EXPAND THIS DESCRIPTION FOR DETAILS AND INSIGHT
Here's the scene that has become so virally popular on YouTube, in all its original glory. This entire movie is amazing, the acting superb, the history accurate. I consider it one of the best WWII movies ever made.
Army Detachment Steiner (Armeeabteilung Steiner), was a temporary military unit, something more than a corps but less than an army, created on paper by German dictator Adolf Hitler on 21 April 1945 during the Battle of Berlin, and placed under the command of SS Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner. Hitler hoped that the units assigned to Steiner would be able to stage an effective counter attack against the northern pincer of the Soviet assault on Berlin. In the event, Steiner realised that the forces under his command were inadequate, and refused to attack.
Read more about Steiner's failure to attack:
The two ladies in the beginning are Hitler's secretaries Traudl Junge and Gerda Christian.
Read more about Traudl Junge:
Read more about Gerda Christian:
The man that tells these two ladies that Hitler has nothing to lose in the beginning of the scene is Hermann Fegelein, whose name Hitler is screaming in another scene from this movie that has also gone viral.
Read more about Hermann Fegelein:
The woman Hitler kisses at the end is obviously Eva Braun, his long-time girlfriend who married and committed suicide with Hitler.
Read more about Eva Braun:
Read more about Hitler's very last days:
Read more about the Battle of Berlin (the battle occurring in the background):
The actor who totally nails Hitler's mannerisms and speaking style is Bruno Ganz.
Read more about Bruno Ganz:
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Bruno Ganz appearing in The Guardian, regarding his role in the film and how he prepared himself for it:
"I had some doubts when I was first offered the part of Hitler in Downfall. I asked myself whether I really wanted to get involved in this ugly, terrible stuff. But it was also a temptation - the subject has a fascinating side - so I agreed.
I did four months of research. The producers sent me a tape, secretly recorded in Finland in 1942, with Hitler's natural voice - not the screaming orator we are used to, but a soft, attractive voice, a calm baritone. I tried to capture that.
I became convinced Hitler had Parkinson's disease: there is newsreel of him presenting medals to the Hitler Youth a few days before his death, and you can see his hand shaking, so I visited a hospital and observed Parkinson's sufferers.
There was no strategy in the film to say: "Let's show a new Hitler." I just wanted to show him as the evidence and the testimony of witnesses suggests. Witnesses say he was kind to dogs, charming to women, nice to children, but then he could just say: "Let's kill 5,000 people." In the film, when he and his generals are discussing military problems, one says to him: "What about the 100,000 young German officers on the eastern front? They are going to die." He says: "But they are born to die." He was completely pitiless.
What fascinated me was that he was not just supported by the German people; he was loved. The relationship between him and them was almost religious. There was also that Wagnerian undercurrent - the hero dressed in white, standing against a corrupt world. Look at the bunker - the way Goebbels's wife is willing to kill her children because she can't imagine life after national socialism. It is like a cult. So it helped me that I am Swiss, not German. I'm not saying that I couldn't have played the part if I had been German, but it was useful to be able to put my Swiss passport between my heart and Mr Hitler, so that he couldn't touch me.
Having played him, I cannot claim to understand Hitler. Even the witnesses who had been in the bunker with him were not really able to describe the essence of the man. He had no pity, no compassion, no understanding of what the victims of war suffered. Ultimately, I could not get to the heart of Hitler because there was none."
Read the full article here:
Buy the movie on DVD: