Swing Kids (1993)

Swing Kids




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Hailing from Disney studios, this off-beat drama is set in Nazi Germany and chronicles the exploits of a group of rebellious German youths who boldly reject Hitler's regime and listen to the forbidden American and British jazz music. Their love of the music gets them into great trouble and each of them is ultimately forced to make some difficult choices in order to survive. Look for Kenneth Branagh in an unbilled, but important role as a Nazi officer.

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Jonathan Marc Feldman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 3, 2002
Buena Vista Pictures


as Peter Müller

as Thomas Berger

as Frau Müller

as Herr Knopp, Gestapo

as Willi Müller

as Frau Linge

as Emil Lutz

as Herr Schumler

as Herr Hinz

as Bannführer

as H.J. Thug

as Mama Klara Müller

as Bismarck Owner

as Bismarck Bandleader

as Pastry Shop Woman

as Swing Girl With Thom...

as Policeman in Marketp...

as Swing Girl With Pete...

as Dr. Berger

as Evey's School Friend

as Frau Berger

as Evey's School Friend

as Cafe Trichter Owner

as Jewish Boy

as Small Club Owner

as Customer in Bookshop

as Luftwaffe Pilot

as Alberti

as Gestapo Arresting Be...

as Berger's Maid

as Speaker at HJ Rally

as Funeral Pastor

as Gestapo With Ashes

as First Woman With Ash...

as Girl with Ashes

as Woman With Ashes

as Cafe Bismarck Singer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Swing Kids

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Critic Reviews for Swing Kids

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (8)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 5, 1993
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

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

Audience Reviews for Swing Kids

Just listen to the premise and you can clearly deduce your enjoyment of this film: teenagers in Nazi occupied Germany rebel through their obsession with swing music. On the one hand, it does have historical implications , uses accurate information to draw a clear picture of how fearful the populace was of their government, and the assimilation of the peoples into a regime. On the other hand, most of the film strays from swing music altogether and instead delves into the role the Nazis took in indoctrinating their youth to believe in the Reich over decency. We're presented with three main characters: Peter, Thomas, and Arvid. All enjoy swing music, though Arvid is a cripple who plays the guitar with the band, and the others dance with gusto in a local club. None of them feel direct sympathy for the Jews, but do feel hatred for the Hitler Youth, who constantly beat up swing kids and hold raids on clubs. Peter, our main character, is pushed into joining the Youth through coercion, and Thomas does also for solidarity. The film veers into the true nature of the party, brining Peter's inner struggle to the service. This section of the film drags quite a bit, focusing more on fear and strong persuasion to discount freedom. The performances by Leonard, Bale, and Whaley were each singularly unique, and complimented each other. Still, their characters were too casually perfect for the formula needed: one is deadset against, one is conflicted, and one readily follows. It's too neat for me. Besides all that, the characters speak in Harlem slang, use the phrase "Swing Heil", and speak of swing music as an obsession, nothing else surely making any of them happy like it. This wouldn't have been so strange if all the characters weren't speaking English, when it's set in Germany, and the main evil doer played by Kenneth Branaugh didn't have a British accent. It was too much fluff in a film that should have been more about teenage rebellion, and less about taking society down with dancing, because that's all the movie is: dancing. Too strange for my blood.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Typical film you catch on a Thursday morning on Hallmark or something. Troublemaking kids love jazz and swing in Nazi Germany... then they're forced to become Nazi Youth Militants or something and tragedy ensues. Christian Bale is definitely a promising actor here -OK I am biased since he's one of my favorite actors, but his performance is one of the truly entertaining things about the film. Robert Sean Leonard does a decent job, if only it did not resemble his character in Dead Poet's Society. A different, less typecast of a lead would've done the film some good.

Amusing, good music and choreography, that's all!

Elvira B

Super Reviewer

A guy cuts his wrists with a record. The best parts are christian bale turning oh so nazi, and the dancing and music is great. The acting needs some help, as does the dialog. In fact, we could do without robert sean leonard all together.

Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

Swing Kids Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (18 months ago)

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