Downfall (2004 film)

2004 film by Oliver Hirschbiegel

Downfall (German: Der Untergang) is a 2004 German war film depicting the final ten days of Adolf Hitler's reign over Nazi Germany in 1945, from the perspective of his secretary, Traudl Junge.

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. Written by Joachim Fest.
April 1945, a nation awaits its...tagline
Tomorrow millions of people will curse me, but fate has taken its course. — Adolf Hitler
In a war as such this, there are no civilians. — Adolf Hitler
I feel no sympathy. I repeat: I feel no sympathy! The German people chose their fate. That may surprise some people. Don't fool yourself. We didn't force the German people. They gave us a mandate, and now their little throats are being cut! — Joseph Goebbels
On April 30, 1945, the Führer committed suicide, abandoning everyone who had sworn allegiance to him. True to the order of the Führer, you, German soldiers, were ready to continue the fight for Berlin, although your ammunition was running low and the overall situation made further resistance pointless. ~ Helmuth Weidling
I order the immediate cessation of all resistance. Every hour that you continue fighting prolongs the terrible suffering of the civilian population of Berlin and our wounded. In agreement with the high command of the Soviet troops, I urge you to stop fighting immediately. Weidling, former commander of the Berlin Defense Area. ~ Helmuth Weidling

Adolf Hitler

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  • I will win in Berlin, or face my downfall.
  • In a war as such this, there are no civilians.
  • [Believing Goering's offer to take power is a coup] The loser, the sponge. A parvenu, a lazy bones! How dare he say I'm incapacitated? Tomorrow, he might declare me dead! [...] The Luftwaffe, what did he turn that into? For that alone, he should be executed! This morphine addict corrupted the country! And now this, he's betraying me — me of all people!
  • [upon discovering that Himmler has been negotiating with the Western Allies behind his back] Out of all people, Himmler? The truest of the true? This is the worst betrayal of all! Goering, of course, he was always corrupt. Speer, a genius, unpredictable artist. All the others, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! But Himmler, no. Has he gone insane? He claimed authority by saying I was sick, or maybe even dead!
  • Tomorrow millions of people will curse me, but fate has taken its course.

Joseph Goebbels

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  • I feel no sympathy. I repeat: I feel no sympathy! The German people chose their fate. That may surprise some people. Don't fool yourself. We didn't force the German people. They gave us a mandate, and now their little throats are being cut!
  • Surrender?! Never! This is outrageous! I've conquered Berlin against the Reds several years ago, and will defend the city to the last breath against them! I won't use my final hours as Reich Chancellor to sign a statement of surrender!

General Helmuth Weidling

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  • [reading] On April 30, 1945, the Führer committed suicide, abandoning everyone who had sworn allegiance to him. True to the order of the Führer, you, German soldiers, were ready to continue the fight for Berlin, although your ammunition was running low and the overall situation made further resistance pointless. I order the immediate cessation of all resistance. Every hour that you continue fighting prolongs the terrible suffering of the civilian population of Berlin and our wounded. In agreement with the high command of the Soviet troops, I urge you to stop fighting immediately. Weidling, former commander of the Berlin Defense Area. [tape recorder clicks off] A glass of water, please. [faints]

Dialogue

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Adolf Hitler: Koller, do you know that Berlin is under artillery fire?
Karl Koller: No.
Hitler: Can't you hear the shelling?
Koller: No, I'm in Wildpark Werder.
Hitler: Berlin is chaotic. Apparently, the Russians have captured a railway bridge over the Oder.
Koller: The enemy has no railway artillery near the Oder. [Looks at a notice] That's not long range artillery. The Flak and Zoobunkers say the shells are only 10 and 12 cm in caliber, meaning the Russians are closer. The Russians have positions near Marzahn.
Hitler: That's only 12 kilometers from the city center! Are the Russians that close? They should hang the entire Luftwaffe leadership! [hangs up] This is unheard of, unheard of! The Russians are 12 kilometers from the city center. Nobody told me anything. I had to ask.
Hans Krebs: Maybe it is long-range artillery after all. You mentioned that railway bridge over the Oder.
Hitler: Nonsense!

Adolf Hitler: [looking at a model of Germania] You know, Speer, there's an advantage to those bombings: it's easier to clean up debris then to demolish everything ourselves. When the war will be over, reconstruction will be quick. We spent thousands of hours together with these replicas. You're a true genius, Speer, yes, absolutely. Only you and I know that the Third Reich would be inconceivable with only warehouses and factories. Skyscrapers and hotels. This Third Reich will be a treasury full of art and culture that will survive thousands of years. We see before us, the ancient cities, the Acropolis. We see the medieval cites with their cathedrals, and we know that the people need that. Indeed, Speer, that was my vision...and it still is.
Hermann Fegelein: My Führer, if you want to realize these plans, you must leave Berlin. [Hitler is silent] Eva, say something!
Eva Braun: He's the Führer. He knows what's best.
Traudl Junge: You must leave Berlin. The Russians almost have us isolated.
Hiter: I can't do that, my child. I would be like a mule, with an empty prayer wheel. I will win in Berlin, or face my downfall. Speer, what do you think?
Albert Speer: You have to be on the stage when the curtain falls.

