Downfall (Der Untergang) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Downfall (Der Untergang) Reviews

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½ June 24, 2017
I've been watching a lot of foreign films lately. Here's an excellent German film about Hitler's last days hiding out in a bunker as the Russians slowly advanced toward Berlin during World War 2. The movie is based on the memoirs of a young secretary who worked for Hitler. It shows Hitler's descent into madness as he realizes that he is losing the war and finally commits suicide along with his lover, Eva Braun. Many begged Hitler to leave the bunker but he refuses. He is brilliantly played by Bruno Ganz. The actor who portrays Joseph Goebbels looks extremely evil.
½ June 9, 2017
"Downfall" is a daring account of the last days of Nazi rule made all the more striking by unrelenting themes of corruption and the desperation of clinging to power.
½ June 6, 2017
No complaints here. Downfall is a well-acted and well-directed account of the Final days of Hitler, told from the German perspective. I wander what was going through these actors' minds as they played these characters.
June 1, 2017
From profound German order to near anarchy, Der Untergang provides an insider's witness into the emotional loss and emptiness of a failing socialist tyranny.
May 27, 2017
"Wow", is the only word to describe this moving, accurate and realistic reconstruction of the downfall of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Ganz is perfect in the role of Adolf Hitler, and the execution of the film is on-point to deliver the atmosphere, brutality and slowly growing insanity in the last hours of the Nazi's rule.
May 18, 2017
Powerful film about the fall of one of the most evil and cruel men in history.
½ April 7, 2017
Great film with an even greater cast.
March 23, 2017
Incredibly daring and completely engrossing.
February 7, 2017
Downfall, or Der Untergang in German, is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, and it stars Bruno Ganz and Alexandra Maria Lara in a historical war drama about the final days of Adolf Hitler during World War II and how Germany went into surrender to Russia forces. I remember when I first known about this film, and that's from YouTube when they show many Hitler parodies that play this movie with Hitler complaining about something when the translation is about something else that's recent news in a hilarious way. I would've got the chance to watch Downfall again in Holocaust class, but we didn't have enough time to watch it, so we watch something else. Luckily for me however, I managed to find it on Netflix, and watch it at a later time, which is now, and even when watching so many of those parodies, I still find it to be a tense film that I took it serious. I saw one of the comments that ask why are the parodies so successful that has been running for more than 5 years, and when I saw one of the answers, I agree with it, which is that the acting is so real and haunting, especially from Bruno Ganz that eerily looks similar to Adolf Hitler and is fantastic in it that feels. mentally frightening towards his thinking process, that whenever someone puts in translations to them that have nothing to do with the film, it makes it feel like the actors were actually talking about that which makes it hilarious, even though it's not the case to what they're really saying. The writing by Bernd Eichinger is very strong at keeping the viewers invested in the film, even if for us in the United States and other countries besides Germany, we have to read the translations. Everybody knows about the characters for what they have done that made history, but seeing in this film from how they act towards the end of World War II, there are some deeper characteristics from them that we might've not quite seen, even from Hitler who is starting to have some human qualities to him, although not that much to the point that we misunderstand him as a person consider that we see a lot of horrific things from his mentality that makes him what we remember him by. With a film like this, it's so easy to portray the characters so evil that they'll do things that will be shocking to viewers, especially since it takes place during the last days of World War II, but all it shows is that they remain faithful and loyal to Hitler, while questioning him at the same time and are actually starting to care about the German citizens and want to protect them instead of themselves, even though Hitler doesn't have the same thought as them. Downfall is probably one of my favorite foreign films, and if it wasn't for the Hitler parody videos on YouTube, I probably wouldn't have heard of this movie.
November 8, 2016
An amazing , true to life account of the last days of Adolph Hitler and the 3rd Reich. It will grab you almost immediately and take you to dark places in the story of one of the worlds most evil yet effective leaders. Acting and casting could not have been better and the action sequences are among the most realistic I have ever seen.
October 24, 2016
Superb movie depicting the final few days of Hitler in the Berlin bunker. Downfall makes for fascinating viewing and is based on accounts of people who were present at the events depicted. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel weaves a story that shows the way in which the Nazi plans spiralled out of control as Hitler becomes increasingly deranged as the Soviet forces close in on Berlin. Bruno Ganz is superb as Hitler, chilling, charismatic and unhinged. He throws everything into his performance and it is perhaps unfortunate that one of the key scenes has been so often and effectively parodied on the internet as this detracts a little from the power of the scene. There are so many chilling moments in this film. One of the most affecting has to be the murder of her children by Magda Goebbels which is horrific owing to the clinical nature in which it is executed. This is a very fine WWII movie indeed and will not be for everybody but for anyone interested in the story of this conflict, it is a gritty and realistic account of historical events.
September 27, 2016
Great film with a fantastic cast.
August 26, 2016
An incredible look at the last days of Adolf Hitler
August 26, 2016
August 22, 2016
Downfall is an intense portrayal of Hitler and Germany in the final days of the Third Reich, told from the point-of-view of Hitler's secretary. Hitler is portrayed not as a monster, but as a human (although a psychotic one). The film is frightening, tragic and sickening. Excellent overall.
July 24, 2016
Excellent film for its parodies alone.
July 21, 2016
Everyone has a "human" side to them... even Hitler, and this movie clearly shows it.
½ May 26, 2016
A hard, unflinching and completely accurate look at the final 10 days of the Nazi Regime.
May 21, 2016
Throughout the history of cinema there have been numerous films based around the deadliest and most widespread human conflict in history; they focus on soldiers, civilians and the hundreds of stories in between. But one area seems to have gone unnoticed by the movie-making masses; a view of the conflict from the perspective of the Nazis. Downfall is here to break that mould and in doing so, presents a brilliant and emotive trip through the fall of a dictator.

