Movie. Downfall, 2004.

Posted by T on October 16, 2006
By Title, Movies

Original German Der Untergang.

No idea how this movie slipped through the crack for most of us when it came out. It is wonderful, terrible, everything a movie should be.

Think of it as Steven Spielberg but with a soul.

It is about the last days of the siege of Berlin in WW2. It is based on the memoirs of Traudl Junge, one of Hitler’s secretaries. At the time of the movie, she was still alive and they open the movie with an interview. She makes all the usual apologies and genuflections, so they considered her story safe. Pretty Alexandra Maria Lara plays Junge in the story.

The Germans have a knack for making great war movies that subjectivize the angst. The scene when the girls emerge into daylight for a smoke, opening up the light and space, only to have even that quickly turn back into darkness and claustrophobia, is emblematic. There are bombs, attempts to dance, and street fighting scenes. Children singing in the bunkers. Young boys bravely facing the Soviet invaders.

They actually show a Hitler (Bruno Ganz) that is other than a cartoon character: like the real Hitler, he is not always screaming, walking with stiff knees, and talking about Jews.

Much of the dialogue is supposed to be based on actual historical transcripts.

There is a lot of disturbing killing shown so fair warning. Most of it is justified I think to tell the story. Definitely not for children.

This movie is Butler-index quality: I give it a finite number of viewings only because it is so painful.


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3 Comments to Movie. Downfall, 2004.

  • Indeed it is painful to watch, but a very good movie, nonetheless. Bruno Ganz’s Hitler is accurate. He was not the raving lunatic that the media portray him to be.

    One scene hit a false cord, though. It is unlikely Junge could have openly walked through the Soviet line without being molested.

    After the fall, Stalin gave the Red Army three days to rape and pillage. And they did just that. According to Antony Beevor, in his book, Berlin: The Downfall 1945, about 100,000 women of all ages were raped – including young girls and 80 year old grandmothers. Here is an account of the horror these German women went through.

  • we talked about this movie a bit ago and yes it is hard to watch, i do not know if it is because of the violence or the fact that the story follows the historical record so close. The pain and utter confusion that these people go through when Hitler does show himself to be the true UBERMENCH, he feels nothing…i also liked the camera angles in the end as parts got smaller and smaller, Hitler’s room gets small and darker till he is in a small office completely dark, when i think the secretary comes in, and if memory serves right he is looking at a picture of Clausewitz…I also agree with M in that the one scene he speaks of is problematic and i think Speer is made out to be to umm consciencent in the end. I also agree that as good as this movie is i would have a hard time emotionally seeing it again…This is on par in parts with Hotel Rwanda.Same problem..One more scene hopefully not giving too much away was the Last General in charge of Berlin i forget his name, gets called during a fire fight, his aide answers and gives the general the phone, he argues with the spokeperson and hangs up; his aide looking at him in a bit of a question-like way,gets the general saying that he has been called in for moving away from the front line and is to be shot.. he buttons up and takes his aide tO HQ.They get to a desk near Hitlers area and a man behind the desk asks why they are there and without breaking stride the general says to be shot.. the desk jockey then asks for him to please hand over the firearms which they do…this scene is soooo funny in a way because of the utter insanity…

    or should i say Spater,
    s. e. hoffmeister

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