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The Tunnel (Der Tunnel) (2001)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 25
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 4

The Tunnel is both a tension-filled thriller and a riveting history lesson.


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 2

The Tunnel is both a tension-filled thriller and a riveting history lesson.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 3,080

My Rating

Movie Info

The true story of Hasso Herschel inspired this epic Cold War drama from Germany. Harry Melchoir (Heino Ferch) was a respected German athlete when the Berlin Wall forcibly divided the nation in 1961. Unwilling to cooperate with the East German authorities, Melchoir escaped to West Berlin, along with his friends Matthis (Sebastian Koch), Vic (Mehmet Kurtulus), and Fred (Felix Eitner). When he fled to West Germany, Melchoir was forced to leave his family behind, and he fears for the fate of his


Art House & International, Drama

Johannes W. Betz

Oct 4, 2005

Home Vision Entertainment

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All Critics (29) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (4) | DVD (3)

Richter makes wonderful if obvious use of the wall and the tunnel as built-in metaphors for our struggle for human connection and dread of helplessness and change.

September 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is the kind of superbly crafted, intelligent entertainment -- a classic suspense thriller -- that nowadays is as welcome as it is rare.

September 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Richter gives a raw, frank but sophisticated account of the excruciating logistics of this great escape, and the appalling, inspiring blend of betrayal and courage that attended the group's herculean efforts.

September 15, 2005 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A true story few people will know, and it's told with a warm, crafty efficiency that makes for wonderful entertainment.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a gripping great-escape yarn of the sort we don't see much anymore.

September 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Either as history at its most inspiring or moviemaking at its most exciting, The Tunnel is a trip.

August 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This true story about one of the many tunnel escape attempts under the Berlin wall in the 60s provides all the excitement of an escape movie, given extra depth and resonance by its real life genesis... a superb film

August 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Well-cast and sporadically gripping.

September 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The Tunnel proved to be too exciting for mere broadcast

September 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Overlong and a bit overcooked...but it's also properly grueling.

June 23, 2005
Groucho Reviews

riddled with slow pacing, melodrama and viewer fatigue

June 1, 2005 Full Review Source:

Genuinely gripping, balancing the travails of constructing the tunnel against the characters' stories with considerable skill.

April 29, 2005 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The film picks up steam as the tunnel nears completion -- thanks, in part, to a Hollywood film crew that pays for the rights to the tunnelers' story, providing them with the money to finish the project.

April 7, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Audience Reviews for The Tunnel (Der Tunnel)

Based on true events. A gripping drama about a group of people in the early '60s who try to break out their loved ones living in communist East digging a 145 meter tunnel under the Berlin Wall. I enjoyed this film so much that it didn't feel even close to being 2 hours and 47 minutes long. Very tense, and dramatic.
October 22, 2012

Super Reviewer

Originally a miniseries for German television and based on real events (two phrases usually marked for contempt) here is a tension riveting trip to Berlin in the days right after The Wall was built. Rich with nuanced character development (and informed by American media) its not quite so far or long as may be imagined. A consideration on illegal immigration worth your time.
May 15, 2012

Super Reviewer

Based on true events, this movie uses loads of general rules of fictionalization. While that surely made it look somewhat unauthentic, nevertheless, it also helped to keep me hooked to the movie. The project was almost always on the brink of destruction, but they manage to escape somehow. The story was nicely weaved, and I kept wondering what's next. Because the movie is based on real events, it made me care more for its characters. Although it doesn't reflect the events as they actually occurred, the movie succeeds in dramatizing the events so as to make it more intriguing. I don't know if I'd have liked the simple filming of the events without fictionalization. Probably, I may know it some day if at all I can get to see that 1962 movie "Tunnel 28" (aka "Escape from East Berlin") which displays some real footage of the events. However, the probability for that is almost negligible.

One of the best escape movies which had escaped from my attention till date. I can't recall how I exactly stumbled upon it. Seems like it isn't that popular, even though IMHO, it's far better than "The Great Escape".
February 14, 2011

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"The Tunnel" starts in 1961 as the Berlin Wall is being built by East German authorities to stem the flow of emigration to the West. Engineer Matthis Hiller(Sebastian Koch) succeeds in escaping via the sewers but is separated in the confusion from his wife, Carola(Claudia Michelsen). From West Berlin, he manages to get a fake passport back to his friend, Harry Melchior(Heino Ferch), a champion swimmer, who strolls to freedom. But Harry cannot arrange for his sister Lotte's(Alexandra Maria Lara) family to be brought over to the West, and cannot abide being separated from her. So, he cooks up a plan with Matthis, Vittorio(Mehmet Kurtulus), an American expatriate, and Fred(Felix Eitner), a West German native, to dig a tunnel 145 meters into East Berlin from an abandoned factory on the west side of the wall.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Incredibly based on a true story, "The Tunnel" gets off to a horrendous start as it seems at first to be only concerned with making political points instead of telling a story. But once it gets going, the movie develops into a taut thriller with more than its share of heartrending moments, any politics subtly pushed into the background. In the end, it is about ordinary people turned into real-life heroes caught between two conflicting ideologies, watching their country being torn apart and no longer able to trust each other.[/font]
July 30, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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