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Mephisto (1981)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 2,828

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on Klaus Mann's novel, Mephisto details the rise of a Faustian character who figuratively sells his soul in exchange for greatness. Hendrik Hofgen (Klaus Maria Brandauer, offering an electric performance) is the star of a state-funded theater department who tires of his job. Like his friends, he pays lip service to socialist ideals fashionable for artists of his time -- that is, until the Nazis rise to power. He then sees an opportunity to achieve his objective of fame: he will perform


Art House & International, Drama

Jun 26, 2001

HBO Video

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (5) | DVD (5)

Few have dared what Brandauer accomplishes: showing us a good actor responding to the same neurotic drive for the center of the stage, the immortalizing role. His is a great performance, nothing less.

July 28, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A disappointingly thin, conventional film.

July 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Hungaro pic shows extraordinary period flair for the Germany of the 1920s and '30s, balanced acting by a multinational cast, and exemplary direction.

July 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A superbly modulated, fruitfully ambivalent central performance by Brandauer carries the emotional and intellectual weight of the political dilemma.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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The actor is played by Klaus Maria Brandauer in one of the greatest movie performances I've ever seen.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Mephisto seems somewhat remote, without all the urgency of which Mr. Szabo has shown himself capable.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A compelling melodrama, essentially a revisiting of Goethe's version of the Faust legend, revised for the pre-war Nazi rise to power period.

February 28, 2014 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An inspired update of the Faust legend featuring a tour de force performance by Klaus Maria Brandauer.

July 28, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Difficult subject, but well pulled off. Too long though.

July 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Winner of the 1981 foreign lingo Oscar, Szabu's modern Faustian take is rather conventional in story and ideas, but it has strong emotional pull due to Brandauer's bravura performance.

June 12, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Mephisto is a powerful parable about fame as a disease of the spirit.

February 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Slow-burning and bleak, this detailed study of deception and self-justification is brought to life by the virtuoso performance of Klaus Maria Brandauer and the perfectly restrained direction of Istvan Szabó.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4


April 7, 2003 Full Review Source:

A very good film with an intriguing and disturbing message.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Mephisto

What would you do?

The first hour or so was momentarily almost dreadfully dull, but luckily things became more interesting towards the end as he really started to contemplate his doings.
December 17, 2007

Super Reviewer

Oscar winning film about a actor who sells his soul to advance as a actor and a citizen in the Nazi Germany.Klaus Maria Brandauer is great as a down and out actor who changes his beliefs to advance as Germany's greatest actor.The movie is a take on Faust and as the film continues Klaus goes from the devil to Faust himself. I loved the idea and it is executed perfectly. The only problem is the film has a sudden ending that really doesn't have much resolve. The movie is over 2 hours and they could trim about 20 minutes and add more of a ending.
February 27, 2009

Super Reviewer

A fantastic performance by Klaus Maria Brandauer.

December 19, 2008
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

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