Downfall


"April 1945, a nation awaits its...Downfall"

Downfall is a German language retelling of Adolf Hitler's final days seen mostly through the eyes of his devoted secretary, Traudl Junge. The majority of the film takes place within the Fuhrerbunker underneath the Reich Chancellory, where Hitler and his staff have taken refuge from the advancing Soviet Red Army. Hitler consistently spurns pleas from his subordinates to escape Berlin, a refusal that effectively seals his fate to die. Outside, remaining units from the Wehrmacht, Volksstrum and Hitler Youth fight desperately, house to house, to repel the Soviets. Inside the bunker, Hitler has become incredibly distanced from reality as he orders rescue assaults by armies that have long been destroyed.

The film also follows the final hours of many other prominent Nazi officials, displaying Joseph Goebbels' desire for his family to perish alongside their beloved Fuhrer and Eva Braun's delusional devotion to the disturbed Adolf Hitler.

Fighting continually rages in the streets as several subplots develop that include a Hitler Youth soldier, fighting against the will of his father, who is awarded the Iron Cross, an SS doctor's mission to continue to provide aid to those sick and dying and a general reporting to his own execution for disobeying orders, only to be promoted in the confusion.

Slowly as Hitler realizes the futility of his orders to imaginary armies he starts to calm; blaming the German peoples' own weakness for their downfall. Hitler, with the Soviets now just 400 meters from the bunker, formally records his last will and testament with the help of Traudl Junge and weds his longtime mistress Eva Braun, with whom, following a final dinner, he commits suicide. Their bodies are hastily cremated by SS officers in the Chancellery's courtyard.

The film concludes with the unconditional surrender of Berlin to the Red Army which immediately begins to disarm the remaining German troops. Junge, who escaped the bunker the previous night, manages to slip through the Russian lines and with the aid of the Hitler Youth member, Peter, pedals away from the decimated ruins of Berlin.

R
| 2004 | 2 hr 35 min | 8.3/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Oliver Hirschbiegel
Language
German, Russian
Downfall
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