The Rape of Europa Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: The Rape of Europa is an epic journey through seven countries that follows the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare, which threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For 12 long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on an unprecedented scale in history. But heroic young art historians and curators from America, as well as across Europe, fought back. They did so in a miraculous campaign to rescue then return the millions of lost, hidden, and stolen treasures. (Menemsha) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Throughout the film its makers pose the question of whether saving a work of art is as important as saving a human life. The question is not answered, and perhaps ultimately unanswerable. Yet Europa movingly shows how for many, art and artifacts are living things.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    This gripping documentary sheds light on the frightening totality of Hitler's vision for a Germanic Europe, and the extent to which he and his Nazi thugs were no better than common thieves.
  3. 83
    With Joan Allen bringing a crisp intelligence to the sharp, unsentimental narration, it's both awful and fascinating to follow Hitler's warped growth from frustrated painter to self-appointed arbiter of Germanic art.
  4. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    This mesmerizing morality play, rich in rare archival footage and complete with heroic Allied saviors, merits a full-fledged arthouse run before reaching larger PBS and cable auds.
  5. 75
    A startling documentary.
  6. Reviewed by: Kenneth Baker
    With impressive clarity and sweep, The Rape of Europa recounts the Nazi theft and destruction of European art and architecture.
  7. Unfortunately, most of the two-hour documentary is devoted to annotating what the Nazis stole for both their state and personal collections. The movie doesn't dramatize this crime -- it catalogs it. With deadening monotony.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. JayW
    Oct 26, 2007
    Stunning documentary about the cultural pretenses that underlied Nazi ideology and war policy to the bitter end, and the Allies' conflicted views about the value of Europe's art treasures at a time of deadly conflict. This masterful blending of archival footage and interviews keeps you glued to your seat. Superb in all respects. See it on a big screen if you can! Collapse
  2. Mar 2, 2013
    The Rape of Europa is a fascinating documentary that tells of the story of the theft, destruction, and in some cases saving of art during World War II. Narrated by Joan Allen the film takes you through the Nazi plundering of paintings in Poland, France and other countries (especially by Nazi art collectors like Hitler and Goering) to the efforts by citizenry to save museum pieces in Paris and Leningrad, to the unfortunate destruction of Renaissance architectural wonders during allied bombings in Italy and the German army demolishing various important Russian structures in the east. It also goes into efforts that are still going on to track down pieces since missing, and tells of efforts to give back personal effects to families of Jews, items the Nazis stole without thinking twice from people they considered inhuman. All this is told with a delicate balancing act, reminding the viewer of the far greater tragedy of the war: the tens of millions of lives lost, most of them civilians. The misfortune of art during the war is not even close to that level of tragedy, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Art is part of one’s culture and means a lot to great number of people. This is a story that deserves to be told, and though maybe this documentary goes in a few too many directions I found it quite interesting to see this perspective of the War that people rarely talk about. Expand