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North Face (2010)

Benno Furmann , Johanna Wokalek , Philipp Stolzl  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Benno Furmann, Johanna Wokalek, Ulrich Tukur, Florian Lukas
  • Directors: Philipp Stolzl
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Music Box Films Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 11, 2010
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0037A4ILC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,503 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "North Face" on IMDb

Special Features

- "The Making of North Face" featurette
- North Face Visual Effects
- Deleted scenes
- Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on a true story, North Face is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation s Alpinists to conquer the unclimbed north face of the Swiss massif the Eiger two reluctant German climbers begin their daring ascent.

Amazon.com

North Face is a men vs. mountain adventure so harrowing and gripping that, as with the doomed sailors in Das Boot, one almost forgets that the bruised, battered, and frostbitten climbers we're urging onward are Nazis. Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas) are cocky mountaineers who "will scale anything that's tall." In 1936 they are prevailed upon to climb the unconquered 13,000-foot north face of the Eiger, "the death wall" and "the last problem of the Alps," as a heroic and glorious prelude to the Berlin Olympic Games. Toni and Andi are not true believers (they ignore greetings of "Heil Hitler" as they quit the Bavarian Mountain Brigade). They've got company on their treacherous quest, two Austrian climbers. As long as North Face sticks to the mountain, it is viscerally thrilling and grueling. But the movie adds unnecessary baggage, a romantic subplot. Why is there a love story? Because it's there. Johanna Wokalek costars as Luise, an aspiring photojournalist and Toni's former girlfriend, who is covering the story with her boss, a Nazi sympathizer whose paper is a cog in the propaganda machine. Based on a true story, North Face has a you-are-there immediacy and authenticity (the cinematography was honored with Germany's equivalent of the Academy Award) that transcends any dramatic missteps. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WILL HOLD YOU IN AN ICY, VISCERAL GRIP May 17, 2010
Format:DVD
I have a fear of heights.

I also have a new fear of being stranded on the side of a sheer cliff called "The Murder Wall" during a blizzard. This unexpected thriller, based on a true story, held me spellbound for it's just over two hour running time. I can't recall a more harrowing mountain adventure.

This riveting recreation is set in 1936, a short time before the famed (and notorious) Berlin Olympics which Hitler hoped to use as propaganda to tout the superiority of all things Nazi and Aryan. The worldwide news of Germans conquering this impossible, peak was a hoped-for event before the Olympics and something encouraged by the German press. Here two Germans -- Toni Kurz and Andreas Hinterstoisser -- confront "the last problem of the Alps": the Eiger's unclimbed North Face. They are closely followed up "The Murder Wall" by a competing Austrian team. But things go terribly wrong. The crowds and the press watch the ensuing, heart-stopping drama through telescopes from the inn and chalets below.

A terrible point of no return is reached. Under unimaginable conditions, the men fight for survival, trying to do what's right when everything's gone wrong. This extraordinary drama does not relent. It held me in a freezing visceral grip. I was on the mountain with these men and never once felt that it was anything less than real. If you have a need to climb the Eiger, please make note of the Hinterstoisser Traverse. Director Philipp Stoelzl superbly captures the dangers, the daring and the tragedy.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very convincing, high quality mountain drama May 30, 2010
Format:DVD
4.6 stars

It's a pleasure to watch a film that covers all the dramatic bases well. Nordwand starts pleasantly, introducing the characters one by one with subtle details that say volumes but with little effort. We get to know the people, and then the adventure begins. I could really feel for these guys, and for once the love story didn't seem tacked on; it plays out like an integral part of the movie.

In fact, the best performance here might be from Johana Wokalek, excellent as the young photographer---you can believe the love she portrays. But everyone is solid, and my only qualm might be that the last 30 minutes stretch a little too long, with too many tense close-ups etc. Still, the tension is real and I felt like I was there; the music is perfect, the sound of the snow and wind quite visceral, and I felt cold while watching this on a hot Texas night. That's good filmmaking.

It helped a lot that I didn't know the story ahead of time; if you also don't, just watch the film before learning more. I was suitably surprised by what happens and never felt manipulated as in many films of this type. The climbing scenes are magnificent, perhaps the best I've ever seen, and you come away with huge respect for these early climbers and what they did with such basic equipment.

All in all, a gripping adventure recommended to fans of mountains, man vs. nature adventures, and even those who enjoy a low-key love story.

One quibble: I speak German and the subtitles are miles off in many parts, not even beginning to convey the subtlety of what these characters are saying at points. Imagine hearing "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," while reading, "It doesn't matter." If you're going to spend this much on a movie, make the subtitles perfect! Bitte...
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why did they wreck a good thing?? August 23, 2011
Format:DVD
I can't give this movie less than three stars-- on the mountain, the cinematography is superb and the acting outstanding. To watch these climbers set out strong, then engage in a long, grueling struggle, outfitted with 1930's gear and within sight of tourists below ... it's every bit as riveting as the 5-star reviews say.

And that is precisely why I'd love to sock them with only one star: the story itself is so incredible that it did not need falsifying or romancing. Can we truly not watch an adventure movie without a ridiculous and superfluous romance? And was the actual climb not gripping enough without false additions? The "competitors" were a 4-man team from the start; no living person cut himself off the rope (it was cut the next day, when the men who fell were beyond rescue and no longer responsive); no woman had to galvanize reluctant rescuers, they responded as a matter of course; and on.

If the filmmaker wants to include a fictional story, then the people portrayed should be fictional, as in Titanic. To use a real story, with real, legendary people, and then to falsify it -- that verges on obscene. If you would like to know how events actually unfolded, I highly recommend the British production "The Beckoning Silence" based on the book of the same name by Joe Simpson ("Touching the Void"). Right now, it is available only in European format DVD. In it, Simpson talks of how this climb inspired him, what the climbers did and how they must have felt, and mountaineering in general. It is accurate and incredibly compelling in its own right. And yet, the scenes recreating the climb, though nicely acted and extremely well filmed, fall just a little flat after watching "North Face". Oh, my kingdom for a hybrid of these two movies! That would be a 10-star!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the better mountaineering movies I have seen
One of the better mountaineering movies I have seen. Especially impressive seeing how these guys negotiated the mountains using 1930's gear and technology. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Derek Duncan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Great mountain movie
Published 1 month ago by Stefan Haaf
4.0 out of 5 stars hang on...
some high drama with some wonderful scenery, all with a interesting historical backdrop.
Published 1 month ago by Jon Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars It is one of my husbands' favorite movies so I' mgivingit to him for...
We have ordered this multiple times from Netflix and finally decided to own it. It is one of my husbands' favorite movies so I' mgivingit to him for Christmas.
Published 1 month ago by Sally
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Would be better if in English but intriguing movie.
Published 2 months ago by D. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense!
Intense and awesome!
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great entertaining, and realistic. Historically accurate climbing movie about early attempts on the North face of the Eiger.
Published 2 months ago by Chris Bakwin
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies I have seen recently
One of the best movies I have seen recently. It has a lot of suspense and it's very well done. I highly recommend it.
Published 3 months ago by Lourdes
5.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly liked it
Towards the middle of the movie you get to see Andi and Tony, as very competent climbers and not as Germans doing it for the Third Reich. Read more
Published 3 months ago by ykm
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
This is the kind of story and film making that we don't see very often. Watching this film on the edge of my seat, it stayed with me for several days. Read more
Published 4 months ago by LOULOU M
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