Taking Sides (2003)

Taking Sides (2003)

Taking Sides



Critic Consensus: A complex, well-acted meditation on moral obligation and human loyalty, Taking Sides features noteworthy performances from Harvey Keitel and Stellan Skarsgard.

Taking Sides Videos & Photos

Movie Info

A tale based on the life of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the controversial conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic whose tenure coincided with the controversial Nazi era. One of the most spectacular and renowned conductors of the 30s, Furtwangler's reputation rivaled that of Toscanini's. After the war, he was investigated as part of the Allies' de-Nazification programme. In the bombed-out Berlin of the immediate post-war period, the Allies slowly bring law and order--and justice--to bear on an occupied … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Ronald Harwood
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 27, 2004
New Yorker - Official Site


as Maj. Steve Arnold

as Wilhelm Furtwangler

as Lt. David Wills

as Emmi Straube

as Helmut Rode

as Col. Dymshits

as Rudolf Werner

as Capt. Ed Martin

as Capt. Vernay

as Gen. Wallace
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Taking Sides

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Taking Sides

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (28)

Schematic, didactic, and most of all, in the case of Keitel, woefully miscast.

February 26, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The notions of the good man's complicity through inertia ... are ones that have been more powerfully explored before.

January 23, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

We're asked to jump into the combatants' arguments with no background about either one, no reason to care if Skarsgard sweats or Keitel rages.

Full Review… | December 19, 2003
Denver Post
Top Critic

The talk in this moral debate smokes with provocative drama and actors of weight.

Full Review… | December 4, 2003
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Brilliantly acted and written, Taking Sides overcomes any shortcoming of its transition from stage to screen.

November 6, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The film makes you take sides, and herein lies its attraction.

Full Review… | October 31, 2003
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Taking Sides

[font=Century Gothic]"Taking Sides" is set after the end of World War II, when the United States Army is investigating former Nazis in Germany. One specific target is Wilhelm Furtwangler(Stellan Skarsgard), the famed conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Major Steve Arnold(Harvey Keitel), a dogged insurance investigator in his civilian life, is put on the case. In interviewing several orchestra members about their conductor, Arnold receives the same answers - the orchestra did not perform at the Nuremburg rally, Furtwangler did not salute Hitler and he was not a member of the Nazi party. Not satisfied with those answers, Arnold digs deeper to find proof of Furtwangler's guilt while postponing their interview. In the meantime, he is banned from working as a conductor...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Taking Sides" is an intelligent movie that raises some interesting issues about the intersection of art and politics and patriotism(when can a person rightfully turn their back on their country?) through the most extreme example - Nazi Germany.(I did receive some insight into the German public's support of Hitler during World War II.) But the movie cannot escape its stagebound roots(though Ken Adam's wondrous production design sure gives it a try). Harvey Keitel simply overdoes it while Stellan Skarsgard takes the high road by underplaying perfectly. The film would have been better if it had focused more on Furtwangler. It portrays Germans as being cultured lovers of classical music while Americans are portrayed as relative philistines.(Marian Anderson's famous Easter 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial refutes this stereotype perfectly.) [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Director Istvan Szabo has been on similar ground before when he made "Mephisto" starring Klaus Maria Brandauer. "Judgment at Nuremburg" and "Zentropa" are much better movies about postwar Germany. [/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


The notions of the good man's complicity through inertia ... are ones that have been more powerfully explored before.

Taking Sides Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Taking Sides on our Movie forum!