Downfall (Der Untergang in German) is a 2004 German/Austrian/Italian film which chronicles the last few days of the Third Reich from Hitler's assistants and generals to a boy who is part of the Hitler Youth. The film was released in 2004 by Constantin Film AG and was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel.
The film was written by Bernd Eichinger, and based upon the books Inside Hitler's Bunker, by historian Joachim Fest; Until the Final Hour, the memoirs of Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's secretaries; portions of Albert Speer's memoirs Inside the Third Reich; Hitler's Last Days: An Eye–Witness Account, by Gerhardt Boldt; Das Notlazarett Unter Der Reichskanzlei: Ein Arzt Erlebt Hitlers Ende in Berlin (The Field Hospital Under the Reich Chancellery: A Doctor's Witness of Hitler's Death) (memoirs) by Doctor Ernst-Günther Schenck; and Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936–1949 (memoirs) by Siegfried Knappe.
The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
As the title says, the film depicts the downfall of the crumbling Third Reich as the Soviets tighten the noose around Berlin. From Hitler's 56th birthday on 20 April to his suicide ten days later and the surrender of the city on 2 May, and ranging from various viewpoints such as Hitler himself, his inner circle, and even a 12-year-old boy from the Hitler Youth, it concentrates on the emotional effect of an utterly useless last-ditch effort to buy Nazi Germany a couple of more hours of existence.
- The film mainly concern about human emotion and psychology, and how war affects or changes them. Therefore, it is an anti-war film.
- Most of the scenes of the Berlin streets were actually shot in St. Petersburg, where the old buildings have German architectural aspects and absence of modern advertising signs in the streets.
- According to Box Office Mojo, the movie was made at a budget of €13.5 million.
- Downfall was a feature film on the Singapore Airlines entertainment system KrisWorld in February 2012.
This movie would be the base for the countless internet parodies. The infamous scene where Hitler snaps after learning Steiner ignored his command, has been the subject of people adding funny subtitles to make it look like Hitler is angry for some thing like getting banned from Xbox live.
A recent trend in parody making involves that of sketch-type and special effects parodies involving Hitler and his subordinates, especially Hermann Otto Fegelein who was depicted by most Untergangers to be a jolly prankster bent on tormenting the Führer with countless antics. With tools such as Sony Vegas as well as a few other specialised applications, one can easily turn what was supposed to be a serious war drama into a piece of slapstick comedy or a farce.
- Hans Krebs was not in Berlin on 20 April. He only arrived on the 21st.
- Göring left the Führerbunker on 20 April, yet he is seen later in the conference room.
- There are neither bullets coming from Högl's MP40 nor wounds in Fegelein's chest in the Fegelein Execution Scene.
- The truck Weidling used to announce Berlin's Surrender to the Soviets is actually a Soviet-manufactured GAZ-63.