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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) (2008)

tomatometer

63

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 135
Fresh: 85 | Rotten: 50

A touching and haunting family film that deals with the Holocaust in an arresting and unusual manner, and packs a brutal final punch of a twist.

66

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 12

A touching and haunting family film that deals with the Holocaust in an arresting and unusual manner, and packs a brutal final punch of a twist.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 111,591

My Rating

Movie Info

Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, and Asa Butterfield star in Little Voice writer/director Mark Herman's adaptation of John Boyne's novel concerning the forbidden friendship that between an eight-year-old German boy and a Jewish concentration camp prisoner in World War II-era Germany. The innocent son of a high-ranking Nazi commandant, Bruno has been largely shielded from the harsh realities of the war. When Bruno discovers that his father has been promoted and that their family will be moving from

PG-13,

Drama

Mark Herman

Mar 10, 2009

$9.0M

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All Critics (137) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (50) | DVD (9)

The result isn't a deep film, but rather a profound one.

May 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Comments (4)
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Young Scanlon and Butterfield are scathingly effective, never overplaying their roles.

November 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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In truth, the film is sure to stop the hearts of many who see it. There may indeed be hope in hell, but better to avoid hell altogether.

November 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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Because its gaze is so level and so unyielding, it stands as one of the better dramatic films made on this subject (although it's not nearly as fine as Louis Malle's Au Revoir les Enfants, in which the camps remain a distant abstraction).

November 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although it's told from the perspective of a child, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is as shattering as any film about the Holocaust could be, perhaps more so.

November 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I think that's what makes it so powerful, is because it is so small.

November 10, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not without its qualities, the movie ultimately does a disservice to the very people it purports to represent.

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinemania

A film dealing with the Holocaust really should be a little less clumsily executed, manipulative and contrived than this.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Built upon a powerful but gimmicky end, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas would make a fine short. As a full-length feature, though, the pajamas wear thin quickly.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

We are left in no doubt about the brutality of what's going on there but it's almost entirely off-screen. Still, the film is terribly confronting.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

This writer can't remember witnessing a harder-hitting kids' movie denouement than the one that closes this microcosm of middle-class German family life in WWII.

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out Sydney
Time Out Sydney

Much of the film depends on our ability to suspend disbelief and see the world as Bruno sees it. It has a finale designed to shock.

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

You may get halfway through and wonder why it's getting so heavily recommended here. Once you've experienced it in its entirety, you'll know why.

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

For me, the pluses far outweighed any misgivings I had with this ultimately very moving film.

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

The performances never falter, and even James Horner's heavy-handed score can't dim the film's unfathomable, unshakable ending.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

The story is passable, albeit a little too manufactured for my taste in terms of its moral lessons, but the execution is so stilted and unconvincing that the experience is uncomfortable

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile | Comments (2)
Urban Cinefile

The power of this story and the way director Mark Herman tells it through the innocent eyes of an eight year old boy overcome all the hurdles with its child-like simplicity that clutches our hearts

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The novel was written for young adults and the film feels like it pulls its punches. The final horrifying revelation is still a long way from the painful realities of those days.

March 30, 2009 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

When the time comes for resolution, writer/ director Mark Herman suddenly delivers the unexpected; he does not sell out.

March 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide | Comment (1)
Apollo Guide

Why do the all the Nazis here have British accents? How confusing is that? An unintentionally-comical cross of Hogan's Heroes and Springtime for Hitler!

March 14, 2009 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze | Comments (17)
NewsBlaze

The picture is blatantly obvious, pandering, and rather insulting.

March 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Comments (6)
Combustible Celluloid

The inevitability of the loss of innocence and tragedy is a heavy burden for the audience to bear.

March 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A harrowing, unforgettable film. I highly recommend it.

December 19, 2008 Full Review
FilmsInReview.com

While effective in spots, the abrupt, powerful ending would have worked better as a short story.

December 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Constrůi um desfecho mergulhado em dor e terror, lembrando-nos de que, no final das contas, s„o nossos filhos quem pagam - e caro %u2013 pelos erros de julgamento que cometemos.

December 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas)

Moving film about those in concentration camps in WWII. Good performances.
October 27, 2012
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

An oversimplification of the Holocaust, yes, as a very young German boy during WWll accidentally discovers exactly what his camp commandant dad does for a living, but to be forgiven its chosen naive viewpoint in respect to its chosen naive audience: a perfect film for schools.
June 17, 2012
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

An upper class German boy befriends a boy in a concentration camp.
Told from the perspective of a child, the foolishness of the adults in this story comes in stark relief, which is one of the film's strengths, especially considering all the films made on this subject. Good performances by Vera Farmiga and David Thewlis hammer home the film's point.
I did think that the conclusion was contrived and needed too much help from the protagonists' naivete in order for it to work.
Overall, this is a strong, unique film about the Holocaust.
June 8, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

If you've read my review for Pearl Harbor, then you'll know that I had a bad experience when my teacher showed a movie in a history class. Thankfully, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is different from Pearl Harbor. This movie was actually good, really good as a matter of fact. I had not seen the movie prior to watching it in my history class and I heard a lot of things about it:
"It's a really good movie."
"It's so sad!"
"I love this movie!"
"This movie sucks because there's no action."
That last comment was actually said by one of my friends, so clearly I have little faith in today's generation of movie-goers. To start, this movie got me hooked almost right away. Just from the opening scene I could tell that the little boy was going to go through some tough stuff. Asa Butterfield (Very interesting name) plays young Bruno and he did a really good job. David Thewlis and Vera Farmiga (two extremely underrated actors) play the mother and father and do a great job. I really liked how they showed how young children were brainwashed into thinking Jews were bad people. There's this one scene where the kids have a tutor and he's reading a bunch of crap about how Jews were responsible for the war. Seeing the guy I was thinking to myself "That guy is a dick but he represents what life was like back then." Overall it had great acting, a great plot, the friendship between Bruno and the Jewish prisoner was really well done and the ending actually almost had me crying. I won't spoil the ending but it's one of those things where when it happens, you just say "Oh my god, did that just happen?" Great movie though, I'd definately watch it again.
April 2, 2012
Tyler Robertson

Super Reviewer

    1. Bruno: We're not supposed to be friends, you and me. We're meant to be enemies. Did you know that?
    – Submitted by Amir V (2 years ago)
    1. Bruno: We're not supposed to be friends, you and me. We're meant to be enemies. Did you know that?
    – Submitted by Jillian L (2 years ago)
    1. Elsa Bruno's Mother: It won't feel like home until we make it feel like home.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
    1. Pavel: I practiced as a doctor.
    2. Bruno: You must not have been very good then, if you had to practice.
    – Submitted by Virginia L (3 years ago)
    1. Bruno: There is such thing as a nice Jew, though, isn't there?
    2. Herr Liszt: I think, Bruno, if you ever found a nice Jew, you would be the best explorer in the world.
    – Submitted by Virginia L (3 years ago)
    1. Bruno: Why do you wear pajamas all day?
    2. Shmuel: The soldiers. They took all our clothes away.
    3. Bruno: My dad's a soldier, but not the sort that takes people's clothes away.
    – Submitted by Virginia L (3 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

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Foreign Titles

  • Der Junge im gestreiften Pyjama (DE)
  • The Boy in Striped Pyjamas (UK)
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