15 certificateDownfall is a Film programme that first aired in 2004 and has been classified a 15 certificate.

Downfall is a 4 star programme

Image for the Film programme "Downfall"

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Downfall (2004)

Directed by
Oliver Hirschbiegel

Oliver Hirschbiegel's Oscar-nominated film is set in Hitler's Berlin bunker in the dying days of the war. As the Allied troops, led by the Russians, encircle the city and begin to close in, Hitler (Bruno Ganz) and his remaining commanders gather in the claustrophobic command centre. The dictator orders non-existent troops to counter-attack, and sends ill-equipped children and their grandfathers into battle and rails against his generals for their failures.

Meanwhile, Eva Braun (Juliane Köhler) leads the drunken debauchery as those that know the war is over drink themselves into oblivion, and Goebbels and his wife Magda (Ulrich Matthes and Corinna Harfouch) poison their children rather than see them live on when National Socialism is dead.

The theme has been visited before, but this is the first film to address the topic from the loser's viewpoint and is all the more powerful for it. Ganz gives a disturbing performance as Hitler, uncannily capturing his mannerisms, but it is the depiction of a man in the throes of self-deluding madness that is the most powerful.

The film's exterior shots - showing a shattered Berlin where society is breaking down and summary execution is the order of the day - add to the movie's power. In Germany, the film was seen by 4.6m people, with audiences sitting in stunned silence at Ganz's portrayal of the most evil man in history.

Written by ,

Genre: Film

Production Year: 2004

4/5 Stars

Classification: 15 Certificate

Production Country: Germany/Italy/Austria

Filmed in Colour

When is Downfall next on TV?

It's next showing on BBC 2 Tonight, 11:20pm and on BBC 2 Scotland Tonight, 11:20pm. See more...


Image for Bruno GanzBruno Ganz...Adolf Hitler
Alexandra Maria Lara...Traudl Junge
Image for Corinna HarfouchCorinna Harfouch...Magda Goebbels
Image for Ulrich MatthesUlrich Matthes...Joseph Goebbels
Image for Juliane KöhlerJuliane Köhler...Eva Braun
Heino Ferch...Albert Speer
Christian Berkel...Prof. Dr. Ernst-Günter Schenck
Matthias Habich...Prof. Dr. Werner Haase
Image for Thomas KretschmannThomas Kretschmann...SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein
Michael Mendl...General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling
André Hennicke...SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke
Ulrich Noethen...SS Heinrich Himmler
Birgit Minichmayr...Gerda Christian
Rolf Kanies...Hans Krebs
Justus von Dohnanyi...Wilhelm Burgdorf