The Counterfeiters


The Counterfeiters

Critics Consensus

The Counterfeiters is a gripping account of one prisoner's moral dilemma, superbly portrayed by Karl Markovics.



Total Count: 126


Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,289
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Movie Info

Writer/director Stefan Ruzowitzky explores the moral corrosion of Nazi complicity with this tightly wound adaptation of Adolf Burger's fact-based book The Devil's Workshop. Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) may be a talented artist at heart, but his desire for wealth has driven him to use his creativity for more nefarious means. Arrested by the police inspector Herzog (Devid Striesow) at the onset of World War II, Sorowitsch is sent to the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp. It's not long before Salomon's thinly veiled opportunism earns him a relatively comfortable position as the camp's resident sketch artist, and five years later he is mysteriously swept away to Sachsenhausen. Upon arriving at the camp, Sorowitsch discovers that Herzog, now a commandant, is attempting to destabilize the economies of the Allies while simultaneously funding the Nazi war machine by assembling a special team of counterfeit artists to create millions in fraudulent pounds and dollars. As the operation gets under way, Sorowitsch finds the efforts of the team continually undermined by unyieldingly idealistic collotype specialist Adolf Burger (August Diehl). In the months that follow, the team wrestles with their consciences as Axis forces are gradually overwhelmed by Allied might. The Counterfeiters won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for The Counterfeiters

All Critics (126) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (118) | Rotten (8)

  • It's details like that-too bizarre not to be true-that give "The Counterfeiters" its bitter wallop. It's an astonishing tale of cunning, compromise and survival.

    Feb 6, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • As writer-director Stefan Ruzowitzky shows, powerfully, affectingly, in The Counterfeiters, the privileges experienced by this small team of Jews and criminals came at a price.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The winner of this year's Oscar for best foreign-language film puts devils, as well as angels, on the head of the pin.

    Jun 8, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This Oscar-winning film ranks as the most unnerving, disturbing, true-life account yet of endurance under Nazi oppression.

    Jun 8, 2008 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • This dark, absorbing thriller is not just a moral exercise in the awful choices faced by those determined to survive history's worst genocide. It invites us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of a not-quite-lovable rogue.

    Apr 24, 2008 | Rating: 5/5
  • The Counterfeiters, written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, is a morally challenging twist on the long and honorable tradition of forgery movies.

    Apr 13, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Counterfeiters

  • Aug 11, 2012
    Interesting true story. But it's about time filmmakers move on and stop making movies about WWII, no matter how inspiring or uplifting the stories are. This one is nether and it's unfortunately not that engaging because it's told in such conventional ways, I couldn't get into the moral dilemma.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 10, 2011
    The Counterfeiters is a fictionalized do-or-die tale of survival by a group of talented counterfeiters set World War II Nazi concentration camp. Bold, brave, and provocative new perspective on Operation Bernhard and its role in the Holocaust. Credible cast and performances. A deserving 2007 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film winner.
    Jan Marc M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2011
    This film isn't bad, but it's not that good either. Things happen way too fast in the beginning, which is surprising since German films usually have very good pacing. The movie doesn't really get interesting until the end of the second act, and even then it only offers a few exciting scenes. The camera work was also pretty bad, which doesn't help an already "meh" movie. Like I said, it wasn't bad. But it's definitely not a film I'd recommend or care to watch again.
    Alex M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2011
    It may be hard to some to dare say negative things about a movie with such a delicate storyline, but The Counterfeiters has really nothing extraordinary to it and I now seem to be the only one to say it is a terribly overrated movie. The direction, which gives a TV look to the film (it was a great thing for The Pianist; here, it is only making it look cheap), is unfortunately very unsensitive while strong emotions should be what you'd find in a movie that is supposed to be inspiring. While it failed to inspire anything in me, it did manage to protray the horror of the Holocaust but never came close to other great films of the genre. Its qualities are never enough considerable to overcome its tactless and cold portrayal of a journey that was supposed to feel inspiring.
    Emile T Super Reviewer

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