A group of German boys is ordered to protect a small bridge in their home village during the waning months of WWII. Truckloads of defeated, cynical Wehrmacht soldiers flee the approaching American troops, but the boys, full of enthusiasm for the “blood and honor” Nazi ideology, stay to defend it.
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A 2 part film- 1. introducing us to 7 school boys hopelessly allured to the war by the glamour of fighting for the Fatherland and 2. a brutal close-up of their unified realiziation of the terrors the battlefront really had to offer. It's a beautifully horrific anti-war film unlike any other for its focus on fresh meat, Hitler youth. Powerfully shot, intensely acted, an important film from a neglected POV.
This movie was shown in german schools as part of history lesson. I recall speechless classmates and crying ones. It is a 1959 production; no visual effects, no overstimulation, no material battle (no mobile phones). You will see excellent acting performances; on highest levels. The movie slowly, slowly creeps under your skin. It attempts to make you understand the incomprehensible. Masterpiece of Bernhard Wicki.
Like All Quiet on the Western Front (which I love as well!), but less sentimental, and in a lot of ways more brutal. I feel like I got to know the boys, so caring about their fate made everything all the more hardhitting. Excellent cinematography and amazing performances. The glee of a successful shot, and the desperation and fear when you realize you're in hell. An absolute gem, and from an often neglected POV.