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Generation War [Blu-ray]

4.7 out of 5 stars 259 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Valor, courage, and betrayal come to the fore in this remarkable epic that shows the everyday realities of wartime life from a deeply personal perspective. Billed as a German Band of Brothers, GENERATION WAR vividly depicts the lives of five young German friends forced to navigate the unconscionable moral compromises of life under Hitler. In Berlin in 1941, on the eve of Hitler s invasion of the Soviet Union, level-headed officer Wilhelm (Volker Bruch) is full of patriotic fervor as he heads for the eastern front with his sensitive younger brother Friedhelm (Tom Schilling). Charlotte (Miriam Stein) is a young nurse in love with Wilhelm who is serving in the Red Cross. Greta (Katherina Schüttler) is an ambitious singer who longs to become another Marlene Dietrich, while her boyfriend Viktor (Ludwig Trepte) faces a daily struggle for survival as a Jew in an increasingly oppressive regime. These five exceptional young actors infuse their characters with the certainty of youth, which drains away with each successive month of war as the true horrors of the Third Reich are slowly revealed. At nearly every moment, they are faced with choices between complicity and rebellion, self-preservation and self-sacrifice, blood on their hands and love in their hearts. Eight years in the making and filmed on over 150 sets across Germany, Lithuania and Latvia, GENERATION WAR insightfully reveals a country still grappling with how previous generations could have become so tragically misdirected. In Germany, the film has sparked a passionate discussion about personal responsibility and the legacy of guilt for Nazi atrocities. German critics have widely praised the film, with Der Spiegel calling GENERATION WAR a "turning point in German television" and national newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung describing it as "the first and last chance... to ask our grandparents about their true biographies, their immoral compromises...the missed chances to act.

Product Details

  • Actors: Volker Bruch, Tom Schilling, Katharina Schüttler, Miriam Stein, Ludwig Trepte
  • Directors: Philipp Kadelbach
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 6, 2014
  • Run Time: 279 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,691 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The one star reviews which bring down the overall rating are by people who bought the French version which will only run on a Region 2 DVD or Blue Ray player and only has French subtitles to the German (and some Polish) dialogue of the film, so were naturally unhappy. Amazon should have weeded those out from the yet to be released in 2014 U.S. version which has all 5 star reviews best I can see. Having read Anthony Lane's review in the New Yorker and A.O. Scott's in the NY Times, I ordered the German version (with only German subtitles) and watched it at least twice, as it moves at a fast clip and was hard to absorb fully in one viewing. (I am American but fluent in German.) The film was a major hit on German TV (7 million viewers) and the BBC2 aired it in January as only the 2nd foreign language series since 2001, to similar enthusiasm. Some Poles objected and some others that it was not Schindler's List or a holocaust movie and some that the Russians are portrayed as just bad, but I didn't get that at all: it is also not justified by the story. These criticisms seem based on a lackadaisical viewing or incomprehension that they are artistically unmerited because beyond the scope of this drama, which was to show how a group of young Germans who had been 12 or 13 when Hitler came to power become progressively disillusioned, indeed shocked and brutalized at and by the barbarity of their country. And as one of the 5 friends is Jewish that aspect is hardly ignored. Some reviewers have said it has the best combat sequences of any WWII movie, but it both is and is not a war movie. Thought the young German actors and actresses were very fine. I thought it superior to Saving Private Ryan (which is a favorite of mine) and Band of Brothers, ti which some parts are similar.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Generation War is the latest in a line of German films attempting to put the experience of the Second World War in perspective for the current generation of Germans. The three-part mini-series is blessed with high-quality production values and a straight-forward plot with multiple story arcs that begin and converge upon the same point. The five characters were intended to convey how the experience of what it meant to be a 20 year-old Berliner in 1941, as the Third Reich was about to invade the Soviet Union. Overall, the mini-series is well worth watching both for historical and drama/entertainment value, although it is not particularly fresh in terms of content and tends to employ stereotypical elements. My critique of the series will mostly focus on the military aspects, in order to provide greater situational awareness to those viewers more interested in Second World War historiography.

The narrator and main protagonist of the mini-series is Oberleutnant Wilhelm Winter, who serves as a motorized infantry platoon leader in Infanterie-Regiment 60 (mot.) in the 16. Infanterie-Division (mot.). It is stated that he previously served in the Polish and French campaigns and is a capable, veteran officer. In the first episode, which covers Wilhelm’s progress during Operation Barbarossa from June – December 1941, the series depicts the initial advance toward Kiev, a small-unit attack on a factory, some partisan activity and a Soviet winter counterattack. Wilhelm’s attitude begins to go south during the Winter battles when it becomes clear that the war will not end in victory. The series failed to really depict the impact of the Russian winter on exposed German troops, particularly widespread illness and frostbite, as well as retreats.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
...and I have seen them all. I know that this film deserves an intelligent review but I am unable to do so, having just drenched my emotions in 4 captivating hours of this amazing work. Excellent direction, editing, sound, cinematography, acting, and screenplay. This film is so important toward understanding the basic premise that war kills humans on both sides, that all involved suffer, that politicians espousing war generally lie about its necessity, (except in self-preservation defenses) every high school student should see it. Instead of video games that glorify war, social science educators need to show young people that war is not the lovely heroic adventure army recruiters and history books paint. It is graphic, brutal, destructive, painful, and horrible in every sense. Clint Eastwood produced a film years back that took us into the Japanese soldier's psyche, and this so perfectly expresses the complexities of the lives of German soldiers and citizenry. What makes Generation War stand out is that it also looks at anti-semitism from every conceivable angle-the Germans who stole their apartments and cheered The Fuhrer; the Ukrainians who joined the SS as prison guards; the Poles who hated Jews more than Germans despite being thrust into war because of them. It showed duty to country as machinated by informing on Jews, and then facing the karma of being the victim in the same game, which was symbolic of how we are all victims even when we think we are waging war for some bizarre vision of a nationalistic utopia. War like death makes cowards of us all, makes losers of all involved.
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