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

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Movie Info

East German swimmer Harry Melchior (Heino Ferch) escapes to West Berlin in 1961, but is forced to leave his family behind. When he recruits pals Mathis (Sebastian Koch), Vic (Mehmet Kurtulus) and Fred (Felix Eitner) to help him dig a tunnel under the wall so he can bring his sister, Lotte (Nicolette Krebitz), to freedom, he discovers that countless others are looking for ways to get relatives out of East Berlin. Suddenly, a small tunnel becomes a major engineering undertaking.

Cast & Crew

Heino Ferch
Harry Melchior
Nicolette Krebitz
Friederike "Fritzi" Scholz
Sebastian Koch
Matthis Hiller
Alexandra Maria Lara
Charlotte "Lotte" Lohmann
Claudia Michelsen
Carola Langensiep
Felix Eitner
Fred von Klausnitz
Mehmet Kurtulus
Vittorio "Vic" Castanza
Uwe Kockisch
Oberst Kruger
Sarah Kubel
Ina Lohmann
Rainer Sellien
Georg Himmrich
Karin Baal
Marianne von Krausnitz
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Critic Reviews for The Tunnel

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (4)

  • 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 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • 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 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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
  • A true story few people will know, and it's told with a warm, crafty efficiency that makes for wonderful entertainment.

    September 2, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's a gripping great-escape yarn of the sort we don't see much anymore.

    September 2, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Either as history at its most inspiring or moviemaking at its most exciting, The Tunnel is a trip.

    August 19, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Tunnel

  • May 15, 2012
    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. W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2011
    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 s Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    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 Berlin..by 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
  • Oct 30, 2009
    Based on a true story Der Tunnel was the story of a champion swimmer Harry who managed to escape from East Berlin to the West. Some of his friends made it also but some of their families are left behind. I was aware of the history of German situation after the WWII, when Berlin was separated in two through a wall. But this movie showed the real life stories of the people in the DDR, what they had to endure and their urge to escape to West Germany. In the beginning it showed more about making of the tunnel but even so it maintained the tension for almost three hours.The cast was well chosen and the acting was excellent. A heartbreaking story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Worth watching. I highly recommend this movie. Don't miss it.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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