Downfall (or Der Untergang in Germany) is focused on the fall of Adolf Hitler; in the closing days of World War Two the Russians are advancing into Berlin and the Fuhrer (played by Bruno Ganz), along with his most esteemed generals and closest allies in the Reichstag's secret underground bunker are struggling to cope with countless losses and setbacks as a result of the advancing allied forces. Tensions gradually build within the Reich at the prospect of losing the war and impending doom and with this etched into their minds, the last Nazi officials realise that they must act to avoid capture or in other cases preserve the well-being of the German people in the midst of catastrophe. The story unfolds from a variety of perspectives, often flashing between different members of the Reich as they witness numerous events that unfolded in the Battle for Berlin. But the main narrative voice in Downfall is that of Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), one of Hitler's main secretaries who stays in the bunker, only to avoid the dangers of the outside world. From her viewpoint we see a much more emotional side of Hitler that no film has ever covered before; even though he was a truly despicable character (which is emphasised many times with his pride for murdering the Jews of Europe, scorched Earth policy and general disdain for his own people) he was still a human being who suffered and broke down as many of us sometimes do under loss and pressure. Downfall also deals with other themes in the war genre; the destruction of Berlin by the Russian Army gives way to many atrocities, making the audience feel sympathy for the people of Germany at that dark time, even the infamous Hitler's Youth comes to a realisation that they put their trust in the wrong leader as they themselves are involved in the fighting. The greatest strength of Downfall's plot is that it sets itself apart from practically every other war film out there; it concentrates heavily on the characters and their struggles, putting across a rather depressing tone from Hitler's viewpoint, whilst also emphasising that the war had just as great an impact on the citizens of the Nazi Regime than it did on those directly involved.

There are many actors playing a role in Downfall, all of whom add to the film's authenticity and all of whom deliver brilliant performances all around. At the centre is Bruno Ganz as Hitler, a fantastic performance which is perhaps the most realistic and compelling portrayal of the dictator yet seen in a film. Ganz spent four months studying to play the role to the best of his ability and it really shows; the dictator's selfish nature and inability to lead a country is shown elegantly, whether he is insulting and blaming his generals for his losses or being too arrogant in believing that his operations will succeed without any difficulty. By the end of the film, you understand fully why Hitler fell, both as a leader and as a dictator. Hitler's main generals, particularly his closest generals (played by the likes of Thomas Kretschmann, Heino Ferch and Ulrich Noethen) are also handled brilliantly; you can feel their nerves shredding when facing their leader with the news of another defeat with sweat in their hair and lumps in their throats. Then there are those who turn a blind eye to Hitler's evil and will follow him to the end; Juliane Kohler as Hitler's wife Eva Braun is almost completely ignorant of the losses that take place and often pretends that the danger doesn't exist at all, highlighting her naive devotion to the Fuhrer. Similarly, Ulrich Matthes and Corinna Harfouch as Joseph and Magda Goebbells are just as evil as Hitler in that they outright refuse to believe that the Nazi regime will fall; these performances further emphasise just how ruthless and sadistic the Third Reich was. Finally there exists the characters that still possess their innocence in a place riddled with death and destruction; Alexandra Maria Lara puts in a great performance as Traudl Junge; she remains calm and professional to avoid provoking Hitler's wrath while also avoiding the dangers of the besieged Berlin; in a sense, she represents the mind-set of the German people as a whole who were tricked into believing that Hitler would bring an era of peace and prosperity at the time. Likewise the young Peter Kranz (Donevan Gunia) along with his fellow peers believes that he is doing his country proud by serving in Hitler's Youth, but in reality he is serving a monster and has clearly been desensitised by his experiences in direct combat. The way Downfall handles and juggles so many characters at once is simply astounding; every character has ample screen time and their arcs all come to an end in one way or another. It all adds up to an excellent cast that can rival that of big Hollywood blockbusters.

Downfall is not only one of the best World War Two films but also one of the best foreign films ever made. It's one of the few films that can bring fresh perspective and humanity to a truly evil individual while also giving plenty of attention to those around him.
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