The Tunnel (Der Tunnel) (2001)



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

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 … More

Rating: R
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Johannes W. Betz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 4, 2005
Home Vision Entertainment



as Harry Melchior

as Friederike `Fritzi' ...

as Matthis Hiller

as Fred von Klausnitz

as Lotte Lohmann

as Carola Hiller

as Marianne von Krausni...

as Theo Lohmann

as Oberst Kruger

as Georg Himmrich

as Fotograf Gruner

as Ina Lohmann
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Tunnel (Der Tunnel)

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (18)

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.

Full Review… | September 23, 2005
Seattle Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 15, 2005
Los Angeles Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 15, 2005
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 2, 2005
Denver Post
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 2, 2005
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | August 19, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

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.

Cynthia S.

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.

Kevin M. Williams

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".

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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