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The Tunnel (2001)

Heino Ferch , Nicolette Krebitz , Roland Suso Richter  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Heino Ferch, Nicolette Krebitz, Sebastian Koch, Alexandra Maria Lara, Claudia Michelsen
  • Directors: Roland Suso Richter
  • Writers: Johannes W. Betz
  • Producers: Alicia Remirez, Ariane Krampe, Madeleine Remy, Nico Hofmann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,239 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Tunnel" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making-of Featurette (25 minutes)
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

A gripping escape plan provides the narrative spine to The Tunnel, an exciting Cold War story. This film fictionalizes the true story of the digging of a 430-foot tunnel running under the Berlin Wall in 1964, as tunnel rats on the west side labor to find a way out for friends and family in the Communist East. The principals are led by a famous German swimmer (the excellent Heino Ferch, sort of the German Bruce Willis), whose sister is trapped in East Berlin. Juicy characters abound, including some compromised East Berliners and unlikely heroes on the West side. Also incorporated into this story is an American TV news crew shooting the digging as it goes along. Director Roland Suso Richter shot The Tunnel for television and if it is somewhat artless, it still grabs the viewer in irresistible suspense--and sustains the tension for 167 minutes. Like its heroes, this film is dogged and emotionally committed. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Anti-communist East German swimming champion Harry Melchior (Heino Ferch) narrowly escapes the Communist regime just after the Berlin Wall is completed, and is determined to rescue his beloved sister, whom he was forced to leave behind.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense, well acted, 2 1/2 hour+ escape flick. February 22, 2006
This made for German television epic story of several people attempting to help their friends, families, and loved ones escape from East Berlin to free West Berlin. It is based on a true story, and in the DVD extras, you actually get to meet the real man responsible for the story in this film, whose name was slightly changed for the movie.

Popular German actor Heino Ferch gives a superb performance as the leader of a group of tunnel diggers, determined to get their loved ones out of the Communist side of Berlin, just after the Berlin Wall was built. For Ferch's character, Harry, it's his beloved sister, for Harry's friend Matthis, it's his spouse, and for the young girl Fritzi, who the group are quite suspisious of, it's her fiance' who is currently building the wall, but desperately wants out. There are many others helping, who don't necessarily have loved ones to help escape, including the American, Vic, who despite his leg injury, is just as determined as the rest, and even takes some of the biggest risks in the film.

The performances throughout the entire cast are top notch, and while there isn't a ton of action until the end, the tense atmosphere of the film really keeps you glued to the set. The emotions in the film are high, and the bonds between Harry and his sister, Lotte, and Matthis and his wife Carola, are so realistically portrayed, that it's easy to see why they are going through months and months of digging to get these people out.

The 167 minutes seem like they flew on by, and I could have gone on watching more of these intriguing characters. It's better than any other spy or war thrillers released in any country over the last several years. Hard to believe it was made for German TV, as it blows away several big screen productions. The direction, cinematography, script, and choice of actors cannot be faulted, and the only fault would be if you miss this gripping film.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Der Tunnel November 17, 2005
For all you fans of cold war movies and spy thrillers....look no further. This is the movie we've been waiting for. Set in Berlin in 1961-62 this film is intense and thrilling. The viewer doesn't know what's going to happen right up until the end. This ranks to me, as one of the top spy/espionage/thriller movies of all time, side by side with "Day of the Jackal". All Star performances all around by the cast....especially the three female leads. This is a MUST purchase.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
There have been some superb movies coming out of Germany over the past couple of years. Reunification seems to have unleashed a wellspring of creative, complex looks at what was going on inside the country during World War II and during the period where the country was riven into two parts, East and West. Head-On and The Lives of Others are among the best five movies I've ever seen. Other standouts include Downfall and Good Bye, Lenin!. I've even enjoyed softer fare like Mostly Martha (although steer clear of 'No Reservations', the off-target Catherine Zeta-Jones remake) and the inimitable Run Lola Run.

"The Tunnel" ranks among the best of these. Lots of familiar faces here to German film lovers - Sebastian Koch was playwright Georg Dreyman in Lives of Others; Heino Ferch was Albert Speer in Downfall (IMDB points out that Koch has also played Speer on-screen); Germany's most beautiful woman Alexandra Maria Lara (IMDB says she was "ranked #1 in a list by tabloid 'Bild' searching the '50 most beautiful Germans of today' (28 April 2005)") was Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge (she of the 'blind spot' - Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary - in Downfall.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nail biter . . . December 8, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This terrific suspense-thriller is set in the early 1960s during the erection of the Berlin Wall and in simplest terms, it's about the building of a tunnel under that wall to make an escape route for East Germans wanting to cross over to the West. Beginning with a handful of men, digging under an abandoned building, they are eventually joined by others in a months-long project. Meanwhile, security forces on the Eastern side are doing all they can to find and put a stop to such efforts, and the result is a cat-and-mouse game that keeps you on the edge of your seat for over two hours. Along the way, there are betrayals, acts of courage, scenes of heartbreak and heroism. And if you have a hint of claustrophobia and a fear of being buried alive or drowned, the many scenes underground will have you squirming and taking deep breaths.

There are excellent performances all around, not the least of which is Heino Ferch as Harry, a champion swimmer who leads and inspires the group with a fierce determination. Sebastian Koch ("The Lives of Others") as Mattich, the engineer, provides the brains of the operation. Among other key members of the group is a young woman, Fritzi, played by Nicolette Krebitz, who is trying to rescue her fiance from behind the wall. Crisis falls on the heels of crisis, and we watch to the end, never sure that the project will be a success. Without giving anything away, it can be said that the final half hour will have you breathless. A very well-made film, with a strong script and fine ensemble acting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars NO ENGLISH SUBTITLES!!! Don't be misled by reviews which are for a...
No English subtitles!!! UGH!!! misled because reviews are linked with much more expensive subtitled version
Published 1 month ago by J. S. M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a hollywood film!
This is based on a true story which happened it recent history. I loved it because you can relate with the characters and understand their desperation and motivation to accomplish... Read more
Published 8 months ago by A. Herzman
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical account but bit slow
I adore foreign films and especially adore films based upon historical fact and that have political undertones, such as this one. Read more
Published 13 months ago by C. M. Cotton
1.0 out of 5 stars No English subtitles.
The Amazon listing failed to.mention that the video was in German with no English subtitles. Also, the fact that it is not NTSC format should be emphasized.
Published 18 months ago by C. Edward Bernier
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent if only I could understand German
I bought this video because my husband had watched it three times and because I gave our copy to our son who lives in South Africa. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Pauline Butcher Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Story of tunnels, the Berlin Wall, Digging and Trabants!
It is August 1961, Berlin is divided and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) has decided that Western Imperialism and military aggression means that they have to protect East... Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by Tommy Dooley
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch movie!
My husband and I started watching this a little later one night and thought we would turn it off and finish it the next evening. Read more
Published on March 13, 2012 by Kirston Fellhauer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
This movie,it,s real story .I saw 38 years ago .Fantastic You will stay tuned on story Great movie to keep forever
Published on October 17, 2011 by Luiz
5.0 out of 5 stars Freiheit is the trigger!
Freiheit is much more than an exciting world. It's an ethic value that doesn't support parallel.

And its achievement is worth a life. Read more
Published on September 4, 2011 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Berlin Wall
It seems so long ago that there was actually a wall erected to prevent people from enjoying prosperity and democracy (and yet it wasn't) and that people were shot by guards who... Read more
Published on May 25, 2011 by A. Simon
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