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Hitler - The Rise of Evil

3.9 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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(Oct 09, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Featuring a star-studded cast, this epic mini-series traces the mind of a burgeoning madman as he begins his ruthless climb to power. From his emergence out of the ashes of World War I through the birth of the Nazi Party, acclaimed actor Robert Carlyle portrays Adolph Hitler in a performance that "conveys the depths of the tyrant’s evil" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Includes the Bonus Documentaries:
"Hitler and I: Reflections of Evil" (directed by David Cherniack)
"Hitler: A Career" (written and directed by Joachim C. Fest)

Had the many folks who were outraged by the very existence of Hitler: The Rise of Evil seen it before it was aired by CBS-TV in 2003, they would have realized that their fears that this three-hour miniseries would somehow paint a sympathetic portrait of the man generally regarded as the 20th Century's most irredeemable monster were unfounded. There's very little shading here. By and large, this Adolf Hitler is a wicked, vengeful, paranoid, anti-Semitic lunatic pretty much from the get-go; indeed, the opening credits aren't even over before he is revealed as an angry boy who was beaten and belittled by his father and smothered by his mother, an aspiring artist embittered by repeated rejections of his work, and an impressionable young man who was convinced that Jews were the root of all that's wrong with the world. And that's all before the role is assumed by Robert Carlyle, who dominates the proceedings thereafter with a commanding, convincing performance. Hitler: The Rise of Evil chronicles the major events leading up to his assumption of power in the mid-1930s, including his time in the trenches in World War I and fury at Germany's signing of the Treaty of Versailles; his gradual emergence as a charismatic and powerful orator and eventual dominance of the National Socialist party; his first attempted takeover of the government, which resulted in failure (and a brief stay in prison, where he wrote Mein Kampf); and his eventual emergence as the all-powerful Fuhrer who devised the Final Solution and led his country into a disastrous war (the film ends in '34, several years before World War II began). It all feels true to life, if sometimes overly dramatic (the scenes in which he perfects his moustache, practices his various poses and gestures, and adopts the swastika as his symbol are like something out of the first Spider-man movie). And while various other characters, friend and foe alike, occasionally share the spotlight (the cast also includes Matthew Modine, Liev Schreiber, Julianna Margulies, Jena Malone, and Peter O'Toole), it's all about Hitler, and this handsomely-mounted miniseries, directed by Christian Duguay, is at the very least a compelling, eminently watchable effort to capture the inexplicable. Weighing in at a hefty 200-plus minutes, the bonus features (included on a second disc) are longer than the miniseries itself. They consist of Hitler: a Career, an informative 1977 documentary with ample file footage of the real Fuhrer (as good as Carlyle is, there's no way any actor can fully portray how truly scary the guy was), and Hitler and I: Reflections of Evil, an unusually thoughtful "making of" doc by David Cherniack that goes well beyond the typical puffery of such items. --Sam Graham

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Carlyle, Stockard Channing, Jena Malone, Julianna Margulies, Matthew Modine
  • Directors: Christian Duguay
  • Writers: John Pielmeier, G. Ross Parker
  • Producers: Christian Duguay, Diana Kerew, Ed Gernon, Ian McDougall, John Pielmeier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Koch Vision
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000TXNDT8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,605 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hitler - The Rise of Evil" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Was Hitler crazy? Yes. Was he evil? How could he not be? But one thing we know is that part of the reason he rose to power was that he was also extremely charismatic and charming. to the point of inspiring devotion in his followers.

But the Hitler character in this portrayal seems rather to be auditioning for a lead in the Omen. So bat s*** crazy that no sane person could follow him for five minutes. So evil that no one would want to stay in the same room with him for five seconds. And that anyone in his company was there because they were trapped, not because they were there willingly. But that's not what his reputation at the time he rose to power said of him.

I guess I am sort of amazed that a person who caused the death of fifty million people and brought the world to ruin wasn't considered sufficiently crazy and evil enough to be portrayed as he was, without poetic license. The gross and ridiculous fictions added to this film make a mockery of the intelligence of the viewer, of the facts, and of history.

This cartoon characterization makes it too easy for us to overlook the lessons of that time. Evil isn't always black and white as it was portrayed here. That's why evil is so dangerous. But we didn't see any of that mixture in this film. He was portrayed like a young serial killer, burning his father's bees, torturing animals, etc, when the indication was he was the exact opposite with animals. That all his associates dreaded and feared him, when in fact many were and stayed devoted, even when the worst of his acts became known.

The paradox of Hitler is not that he was pure evil but that he could charm and inspire so many people, some ordinary and otherwise sane, to follow him willingly into such dark depths.
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Format: DVD
I gave "The Rise of Evil" 5 stars because that's what it deserves. The show is extremely well-constructed, cast, and directed, even if the screenplay takes some liberties with history along the way. Yes, the story could have gotten along without the dog beating scene, the one where Hitler's father abuses him violently, and probably a few others. But the dramatic effect would have been impaired.

I watched the "making of" documentary that came with my DVD before I sat down to view the 3-hour movie. Then, I watched the documentary again after seeing the show. I'd recommend this approach to others to understand why the producer and director were subject to such criticism before and after the film was finished.

When this miniseries first came out we going out of town and totally missed it. My wife and I watch very little network TV because it doesn't seem like it's designed for thinking adults. This program is very much the exception and should be a must for anyone interested in world events and the dangers of facism.

Any review of this program must include comments on the performance of Robert Carlyle who plays the adult Hitler. Although the very Scottish Mr. Carlyle may be small in stature and far-removed from Hitler's teutonic roots he is mesmerizing as der Fuehrer. Carlyle captures the part so well you worry about what he could possibly do in the future to escape type-casting. It's all there: the iron will, the vicious temper, the evil political genius. Scary, truly scary.

The other actors in the show do very well, too, and there are a lot of well-defined characters. Peter O'Toole's role in the movie is limited but he does a fine job as President Hindenburg.
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Format: DVD
This is a good introduction to that all-encompassing epitome of evil, Hitler. While not excessively accurate from a historical standpoint, which Hitler buffs and academic types will protest, the story is well told and offers a wide range of emotion: you see Hitler as an abused child, an abject failure until the WWI experience that focused his rage, and then as a sociopathic seeker of power as a politician of genius. It evokes the time very well and has good characters, who are acted with true excellence by the fine cast.

I liked the journalist opponent, as played by Modine, who watched with amusement, then mortal fear, and serves as a kind of conscience for the German people in the film. He is excellent and convincing, along with his wife. Then there is the publisher and his wife, who are early adherents to the Party and for a time mesmerized. They too are excellent characters, mirroring another side of the German psyche that becomes increasingly ambivalent as Hitler gains power; it destroys their relationship. As I was unsure whether they were fictional characters, I looked them up and they are indeed historical figures, which makes this a first-rate bio-pic.

Then there is Carlyle, who makes a very very good Hitler. He holds himself in a way I have never seen him - more often in his career a well-meaning, almost floppy ne'er do well - as rigid, full of boiling hate, and a political shrewdness and brutality that are compelling and still frightening. Finally, there is the exceptional performance of Stormare as Roehm, the leader of the SA who is eventually murdered for political reasons, as Hitler consolidated his power. Stormare is a genuinely wonderful character actor, bringing an entire environment with him.

Recommended. It is powerful and fun and historically interesting.
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