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  • Amen
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulrich Mühe, Michel Duchaussoy, Ion Caramitru
  • Directors: Costa-Gavras
  • Writers: Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg, Rolf Hochhuth
  • Producers: Andrei Boncea, Claude Berri, Dieter Meyer, Michèle Ray-Gavras
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino International
  • DVD Release Date: October 5, 2004
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009W0W4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,178 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Amen" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When newly-commissioned SS Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur) witnesses the chemical disinfectant he's helped perfect being used to systematically murder interred Jews, he has no choice but to act. The only sympathetic ear Gerstein is able to find is that of a young Father Riccardo (Amelie's Mathieu Kassovitz), a priest with deep ties to the Vatican. While Riccardo takes on the obstructive Vatican hierarchy, Gerstein must walk a tightrope between documenting and enabling the atrocities his fellow SS officers cold-bloodedly commit. As the two unlikely allies fight to reveal the truth to the Church and the world, they discover that the fates of a man of conscience committing treason for the sake of humanity and a man of God committing heresy to thwart genocide are ultimately the same.

Customer Reviews

They had enough people telling them the truth, but once again, they just didn't get it.
Rick Amazon
Riccardo Fontana is one of the two heroes of the film; he is Catholic, and actually stands for what is best in the Church.
Timothy Kearney
How much is fact and how much is story telling really makes little difference in this brilliant film.
Grady Harp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 109 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 14, 2003
Format: DVD
Based on a true story, *Amen* is an important, and heretofore unexamined, angle in cinema's ongoing grappling with the Holocaust: the complicity of the Catholic Church with the Third Reich's "Final Solution". Important BECAUSE the subject hasn't been examined in film. Precise, too; the movie is concerned with the murder of the Jews in particular. Early in *Amen*, we see the German Catholic Church put a stop to the euthanizing of what the Nazi Party calls "unproductive citizens", e.g., people with Down's Syndrome and, indeed, any who suffer from mental illness. The local archbishop threatens the Nazi bureaucrats with exposure to world opinion, and thunders indignant, logical arguments from the pulpit ("'Unproductive!' And what of injured soldiers returning from the front? Are they 'unproductive', too?" etc.). But the thing is, these mentally ill were baptized as Christians. The JEWS, on the other hand. . . . Director Costa-Gavras gives them an unlikely champion: an SS officer and chemist Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur) whose creation of a cleansing agent, designed to filter contaminated drinking water for the troops at the front, becomes a primary tool in the mass-murder campaign by the German government. The chemist, a devout Protestant, is horrified when he discovers to what uses his invention is being put. He is eventually brought to a concentration camp, and is more or less forced to view a gassing through a peep-hole on a gas-chamber door. Thankfully, WE'RE spared the sight. Indeed, we "see" almost no atrocities: Costa-Gavras assumes we're intelligent and moral enough to already know that genocide is evil. (Obviously a faulty assumption, considering that this movie received almost zero attention from audiences and critics.Read more ›
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121 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on October 1, 2003
Format: DVD
As far as films dealing with the Holocaust are concerned, I do not believe that AMEN is in the same category as LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL or SCHINDLER'S LIST. I say this not so much because of the film's quality, but due to the fact it is really a morality tale about what happens when people who are basically good fail to see obvious evil, do little to nothing about it, and in the end may even be aiding the evil that so opposes good. The Holocaust is merely the backdrop, and the failure of organized religion to oppose the evil of Holocaust is history's best example to demonstrate what happens when people do not oppose evil.
At the beginning of the film, people of the Christian faith seem to be doing the right thing. People with mental and physical disabilities are being sent to the death camps, and churches, particularly the Roman Catholic Church boldly speak against the atrocity. Yet when the same thing happens to the Jews, the vigilant churches remain indifferent at best, and in more cases than not, silent. The more the churches realize the atrocities, the more deafening the silence becomes.
Amen breaks new ground as far as the discussion is concerned. Much has been made about the silence of the Vatican in general, and more specifically Pope Pius XII's failure to speak. The film could have used the easy answer, namely fear that the Vatican would be destroyed, and would therefore destroy the Church as well. While this is mentioned in the film, it really does not seem to be the major reason for the silence. The choice for the Church was either to side with the Allies, which included Russia, a Communist nation. The Communists were viewed as more evil since Communists opposed religion.
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89 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Perseus on April 11, 2009
Format: DVD
Regardless of the merits of the film itself and the importance of the subject matter potential buyers of this DVD need to be alerted to the fact that, contrary to Amazon's blurb above, it is *not* presented in the original language. It is dubbed into English with a variety of often incongruous accents. There are no other language tracks and no subtitles.

Perhaps for many viewers this is not an imporatnt consideration, but for those who wish to watch the film in its original form, it is available from Amazon.de under its original title "Der Stellvertreter (The Deputy)". The German DVD includes an English soundtrack for those who prefer it, but also a German soundtrack with German subtitles.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Put aside some of the controversy surrounding this movie for a moment and let me make the case for why it is even more introspective than accusatory (regardless of whatever the director intended). It does not focus so much on visuals of genocide as it does the process of how a modern, educated, faithful society becomes complacent, complicit, and even enamored with radical ideas.

This is a partially fictionalized story of a true figure involved in "The Final Solution", chemist Kurt Gerstein. Many of the persons surrounding him are fictional and used as a vehicle to illustrate the varying levels of conscience or courage. I suggest that the viewer look at the church in this instance as one of the individuals or characters that embody a degree of reaction. I cannot attest to the complete accuracy of this movie. However, history is pretty clear on at least the generalities. We cannot choose to ignore history just because it's unflattering.

THE PLOT: Chemist Kurt Gerstein is involved in developing methods of fighting the Typhus disease and is commissioned into the infamous Waffen SS. He soon discovers his chemical methods are also being introduced into the process of genocide at concentration camps in the form of gas chambers. He is invited to Poland and actually shown the process as SS officers view the extermination of human beings through glass peep holes. Gerstein recoils in awful realization, but remains mute in an act of caution. The other SS officers react in combinations of fascination, achievement and horror as they absorb the image. Gerstein returns and attempts to organize action against the genocide behind the scenes, but also continues in the program in order to gain information and sometimes hinder the process.
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