Wilhelm Keitel: I know I'm repeating myself, but the 9th Army must retreat! Otherwise it will be surrounded and wiped out! We must—
Adolf Hitler: The 9th Army will not retreat! Tell Busse to fight where he stands!
Alfred Jodl: My Führer, then the 9th Army is lost.
Hitler: We'll push back the Soviet armies in the north and east with a ruthless, almighty attack.
Jodl: Using which units?
Hitler: Steiner will attack from the north and join the 9th Army.
Hans Krebs: The 9th Army is unable to move north. The enemy outnumbers us by ten to one!
Hitler: Wenck! He'll support them with the 12th Army.
Jodl: But my Führer, the 12th Army is moving west to the Elbe!
Hitler: Then tell them to turn around!
Jodl: Then the Western Front will be open!
Hitler: Do you doubt my orders? It's final! I think I've been clear enough!

Wilhelm Keitel: The Führer has lost all sense of reality.
Alfred Jodl: He's moving divisions around that exist only on his map. Steiner's unit can hardly defend itself yet he wants Steiner to attack! It's madness!
Hermann Fegelein: So why don't you tell him that?
Keitel: He doesn't listen to reason.
Fegelein: Something has to happen.
Keitel: Are you crazy? He'll throw us out, like Rundstedt and Guderian.
Fegelein: Yes, and?
Jodl: We're soldiers. We took an oath!
Fegelein: Does that prevent us from using our brains?
Wilhelm Burgdorf: And that's coming from you — an opportunist, ruthless careerist?
Fegelein: Pardon?

Traudl Junge: Is it German artillery that I hear?
Otto Günsche: I'm afraid not.
Junge: But hasn't Steiner's attack started?
Hermann Fegelein: You have to go as fast as you can. Time is running out.
Junge: But the Führer has the situation under control. Steiner will make all the difference. He says it will change military history.
Fegelein: Everybody, the Führer, knows that's a fantasy. I even wonder if he believes it himself.
Junge: Why would he be playing games?
Fegelein: What does he have to lose?
Gerda Christian: I don't believe a word of it!

Hans Krebs: The enemy made a breakthrough. In the south, they took Zossen and are advancing towards Stahnsdorf. They're at the northern city border, between Frohnau and Pankow. In the east, they reached Lichtenberg, Mahlsdorf and Karlshorst.
Adolf Hitler: With Steiner's attack, that will be all right.
Krebs: My Führer, Steiner... [stutters]
Alfred Jodl: Steiner couldn't gather enough forces for an attack. Steiner's attack didn't proceed.
[Hitler pauses to take off his glasses, his hand shaking visibly.]
Hitler: The following will stay in the room: Keitel, Jodl, Krebs and Burgdorf.
[The four named generals, along with Josef Goebbels and Martin Bormann, remain in the room as the others leave.]
Hitler: [exploding] That was an order! Steiner's attack was an order! Who are you that you dare to disobey my order?! [Hitler's ranting is clearly audible outside the room] So, this is what it's come to? The military lied to me! Everybody lied to me, even the SS! The generals are nothing but a bunch of vile, faithless cowards!
Wilhelm Burgdorf: My Führer, I can't accept that the soldiers who bled for you—
Hitler: They're cowards! Traitors! Failures!
Burgdorf: My Führer, what you're saying is outrageous!
Hitler: The generals are the scum of the German people! [flings his pencil onto the table] They're without honour! They call themselves generals because they've spent years at a military academy, only to learn how to hold a knife and fork! For years the military has hindered my actions! It has put every conceivable obstacle in my way! I would have done well to have all the senior officers liquidated years ago like Stalin! I never went to an academy. And yet alone — all by myself — I conquered all of Europe. Traitors! From the very beginning I've been so betrayed and deceived! Such a monstrous betrayal of the German people! But all these traitors will pay! With their own blood they will pay! They will drown in their own blood!
[outside the room, virtually everyone can hear Hitler's tirade, despite the closed door; Gerda starts sobbing.]
Traudl Junge: Please Gerda, calm yourself.
[inside, Hitler calms down and sinks dejectedly into a chair.]
Hitler: My orders were spoken into the wind. It is impossible to lead under these circumstances. It's over. The war is lost. But gentlemen, if you think that I'm leaving Berlin, you'd be mistaken. I'd rather shoot a bullet through my head. Do what you will.

Otto Günsche: We cannot find Group Leader Fegelein anywhere. He is not in the bunker complex.
Adolf Hitler: What do you mean, you "can't find Fegelein"? Then look for him! I want to see Fegelein at once! If he's left without orders, that's desertion! Treason! Bring me Fegelein! [pounding the table] FEGELEIN!!! FEGELEIN!!! FEGELEIN!!!

Adolf Hitler: Frau Junge, Frau Christian, get changed. In one hour, a plane will take you south. Everything is lost, completely lost.
Eva Braun: You know I'll stay with you. You can't send me away.
Traudl Junge: I'm staying too, my Führer.

Taglines

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  • April 1945, a nation awaits its...

Cast

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