Before the Fall (Napola)


Before the Fall (Napola) (2004)


Critic Consensus: Despite a degree of predictability and cliches, the high production values and sincere performances by the leads elevate this coming-of-age story set in Nazi Germany.


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Movie Info

Albrecht Stein, a youth coming of age in Nazi Germany, is enrolled in the Napola political academy by his father. While being groomed for a membership in the SS, Albrecht becomes disillusioned with the Nazi ideology he at first embraced.


Critic Reviews for Before the Fall (Napola)

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (15)

Nearly every point made in Before the Fall, be it about militarism or the secret sexual codes of fascism, is made too obviously, or has been made before, in films from Cabaret to Europa, Europa.

Apr 7, 2006 | Rating: 2/4

It asks us to sympathize with teenage boys being groomed for National Socialist glory, and for that reason alone, it absorbs.

Mar 24, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

... hooks you by focusing on Friedrich's very human story.

Mar 10, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

One senses that Gansel took the most egregious stories from his research and stuffed them all into the shapeless script.

Feb 24, 2006 | Rating: 2/4

The film is a competent but callow work dealing with a monstrous subject that automatically rejects callowness.

Feb 24, 2006 | Rating: 2/4

A fascinating look at a little-known aspect of the Nazi regime.

Jan 12, 2006 | Rating: B+

Audience Reviews for Before the Fall (Napola)


These are the kinds of movies that people who don't like to read sub-titles miss out on. This was a great original story set right before WWII. It's really rare to get to view the other side of the story...the side where not all Germans wanted to follow Hitler, but were forced to. It's very enlightening.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Before the Fall, another German movie about WWII, only this one showed what happened in the German Elite Nazi school for male teenagers in 1942. Students were being trained to become future SS leaders, to be ruthless, hard without feeling any pain that their actions might cause their friend, family or the enemy.The movie showed some of the students who rejected their training and the consequences of their decisions.The effort to create a perfect controlling race was the main driving force behind the story. But instead we saw humanity winning over a truly evil and brutal regime. And that was the beauty of the movie. It was told in a very simple and sensitive way, with excellent acting and beautiful cinematography.

Daisy  Maduro
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer


An intense Drama of powerful proportions. This is a film about ambition, conformity and above all, questioning beliefs. A film that cannot fail to make an impact on you. The style of this film was an interesting perspective, aiming the storyline at the Cadet age group, which brought forward some interesting characters and led to some interesting training scenes. A wonderful performance from Max Riemelt. This film is an instant favourite with me.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

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