7.4/10
13,677
56 user 62 critic

Before the Fall (2004)

Napola - Elite für den Führer (original title)
In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich ... See full summary »

Director:

Dennis Gansel
8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Max Riemelt ... Friedrich Weimer
Tom Schilling ... Albrecht Stein
Jonas Jägermeyr Jonas Jägermeyr ... Christoph Schneider
Leon A. Kersten Leon A. Kersten ... Tjaden (as Leon Alexander Kersten)
Thomas Drechsel Thomas Drechsel ... Hefe
Martin Goeres ... Siegfried Gladen
Florian Stetter ... Justus von Jaucher
Devid Striesow ... Vogler
Joachim Bißmeier ... Anstaltsleiter
Michael Schenk ... Sportlehrer
Justus von Dohnányi ... Gauleiter Heinrich Stein (as Justus von Dohnàny and Justus von Dohnányi)
Claudia Michelsen ... Frau Stein
Julie Engelbrecht ... Katharina (as Julie Marie Engelbrecht)
Johannes Zirner ... Torben Send
Alexander Held Alexander Held ... Friedrichs Vater
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Storyline

In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich enrolls, seeing this as his ticket out of factory life to university and a good salary. During his year in seventh column (fifth form), this innocence is altered as Friedrich encounters hazing, cruelty, death, and the Nazi code. His friendship with Albrecht, the ascetic son of the area's governor, is central to this education; a night in the forest hunting for escaped Russian POWs brings things to a head. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Men Make History. We Make The Men.

Genres:

Drama | Sport | Thriller | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

13 January 2005 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Before the Fall See more »

Filming Locations:

Hamburg, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,036, 9 October 2005

Gross USA:

$144,254

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,764,219
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| |

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dennis Gansel: [Actor] Max Riemelt. See more »

Goofs

During Friedrich's glider flight, his helmet is securely strapped at the start but is shown unstrapped a few seconds later. He kept both hands on the glider's yoke. See more »

Quotes

Albrecht Stein: [reading from his essay] "As childish as it sounds, the winter time and the sight of freshly fallen snow always fill us with inexplicable joy. Perhaps because as children, we associated it with Christmas. I always imagine myself the hero who killed dragons, rescued virgins, and freed the world from evil. As we went out yesterday to find the prisoners, I felt like that little boy who wanted to save the world."
Vogler: Albrecht, stop.
Albrecht Stein: But as we returned, I understood that I am part of the evil that I ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Smagsdommerne: Episode #2.10 (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great film, meaningful, deeply moving emotionally
20 January 2005 | by vinylvisionSee all my reviews

This film which depicts an elite Nazi teenage male youth training facility takes place in Germany during 1941 or 1942. Students are being trained to become future leaders after Germany wins the war. Much of the training is brutal. Students are taught to win regardless of any pain that their actions might cause their fellow man - whether friend or foe, fellow countryman or enemy. The film tells how the students accept or reject their training and the consequences of their decisions/indecisions.

I saw this film at the 2005 Palm Springs International Film Festival at a "Best of Fest" special showing. It certainly should be a candidate for an academy nomination as "Best Foreign Language Film" but I do not know if it has a distributor for North America. It reminded me somewhat of a 2003 Palm Springs festival entry - EVIL/ONDSKAN (Dir. Mikael Hafstrom/Sweden) - which also packed an emotional kick in the gut that left me stuck in my seat for at least five minutes after the film had ended. Napola is the better of the two films by far. Great acting, script, direction, music, etc. See it on a big cinema screen if at all possible since film makes great use of the colors that will not have a similar impact in a video format.


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