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Before the Fall

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Product Details

  • Actors: Max Riemelt, Tom Schilling, Devid Striesow, Jonas Jägermeyr, Leon A. Kersten
  • Directors: Dennis Gansel
  • Writers: Dennis Gansel, Maggie Peren
  • Producers: Harald Kügler, Molly von Fürstenberg, Viola Jäger
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Picture This
  • DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EZ9066
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,695 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Before the Fall" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "The Making of Before The Fall" featurette
  • " Before The Fall in New York" featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Storyboards
  • Photo Gallery  
  • Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

As Hitler launches the first major military aggressions of World War II, the strongest and smartest German young men enter exclusive schools known as "Napolas" to train as future leaders of the Third Reich. In 1942, a recruiter from one such Napola sets h

Customer Reviews

It is a very very touching story!
Eric D. Hall
I suggest that anyone who sees this movie also looks at the making of this movie to see how thorough the director and staff were to make this movie come alive.
Friedrich is a young man who uses his boxing skills to help raise money for his family in Nazi Germany.
Laurence F. Drury

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2006
Format: DVD
BEFORE THE FALL ('NAPOLA') is a brilliantly made film that addresses the blind hopes of youth in becoming a success as a man, a factor that allowed and allows dictators to entice young men into the realm of warriors under the guise of applauded bravery and the golden promise of achieving glory for a great cause. This story just happens to be about Hitler and his 40 Napola (training camps for the elite German youths in 1942) and the young boys and men who trained in these National Political societies. It could be found in many places and in many times...

Friedrich Weimer (handsome and talented young Max Riemelt) comes from the lower class in Germany (his father is aiming him toward factory work) and is a fine young boxer. His talents are noted by some representatives from the Nazi party and he is asked to report for enrollment in a Napola, an important means of education and training that Friedrich sees as being his way to become something special, someone important. His father is anti-Nazi and refuses to let Friedrich go, but Friedrich is determined and runs into the night to join the Napola. Once there he is admitted, groomed as a boxer for the Napola, and introduced to the Hitler's youth movement. His fellow classmates vary from the very wealthy to other fine Arian lads. They are trained, observed, and brainwashed as to the glory of the Thousand Year Reich. Problems begin to arise when Friedrich gets to know his fellow classmates: Siegfried (Martin Goeres) is a bedwetter and is humiliated publicly for his problem; Albrecht (Tom Schilling) is a poet and writer whose father is one of the governors of the Napola and Albrecht is anti-war; other lads seem on the surface to be obedient yet most have hidden reservations about what they are doing.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Appleseed VINE VOICE on April 11, 2007
Format: DVD
The German title of this film is "Napola". Napola's were "National Political Institutes of Education", or Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten. They were community education sites that appeared when the National Socialists came into power in 1933. (Not 1942 as another review indicates.) They had very strict entrance exams. The blind and deaf need not apply, and racial purity was of prime concern. Indeed, when Friedrich (Max Riemelt) enrolled, measurements of his head were taken, his eyes were "sized", and his hair was color coded. When finished, he was declared "Nordic Class One B". One glance at Friedrich, and the first word that would pop into most people's mind, especially when watching a German film, is "Aryan".

He had received attention while boxing, and his prowess gains him an invitation to the "community" Napola, even though it is unusual for students his age to be accepted. I'm guessing that he is about seventeen; I don't recall the film specifically giving an age. His father strictly forbids him, as he does not want to be associated with the Nazi's. He wants Friedrich to become an apprentice and work in the factories. But Friedrich has grander plans for himself. Departing silently in the middle of the night, he leaves two notes behind for his parents. To his mother, he is apologetic. To his father, he tells him that he forged his father's signature, and that if his father tries to take him out of the school he will tell the Gestapo what his father said about the Napola's. His father doesn't take this well, and unleashes his anger on Friedrich's bicycle.

Arriving at the Napola, Friedrich is awed by its physical beauty - the school is housed in a gorgeous castle - and by how smart and purposeful he looks in his uniform.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. Bailey on May 7, 2006
Format: DVD
It's a shame this film didn't get a wider release in the U.S. I saw it by chance on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and found it engrossing, intelligent, and thought-provoking.

"Before the Fall"'s strengths are not those of groundbreaking formal style or especially original narrative. Rather, the film uses a familiar device (people of different backgrounds coming together for a common purpose) in an unfamiliar context. Set in a prestigious academy for training the elite of what was to prove a very curtailed Nazi future, the film depicts the relationship between two young men - one working-class and one whose family is already a member of the Third Reich's ruling class - and their slow, unlikely discovery of a common resistance to fascism and its inhumane demands.

Unlike, for example, Volker Schloendorff's "The Tin Drum," which portrays Nazism as a creeping cancer on civil society, "Before the Fall" puts the viewer in the interesting and compromised position of initially sympathizing with the fascist order - via the young boxer who sees the Napola school as his ticket to a more comfortable life.

Taking this a step farther, what's remarkable about "Before the Fall" is its general interrogation of masculinity and its discontents, a concern that, in the first half of the film, marginalizes the treatment of Nazism. From the get-go, this could easily be a film that simply addresses militarism and machismo regardless of specific historical context.

The film's predictability almost becomes a strength in this regard. The boys' growing realization of their tragic bond, despite their vast differences, has all the implacability and inevitability of a meteor. They, and you, can see it coming, but there's no way they can escape.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
The gay issue
Being a German and hence owning the German DVD I may be able to clarify this matter. In the German audio commentary, director Gansel says that his film is not about a homosexual relationship between Friedrich and Albrecht - they're just very good friends. (There is one scene in the movie where... Read More
Jan 20, 2008 by el-brazo |  See all 3 posts
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