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Germania Anno Zero (Germany Year Zero)

Germania Anno Zero (Germany Year Zero) (1949)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 8.9/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 1

An early masterpiece from director Roberto Rossellini, Germany Year Zero plunges viewers into real-life horror.

80

Average Rating: 0/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

An early masterpiece from director Roberto Rossellini, Germany Year Zero plunges viewers into real-life horror.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 2,532

My Rating

Movie Info

In the third and final film of Rossellini's WWII trilogy, the director shifts his focus from his native Italy to the bombed-out ruins of Berlin, where 12-year-old Edmund Koehler struggles for survival. Among the nine people he lives with are: a father, who is suffering from malnutrition and a fatal illness; a brother, who is a former Nazi soldier hiding to avoid arrest; and a sister, who has turned to prostitution. Scouring the rubble-strewn city for food, money, and cigarettes, he comes upon a

May 2, 2005

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (1) | DVD (4)

The colossal rubble of Berlin is not just an analogue to the collapse of the social order but an amazing sight, and the movie makes you feel the weight of every smashed façade and fallen stone.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pic isn't acted but 'lived.' Pro and non-pro cast play it with uniform sincerity. Edmund Meschke is the most impressive of the lot, delivering a poignant, believable portrayal as the young disgraced hero.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A horror movie that declines to tease.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The sum effect of the presentation is a sense of bleak discomfort and despair, unrelieved by any purge of the emotions.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To the critics of the time, it seemed that Rossellini had betrayed the tenets of neorealism...It now appears as Rossellini's first mature work, pointing to his masterpieces of the 50s.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An unrelenting searchlight and a humane act of commiseration

August 11, 2014 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Short and very downbeat, this hits the irony buttons rather too much but is still an uncomfortable, powerful film.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

One of cinema's most frightening films, Germany Year Zero concerns one of the most frightening periods of history.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The documentary footage of a decimated Berlin is still enormously powerful, especially when compared to the coverage of that other vanquished, but unscathed, capital in Rome, Open City.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

[VIDEO ESSAY] In war, Rossellini seems to say, it is the innocent that suffer most.

January 21, 2014 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

While mainstream reportage operates all kinds of cliched evasions, Rossellini's cinematic experimentation enables us as spectators to develop our capacity for compassion. And we need this at the present time, perhaps more than ever.

July 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Senses of Cinema
Senses of Cinema

Even if you don't entirely buy into the final moments (which I didn't), they do little to lessen the power and profundity of the film's overall message about what a world at war does to those caught in the crossfire

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Though war has ended, ideology endures. Carpet bombing cant bury a generation of poisonous lies.

January 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A horror movie in the manner of a neo-realist film, where fantasy mixes with reality.

February 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quickly makes you forget its soapbox agenda and delves into a deeply felt story so powerful it hurts.

August 7, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Fantástico drama sobre a situação do pós-guerra, cria um personagem verossímil e sua tragédia ilustra com dor o que era viver na Alemanha naquela época.

July 25, 2003
Cinema em Cena

There's rarely a shot that doesn't portray the utter hopelesness of Edmund's situation, and it makes his eventual fate feel almost inevitable, if no less wrenching as a result.

July 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Even as Germany Year Zero promotes a definite agenda, it remains admirable, because it incorporates politics without sacrificing its technical and storytelling virtues.

November 22, 2002 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

A grim movie perhaps... but a great one: Rossellini provides a fitting end to both the trilogy and his 'pure' neo-realist period.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Edinburgh U Film Society
Edinburgh U Film Society

Audience Reviews for Germania Anno Zero (Germany Year Zero)

the bombed out ruins of berlin are used to great effect here. a really hard hitting film for 1947
March 25, 2013
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Germany, Year Zero," 12-year old Edmund(Edmund Meschke) does not go to school or play much, instead foraging for food in the ruins of postwar Berlin due to his family being short on ration cards because of his brother Karl-Heinz(Franz Gruger) being afraid to report to the police because of his wartime activities. His sister Eva(Ingetraud Hinz) helps out as much as she can, mooching cigarettes in the evening which can be traded in for food. While living in a multifamily apartment, all are in support of their invalid father(Ernst Pittschau). One day while trying to sell a scale, Edmund runs into Enning(Erich Guhne), an old teacher...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Roberto Rossellini, "Germany, Year Zero" is helped out enormously by location filming in developing a powerful portrait of a country trying to recover from a disastrous war. With little work and food to go around, the people are often forced to go hungry, a dire situation that is made worse if they have any sick that have to be cared for. While not judging any of the characters, the movie also makes the point that a lack of a moral authority in the wake of the poisonous Nazi regime can also lead to the unthinkable being possible again.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
May 2, 2010
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

While many argue that "Germany Year Zero" is just misery stacked upon misery with nothing else, sometimes that's life and is reality for people. This is the third and final film in Rossellini's War Trilogy and is by far the shortest and to the point, running at 73 minutes while the others are closer to 120 minutes. In no way does the run time hinder the message of the film, rather it makes the message clear and hard. The film's protagonist is a twelve year old boy named Edmund Koehler who along with his brother and sister must care for their weak and dying father. Edmund's older brother was in the German army and thus is in hiding due to the allied forces being in power at the end of WWII. This means that there are four people trying to surviving on three rations, leading them all to struggle day to day. Edmund helps in any way he can, often making mistakes and being taken advantage of in many ways but It's clear his intentions are heroic and noble. After helping an old teacher sell items and make a little money, Edmund begins to get brain washed by the teacher who constantly speaks of being brave and letting the weak die and the strong live. It's due to this that Edmund proceeds down a rough and ultimately fatal downwards spiral. The film itself is a lonely and dark coming of age film in wore torn Germany and is almost a horror film for the neo-realist genre.
December 6, 2011
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Deutschland im Jahre Null (DE)
  • Germany Year Zero (Germania anno zero) (UK)
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