Germany, Year Zero (1949)

Germany, Year Zero (1949)

Germany, Year Zero



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

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Movie Info

This German tragedy (the literal English translation is Germany in the Year Zero) tells the disturbing tale of a little boy's struggle to adjust to life after the war.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Max Kolpe, Max Kolpet, Roberto Rossellini, Carlo Lizzani
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 2, 2005
Criterion Collection

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as Edmund Koehler

as Eva Koehier

as Karl-Heinz

as Eva Koehler

as Karlheinz Koehler

as Eva's Friend

as Rademacher's Daughte...

as Mr. Rademacher

as General von Laubniz

as Mrs. Rademacher

as The Doctor
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Germany, Year Zero

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2014
New Yorker
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

A horror movie that declines to tease.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An unrelenting searchlight and a humane act of commiseration

Full Review… | August 11, 2014

Audience Reviews for Germany, Year Zero

Even if it tends to diverge a bit from neorealism into melodrama, especially in its last moments, this is a gut-wrenching tale set against the wreckage of a post-war Berlin, about a tragic boy who embodies the pain of a collapsed society struggling to survive.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

the bombed out ruins of berlin are used to great effect here. a really hard hitting film for 1947

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]
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[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]
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Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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