revisits Auschwitz 70 years after her liberation, together with two teenage girls the same age she was when she was brought to the camp.

Director: Steve Purcell
Stars: Michael Berenbaum, Walter Feiden, Kelsey Grammer
Playing for Time (TV Movie 1980)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp (Auschwitz) are spared from death in return for performing music for their captors.

Directors: Daniel Mann, Joseph Sargent
Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Alexander, Maud Adams
Mengele (2011)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Actual events that took place in Germany during the holocaust, told through the eyes of Joseph Mengele.

Director: Patrick Dunbar
Stars: Doc Holliday, Jay Phoenix


Cast overview, first billed only:
Christine Lahti ... Gisella Perl
Bruce Davison ... Peter Schuman
Jonathan Cake ... Dr. Mengele
Jolyon Baker Jolyon Baker ... Frederick Krauss
Jessica Beitchman ... Marta Weiss
Oliver Cotton ... Moshe Perl
Michelle Fine Michelle Fine ... Fanny Perl
Zoie Palmer ... Didi Goldstein
Maria Ricossa ... Esther Jacob
Ingrid Veninger ... Zozia
Emma Wellbelove Emma Wellbelove ... Young Gisella
Nina Young ... Irma Griese
Richard Crenna ... Jake Smith
Beau Bridges ... Herman Prentiss
Vytautas Rumsas Vytautas Rumsas ... David Perl


Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti), a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who manages to survive Auschwitz. Decades later, she's applying for U.S. citizenship when she becomes accused of colluding with the Nazis. Her judge and jury are three INS investigators (played by Bruce Davison, Richard Crenna and Beau Bridges) who must decide her fate Written by Rottem Tomatoes

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence/cruelty and some nudity | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 April 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gisella Perl See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Richard Crenna's final acting project. See more »


Neither Cluj nor Sighet belonged to Hungary in the period the movie refers to - except for the military occupation of Horthy's Hungary (1940-1944). Even during that brief occupation, most inhabitants of other than Hungarian ethnicity would not have identified themselves as "Hungarian". This is probably not such an innocent mistake, since that is still a sensitive issue, Hungarians still claiming that part of Romania for themselves... See more »


Gisella Perl: I can recall wanting to be a doctor when I was a little girl. And I became a doctor... a very good doctor, if I can say that. I knew each child I helped bring into the world was a gift, not from me, but from God. But everything changed when I was deported to Auschwitz and began working there as a doctor. You know about some of the things I did there, for the pregnant women. But yes, I did sent unknowingly many women to their deaths within the day of my arrival. And yes, some of the things I did...
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Gripping drama, stretching the limits of TV
13 July 2004 | by OldRoseSee all my reviews

"Out of the Ashes" is very nearly the best story brought to the screen, among the many I've seen. At issue here (which many may not realise) is the life-story of one Doctor Gisella Perl--a Hungarian Jew who, along with her entire family, was captured from the family's home-town of Sighet and sent by boxcar to Auschwitz--while the holocaust itself provides the backdrop for the story. Like "Sophie's Choice", this film involved the difficult 'choiceless choices' that were made by some of the survivors of the Second World War's most infamous extermination camp.

In order to truly appreciate the story and the portrayal, one must know something of Hungarians and of Hungary, as well as their role in World War II. Actress Christine Lahti turned in such a marvelous and unforgettable performance, I actually thought I was seeing a Hungarian actress playing the role (to begin with), and then a really fine performance it was, to boot! I found myself on the edge of my seat with a film that, being a product of cable television, didn't garner such advance expectations. And but for one very glaring and avoidable error, which happens early in the film (only one scene), the final product was really quite well done. Bravo to Showtime!

Lahti's performance was award-winning, to say the very least, whether or not she was ever properly recognised. Add: a wonderful supporting cast, recruited in the US, Canada, and Eastern Europe. The scenery is lovely (filmed mainly in Lithuania; the film-makers were able to find a beautiful town not destroyed during the war). For those who have not seen this film, please do! It's a remarkable autobiography (i.e. the book on which its based) and life story. I think the actual Dr. Perl would have been proud of, and pleased with Lahti's performance and portrayal of her. Rent the DVD rather than wait for Showtime to rerun it (even though I'm sure it will be run again and again). Rating: 4,5 stars on 5.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse all our free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed