Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35

Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Hirschbiegel and Eichinger, along with their large, brave and talented cast, have done something extraordinary for their generation of Germans, and for the world. They have willfully entered their grandparents' dirtiest, clammiest chamber of secrets.
  2. Downfall, whatever its shortcomings, bears strong witness to great evil. That is its triumph as a film.
  3. 100
    Against the overarching facts of his personal magnetism and the blind loyalty of his lieutenants, the movie observes the workings of the world within the bunker. All power flowed from Hitler. He was evil, mad, ill, but long after Hitler's war was lost he continued to wage it in fantasy.
  4. The first great Hitler movie.
  5. Reviewed by: James Wegg
    As Hitler, Bruno Ganz ignites the screen with every appearance.
  6. One of the best war movies ever made, Downfall is a powerful and artistically masterful re-creation of the last days of the Third Reich.
  7. In every aspect, his film is superbly made.
  8. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    A meticulous, spellbinding, provocative depiction of the final days of the Third Reich.
  9. A riveting re-creation of three world-changing collapses: those of the Nazi party, of militarized Germany as a whole, and of the Führer who guided them into self-destructive ruin.
  10. It's a bracing reminder that before Hitler took power, it was handed to him. The lesson resonates long after the credits roll.
  11. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    As a piece of filmmaking, it's stunningly effective.
  12. From the very first seconds a viewer believes totally in Downfall.
  13. 90
    As a piece of acting, Ganz’s work is not just astounding, it’s actually rather moving. But I have doubts about the way his virtuosity has been put to use.
  14. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Not so much a Hitler movie as a portrait of a totalitarian machine's spiritual and emotional collapse, Downfall is a cumulatively powerful Goetterdammerung centered on the last 10 days of the bunkered Fuehrer and those around him.
  15. 89
    Much has been made about the film's "humanizing" of Hitler, but he's only human here in the most prosaic of terms.
  16. 88
    It's the well-wrought details that explain, perhaps better than any earlier film, how an entire country bought into Hitler's genocidal madness.
  17. 88
    Downfall and Bruno Ganz are deserving of Oscars they will not get.
  18. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Powerfully disturbing.
  19. 83
    Credit the great Bruno Ganz with creating a vivid Hitler: furious, unsteady, crushed and frankly cracking up.
  20. 80
    Indeed, Hirschbiegel himself seems reluctant to single out a protagonist, and finally settles on Junge.
  21. The reality it confronts is so gripping, we cannot turn away. This may not be the most sophisticated retelling of what happened while Berlin burned, but what a story it is.
  22. Under the harsh lights of the meticulously re-created, claustrophobic bunker, that scrutiny is relentless.
  23. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Solid history, fine cinema. Downfall is gripping, moving, and, in the end, profoundly horrifying.
  24. 80
    Downfall's overstuffed melodrama juggles countless subplots and a small army of characters who manage to make an impression in spite of limited screen time.
  25. 75
    With a steely, unblinking resolve, Downfall stares into the abyss, but does not pretend to comprehend it.
  26. If I respect Downfall more than I was enthralled by it, that's because its portayal stops short of revelation. Once you witness Hitler's denial, the film has little more to say about him.
  27. 70
    This is a grim and sometimes guilt-ridden examination of the Third Reich in collapse. But it's also weirdly sympathetic, and not just to the peripheral figures in Hitler's twisted world.
  28. It is fascinating without being especially illuminating, and it holds your attention for its very long running time without delivering much dramatic or emotional satisfaction in the end.
  29. The very thought of humanizing Hitler makes me queasy. If he had a good side, I don't want to know about it.
  30. Has the arc of a Shakespearean tragedy, and all the essential components therein: loyalty and betrayal, conspiracy and delusion, self-destruction.
  31. 63
    That's the problem of Downfall in a nutshell: It provokes insufficient emotional and intellectual responses to a grotesque and atrocious dictatorship. Instead of the banality of evil, it gives us the banality of banality.
  32. Intriguing, oddly banal and ultimately deflating.
  33. The movie itself seems more familiar than fascinating, more innocuous than inflammatory, and, at 2½ hours, more tedious than anything else.
  34. 50
    Downfall may be grimly self-important and inescapably trivializing. But we should be grateful that German cinema is more inclined to normalize the nation's history than rewrite it.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 188 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 81
  2. Negative: 7 out of 81
  1. AllisonS.
    Dec 26, 2008
    Absolutely fantastic portrayal of WWII from German side, being in hiters inner circle and the final days of his reign. Wonderful.
  2. Aug 2, 2011
    The most convincing flick portraying Hitler`s last days ever. Again, all the German actors play very well, almost all are on par with BrunoThe most convincing flick portraying Hitler`s last days ever. Again, all the German actors play very well, almost all are on par with Bruno Ganz. What I found very interesting was this movie showing what the entire Berlin felt like in the last days of the war and how the headquarters planned their demise. We have all the most important German commanders` silhouettes shown . Each and every one of them a separate character with unique history. Most of the time people are talking in this film, but it is never boring. There is a huge tension of the end coming in closer every hour. Finally, this flick shows the tragedy of German nation led by a fanatic. Full Review »
  3. Dec 30, 2010
    This film must simply be seen. Now it must be said, it's not an action film, so don't expect to see a whole lot of it, it's drama.

    The film
    This film must simply be seen. Now it must be said, it's not an action film, so don't expect to see a whole lot of it, it's drama.

    The film plays with your emotions, it gives the Nazis a face and humanize them, you will come to pity them. I think it's about time we see a daring film as this, that really tries to show the hell that war truly is, not like the Hollywood films that usually glorifies it. And that truly manages to portray Hitler as a human, not a monster, regardless of the unspeakable crimes he committed.

    It's a must-see, and watch it in German with subtitles.
    Full Review »