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DOWNFALL aka DER UNTERGANG
USA: Newmarket Films
UK: Momentum Pictures
Cast: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Juliane Köhler, Corinna Harfouch, Thomas Kretschmann, Ulrich Matthes, Heino Ferch, Christian Berkel, Matthias Habich, Michael Mendel, Andre Hennicke
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Countries: Germany / Italy
Language: German / Russian (English subtitles)
USA: 150 mins
UK: 155 mins
USA Rated: R for strong violence, disturbing images and some nudity
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong violence, moderate sex references and surgical detail
USA Release Date: 18 February 2005 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 1 April 2005
Oliver Hirschbiegel's powerful World War II drama DOWNFALL was a box office hit in its native Germany. DOWNFALL aka DER UNTERGANG shows Hitler's dramatic last twelve days in his Berlin bunker and the ferocious fighting around him as the Russians closed in.
Bruno Ganz (WINGS OF DESIRE, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) gives a truly remarkable performance as Adolf Hitler - showing him acting tenderly towards his private secretary and his pet Alsatian dog as well as the more familiar ranting demagogue more usually associated with portrayals of the Fuhrer. The depiction of Hitler as a central character in a feature film has broken a long-standing taboo in Germany, and has provoked a heated debate.
Berlin, April 1945. A nation awaits its downfall. Fighting rages in the streets of the rubble-strewn capital. Hitler and his closest confidantes, including Goering, Himmler, Goebbels and Speer, have barricaded themselves in the Fuhrer's Bunker. Although Berlin can no longer be held, the Fuhrer refuses to leave the city. With the full force of the war descending on his beloved "volk", he stages his final departure. Only hours before their joint suicide, he marries Eva Braun. Their corpses are then burned so that they do not fall into the hands of the enemy. Many others also choose suicide. As the situation becomes ever more hopeless, Magda Goebbels poisons her six children before she and her husband take their own lives. Shortly thereafter Hitler's private secretary Traudl Junge and several others manage to escape.
Bernd Eichinger (RESIDENT EVIL, LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, THE NAME OF THE ROSE) produced the film and also wrote the screenplay, which is based on the book 'Inside Hitler's Bunker' by Joachim Fest, and 'Until the Final Hour' by Traudl Junge and Melissa Muller. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel is a prolific and award-winning TV director in Germany, who had a major success with his 2001 feature film DAS EXPERIMENT.