Historicity of "Downfall (Der Untergang)" - ??

The review quoted on the jacket called it “accurate.” Any ideas on how accurate?

As for the general ‘feel’ of the film, I think it succeeded in portraying the insanity, pathos, and futility surrounding the event (the fall of Berlin, WWII). But what do I know? All i’ve done is read about it and seen PBS and Hitler Channel shows…

I rather enjoyed this dark and heavy film, but any and all thoughts are welcome, positive or negative.

Der Untergang (Downfall)

I am curious as well. I had this in my Netflix Queue until I decided to cancel my subscription.

I first heard of this film when I saw it reviewed on Ebert and Roeper. (Two thumbs up.)

It looked interesting in that it was one of the first films made that attempted to show Hitler as something other than a cartoon supervillian.

That is quite a controversial move.

There were several great discussions about this film over at dvdtalk.com. The general consensus was that the movie is historically accurate to a great degree, and the main parts that aren’t are parts for which little is known (burning Hitler’s body, for example).

IMHO, the film is worth watching just for Bruno Ganz’s depiction of Hitler. His mannerisms are amazing (especially the subtle “shakes” from both cerebal palsy and drug addiction that Hitler faced), and his portrayal of a man deep in the depths of madness is just something to see - not to mention his interactions with his senior staff (who were just as crazy as he was) and his military staff (many of whom were soldiers first and Nazis second). Over and over throughout the film, Hitler orders imaginary armies to “defend Berlin to the last man!” - the looks the generals give each other (because they know the 12th Panzer division has been annihilated) is amazing.

Great film, honestly!

I believe much of the film is based on the personal recollections of the secretary (the one we see hired in the film) who stayed around until the bitter end and subsequently wrote a book about it.

The visuals they created were stunning. Not just in sheer scale, but in dramatic value. Whether it was a scene of a destroyed city block or an intimate view in a home or hole, the movie makers got across their vision.

Besides Ganz and Lara, I also thought Berkel did an amazing job of acting.

This movie just felt so realistic! That’s why I had to ask.

It is based on Traudl Junge who had her own movie – however many of the major characters survived the War and their reminisces are thrown in too.

I do not see who could see it as humanizing Hitler: While other officers plead for the evacuation of women and children, Hitler responds that the German people do not deserve to survive, and we see all too well through Bruno Ganz’s nuanced performance that he knows the war is lost and doesn’t care about Germany or the continued suffering. You also see the Generals “playing out the hand” Russinas closing in the War is lost and still follwing Hitler’s orders and killing kids and fighting to the last man.

The only nitpick I would offer is the on again off again noise of the artillery. When it calls for it lights flicker and dust comes down – when it is inconvenient it stops for long periods.

I just saw this as intellectual consistency. It is the downside of the Will to Power, which is only cool when you’re winning.

In the director’s commentary track, he frequently points out how the historical documentation guided how he portrayed things. Events which were less documented were often dropped or played offscreen or simply referred to; the stuff you see in the movie often had two or more sources backing it.

The film may not be perfectly accurate (although it just might be; I’m no expert on the subject and the real experts are mostly dead now), but it’s probably the best film we’ll ever get on the subject.

Oh, and re. the intermittent artillery shelling: I noticed that too, but wrote it off under artistic license and practical necessity. (A truly realistic depiction of shelling would probably drown out most of the dialogue, blow out movie theater sound systems, and rupture a few eardrums.)

[If William Castle were alive today and making war movies, he’d probably salt a few theaters with flash grenades and apparatuses for shaking cement dust onto the audience members during shelling sequences. Just to keep things real, you know.]

I read in William Craig’s history of the battle of Stalingrad that German soldiers stationed miles from the front lines were frequently shaken out of their underground bunk beds by the concussion waves from the bombardment as they travelled through the ground. :eek: That’s something I have yet to see depicted in a war film – and if it was, many moviegoers probably wouldn’t understand it or believe it if they saw it.

Actually, I do see it as Humanizing Hitler. Note, that is not the same as making him look like a good guy.

It depicts him as being a bit more fleshed out then the evil cartoon most of us know. A guy who was basically tired, worn out and obviusly having severve emotional problems. He seems to cross between two moods, the one where he’s calm and collected, realizing he’s lost but blaming everyone, and where he’s manic and shouting about telling everyone to move thier non-existant armies.

He’s still an evil genocidal dictator, but a human one.

I re-watched this movie over the weekend. It really is a stunning movie. Bruno Ganz’s was brilliant as Hitler. Once I watched it I became confused about the controversy as while it showed Hitler to be a human(well duh!) it did not sympathise with him or try to show him in any good light. It showed him as I always imagined him. A powerful hateful prick of a man who at the end lost control of the situation.

The artillery while not constant was very effective when listening to the DTS track. Everything in the room was shaking as we turned it up to 11 :wink:

Director Sam Fuller (The Steel Helmet, The Big Red One) served in the 1st rifle infantry in WWII and once said that the only way to make a truly realistic war movie would be to periodically machine gun the audience.

I also thought this was a great film, both in acting (Bruno Ganz was fantastic) and in the way the story progresses.

There was a recent thread on this film and one of our Dopers seemed to be quite knowledgeable on the facts/non-facts represented in the film…hope they check in again to comment here.

At any rate, I believe the film has tried to stay as close to “fact” as possible, which is somewhat difficult considering the dearth of verifiable first-hand accounts.

With some of the boorish audiences I’ve encountered, this would be fine by me.

I’m guessing you mean Bonzer. When I first searched, I only found one, three post, Cafe Society thread. But a wider search (outside of Cafe Society) brought up this CCC thread.

So, apparantly much of this film is historically accurate, but on some rather major points it relies upon hearsay and uncorroborated eyewitness accounts.


Still, I give it a hearty zwei daumen up!

(Additional comments, pro or con, still appreciated)