User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
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  1. Fantasy
    Mar 1, 2008
    10
    Excellent! Most worthy of the praise and honors it ireceived.
  2. SusanM.
    Apr 13, 2008
    10
    This movie was incredibly well-done. It's clearly better when Europeans make WWII films - they do it much better than Hollywood.
  3. MikeD.
    May 24, 2008
    10
    Riveting from start to finish. I thought other foreign-film Oscar nominees were worthy of winning and was surprised to see this one win, but that was before I had seen it. It deserves the Oscar, and your $10 to see it.
  4. JayW.
    Feb 23, 2008
    10
    A work of art with a superb ensemble cast, economically possible only in foreign cinema.
  5. Feb 10, 2013
    9
    Cooperating with the enemy has been explored in other holocaust films such as "Kapo" and "The Grey Zone", but the struggle between survival and conscience has rarely been more clearly drawn than in "The Counterfeiters"-- Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film (2008). Based on the memoir "The Devil's Workshop" by Adolf Burger, one of the survivors of the program, "The Counterfeiters" is theCooperating with the enemy has been explored in other holocaust films such as "Kapo" and "The Grey Zone", but the struggle between survival and conscience has rarely been more clearly drawn than in "The Counterfeiters"-- Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film (2008). Based on the memoir "The Devil's Workshop" by Adolf Burger, one of the survivors of the program, "The Counterfeiters" is the story of Operation Bernhard, a little known World War II program engineered by the Nazis to use Jewish prisoners to subvert the currencies of the U.S. and the U.K through forgery. One of the biggest scams of the war, the counterfeiting operation printed over 130 million pounds sterling in its attempt to destabilize the allied cause and help the sinking German economy.
    "The Counterfeiters" tells the true story of a group of Jewish prisoners who were recruited from other camps for such a career--much against their wishes, if not for the threat of death. Being skilled craftsmen in their own right, they are all brought together, and realize that so long as they deliver the counterfeit bills to their captives, they'll be spared their lives. Boastful, talented Russian-Jewish counterfeiter Salomon Sorowitsch is sent to the Sachenhausen concentration camp to orchestrate the operation, and forced to deal with a psychopathic guard named Holst (Martin Brambach), who only wants results. At first Salomon has no issues helping the Nazi's for comfortable conditions for himself and staff, but over time it begins to take it's toll. He is torn between his determination to stay alive with the knowledge that producing the perfect American dollar will affect the lives of his fellow workers, as well as undermine the entire Allied cause.
    "The Counterfeiters" differs from other films involving the Holocaust in that the emphasis is on the personal moral choices that are made--rather than the overall horror and despair. The two barracks of Jews working on the project are kept in what they call a "golden cage," in which they have enough to eat, beds with clean linen, and piped-in opera music to drown out the sounds of the murders committed on the other side of their thin plywood walls. The prisoners' dilemma over whether to assist the Germans and thereby ensure their continued survival is the heart of the movie, which keeps the focus on moral imperatives rather than the physical ravages of the camps. Ruzowitzky's film is so gripping because his is able to simulate the daily horror's of these men with remarkable subtlety; although the workers are sheltered from seeing the brutality and torture, the screams alone are terrifying. Karl Markovics gives a phenomenal, profound performance and his disturbing moral ambiguity is a the heart of this incredible true story. Stefan Ruzowitzy adapted the book by Adolf Burger, one of the protagonist's fellow prisoners (Diehl). Ruzowitzky's script is beautifully constructed, and to his credit, does not take a position on the internal debate, but gives the viewer enough leeway to question what they would have done in similar circumstances.
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  6. ChadS.
    Mar 29, 2008
    8
    A "mercy f***"; it's the first bit of English that an Auschwitz survivor named Meyer Maslow learned when he first immigrated to the states, in novelist Francine Prose's "A Changed Man". Maslow, the leader of an Amnesty International-type organization, used the holocaust for sex with college coeds when he taught at an American university. Concentration camps and post-war sex A "mercy f***"; it's the first bit of English that an Auschwitz survivor named Meyer Maslow learned when he first immigrated to the states, in novelist Francine Prose's "A Changed Man". Maslow, the leader of an Amnesty International-type organization, used the holocaust for sex with college coeds when he taught at an American university. Concentration camps and post-war sex collude in "Die Falscher"(American title: "The Counterfeiters"), too, as a hooker waives her services rendered charge after she sees the identifying markings on Salomon Sorowitsch's arms that denote the Russian's first-hand experience with crematoriums and other Nazi iconography. Maslow, for all we know(Prose keeps her novel in the present), could've been a Nazi collaborator like Sorowitsch(Karl Markovics), who insists that the prostitute take the money, because the counterfeiter knows he doesn't deserve a mercy f***. Like "Schindler's List", a war profiteer(August Diehl as Adolf Burger) incidentally saves the lives of a few Jews by putting them to work, but unlike the Steven Spielberg film, there are no clear-cut heroes to put a face on Operation Bernhard. Salomon is like the marathon runner who walks throughout the race, but scores the free t-shirt, nevertheless. Salomon was "there", without really being there, which makes "Die Falscher" unique from other movies about the forced labor camps. This time around, the morally compromised only goes through the motions of expelling his bumpy past. Listen closely to what Salomon tells the whore after his self-abnegating exorcism. Expand
  7. JayH.
    Aug 2, 2008
    8
    Amazing story, very well directed with an excellent cast. Fine attention to period detail. Moving as well as disturbing. The writing is first rate. Very fascinating, always interesting.
  8. DennisB.
    Feb 23, 2008
    8
    Well-written, with realistic, nuanced performances helped by a story whose shadings of right and wrong hold your interest from beginning to end. Not as emotionally powerful as Schindler's List, but worth seeing just the same. Makes you wonder how you would have behaved in the same situation.
  9. Sep 17, 2010
    8
    Austrian film about Saloman Sorowitsch, a Jewish counterfeiter who was spared the concentration camps in WWII to run a fake currency production for the Nazis.
    Moving, disturbing & great performances from Karl Markovics in the lead & Martin Brambach who gives Ralph Fiennes's Amon Goeth a run for his money as the thoroughly unpleasant Holst.
    Definitely worth a watch.
  10. MarcK.
    Apr 14, 2008
    6
    Nothing new. Doesn't break any new ground. Rather predictable. If you've seen "Schindler's List" or "The Pianist," you've seen this one.
  11. RolandB.
    May 12, 2008
    5
    note to entertainment weekly: doesn't take sides....? guessed we watched a different movie. personally i thought this was your brand name holocaust movie with all the tricks we are used to implemented to manipulate us and make us sad without offering anything innovative or new to say about the already well explored subject.
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    70
    The moral quandary of Nazi complicity is revisited in taut drama The Counterfeiters, which tells the true story of a disparate group of imprisoned artists, financiers and swindlers secretly assembled in a concentration camp to forge millions of pound and dollar notes to support the German war effort.
  2. 75
    From an historical perspective, the story is interesting because it shows a different side of the war than what we're used to observing in motion pictures.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    70
    At its best--and queasiest--The Counterfeiters asks disturbing questions more commonly found in the survivor literature of Primo Levi or Bruno Bettelheim than at the movies.