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The Ritchie Boys

31 customer reviews

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(Nov 20, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Run out of Germany by the Nazis, a small contingent of German Jewish intellectuals exacted the perfect revenge--returning to Europe as U.S. soldiers to defeat the enemy. Groundbreaking and unforgettable, THE RITCHIE BOYS is the never-before-told tale of a handful of German nationals who used their language and cultural knowledge to wage psychological warfare against the Nazis and to liberate Europe. Still sharp as octogenarians, The Ritchie Boys --a medley of hilariously unlikely soldiers--vividly recall their treacherous and heroic slog through World War II, from their training at Camp Ritchie, Maryland to the beaches of Normandy, from dark weeks spent in a German POW camp to D-Day ebullience. Now highly successful artists, businessmen, and professors, The Ritchie Boys laugh at their clumbsy fit within the U.S. military, cry at the horrors of war, and marvel at the unorthodox--but effective--forms of interrogation and subterfuge that helped them to defeat the Nazis.

Shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and widely acclaimed upon its release, THE RITCHIE BOYS mixes newsreels with razor-sharp interviews to spin a touchingly personal saga of men whose chutzpah, ingenuity, and playful camaraderie had a lasting effect on world history. A great human tale (San Francisco Chronicle), THE RITCHIE BOYS is a documentary of staggering importance.

DVD Features: Individual War Stories; Filmmaker Biography

Special Features

  • Individual war stories
  • Filmmaker biography

Product Details

  • Actors: Ritchie Boys
  • Directors: Christian Bauer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UUX2UU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,378 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Ritchie Boys" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jason VINE VOICE on August 7, 2008
Format: DVD
Making their way to America with little to nothing, many Jewish immigrants escaped German persecution, and prepared for their own kind of war while living in the United States. Each having their own reason to enlist, most did it for personal and/or ideological reasons, the immigrants soon became part of the Military Intelligence Training Center (MITC) at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. Sometimes called the Military Institute of Total Confusion because of its revolutionary, unpredictable nature, these soldiers were to be used for the unique purpose of interrogating German prisoners of war.

With intimate knowledge of the enemy, the Ritchie Boys used their ingenuity and imagination to not only display conspicuous gallantry, but also engage in psychological and intelligence endeavors beneficial to the Allied efforts. A typical soldier can be trained for war in half a year. Becoming a fluent interpreter, translator, and interrogator in any foreign language simply can't be accomplished in that amount of time; as such, the Ritchie Boys had an invaluable purpose.

The majority of the documentary is about each soldier's role during the war, and the various interesting details each can remember. Telling stories of their experiences during war with humility and comedy, recalling past events and how they're affected today, is hilarious at times and very inspiring at others. Displaying other-worldly courage, one of the Ritchie Boys (Werner Angress) even jumped from a plane on D-Day, without having gone through Airborne training! As someone who has been skydiving several times, this astonishes me. Another soldier (Si Lewen) was part of a direct broadcast to German soldiers, an attempt to convince the enemy soldiers to surrender.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anna V. Carroll on August 16, 2011
Format: DVD
I just viewed this film on-line and am still in shock. One of the Ritchie Boys is a former employer whom I was Personal Assistant to in the late 80s in NYC! If only he had shared this part of his life with me! Fred Howard in the film is the same flamboyant, over-the-top, brash man he was in the office. Tall, very handsome, with a distinct German accent, he returned after WWII to make a name for himself in business. The word 'genius' is not sufficient to describe his mind. When you walk into a Duane-Reade, Walgreens, or supermarket, you will see his designs. He invented the "Leggs Egg" among other items we take for granted. All the shelving that holds the merchandise. I knew he was brilliant but had no idea of his involvement in the war.

If only Fred Howard had told me of this background he would have learned something about me he never knew--my uncle was shot down over Germany, was captured and imprisoned in a Stalag until the end of the war. A tall, football player in high school, he returned to the US at the end of the war weighing barely 120 pounds. Mr. Howard and I could have talked for hours about the war because I became obsessed with the subject of Germany during WWII and to this day continue to study it. can certainly verify this with the films and books I have purchased over the years on Hitler, Count Von Stauffenberg, Heydrich, Albert Speer, Ernst Hanfstaengl and numerous other famous figures from that era.

I remember attending Mr. Howard's 60th birthday party at Le Cirque in 1987. He is now 84 and I am almost 70. This film was made in 2004 so I don't know if Fred Howard is still alive. I would love to have the opportunity to visit with him and his wife and have a long talk about what I saw in this remarkable film.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brendan M. Howard on November 23, 2007
Format: DVD
Put me to use. That's what the so-called Ritchie Boys asked of the U.S. Army in World War II, and they got what they wanted. These new recruits, alien refugees--some fresh off the boat from Europe--were shipped off to Camp Ritchie to learn how the German military did its thing so they could interrogate prisoners in warzones. It's a World War II story that hadn't been told yet, and the Ritchie Boys themselves make for engaging watching and a wonderful story. These are soldiers most of us can relate to, people who weren't so good at handling firearms but became single-minded in their work to charm, confuse, and terrify POWs who showed up and had information they wanted.

This is an excellent addition to the growing sub-genres of Jewish and World War II documentaries, and sports skillful use of talking-head inteviews, music, and archival footage.

DVD Extras: A full 43 minutes of deleted scenes and personal accounts fill out the disc.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Man on December 8, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this as a special on the Discovery Network's Military Channel. I had to wait several months before it became available on Amazon but it was worth the wait to own it. These men's stories are compelling and fascinating. This dvd should be shown in every civics class in the country (provided we started HAVING civics classes again).

The men who trained at Camp Ritchie were almost exclusively European Jewish refugees who had just recently escaped from the Nazis. Yet they all volunteered to return to Europe to serve their newly adopted country.

They all took this very seriously but the dvd does make use of the usual humorous soldier stories. Such as the one where two of the Richie Boys who are now with the US Army in a forward area doing POW interrogations complete a fake prisoner interrogation report stating that they have captured Hitler's latrine orderly and he gave them very detailed information on the fuhrer's private parts. They sent it to their immediate superiors and they all had a good laugh. Until someone forwarded it to a higher HQ and a Colonel from Washington showed up to meet the latrine orderly for himself!

This is a must for any student of WW II.
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