THE NAZI HIGH COMMAND IS ON TRIAL, AND SO IS JUSTICE, WHENALLIED PROSECUTORS PUT THE PRINCIPLES OF FREEDOM FIRST AND RISK LOSING THE CASE RATHER THAN GIVE IN TO THE POST-WORLD WAR IIPASSION FOR VENGEANCE.
"The other reviewers have pointed out the importance of this film, so I would like to make a few points that may be important. (1) As in so many Western films, the Russians (or, actually, Soviets) are a caricature-they are portrayed as uncouth louts. I wasn't happy with the scene of the party at Jackson's house where the German butler and his wife refuse to serve the Russian judge because their son was killed on the Russian front. Jackson's secretary tries to calm the situation without showing any understanding of the Russian's response that most of the victims of Nazism's horrors were residents of the USSR, simply dismissing it as politics. In reality, everyone admitted that the Soviet role in the trial was basically fair and constructive, in spite of the fact that the Soviet judges were totally under the thumb of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin who really was no better than Hitler and his Nazis whom they were supposed to be judging. (2) Albert Speer is portrayed as a truly penitent Nazi technocrat. Many people, including Airey Neave (the British officer who presented the indictments and who was tragically murdered by the Irish Republican Army in 1979) felt that it was unfair to execute Nazi Labor chief Sauckel and to let Speer off to become a prosperous, professional "ex-Nazi" when all Sauckel did was round up laborers for Speers armaments industries. Speer does admit that he was always pressuring Sauckel for more laborers, but Neave and others feel that his remorse for what he did was mainly to get sympathy from the judges and that he never really confronted his own, direct personal responsibility for the horrors of the Nazi regime, rather than just the collective responsibility he accepted. (3) Although judge Francis Biddle is shown to be a rather petty man, the film doesn't make clear that both he and Justice Jackson were miscast in their roles in the trial, because Biddle had a career as a prosecutor but was chosen by President Truman to be a Judge in the trial, whereas Jackson was a Supreme Court Justice yet was chosen to be a prosecutor in the trial. (4) The film, probably correctly, leaves the role of Goering's guard "Tex" as ambiguous in his enabling Goering to get ahold of the cynanide capsule in order to cheat the hangman. It is not clear even today whether Tex really wanted to help Goering get the capsule, or whether it was just negligence and disobeyal of orders when he brought Goering the belongings he asked for. (5) Psychiatrist Capt Gustav Gilbert's great "revelation" in discovering that the reason the Nazis did such terrible things was "a lack of empathy" is certainly over-simplistic. Although it is true that they were indifferent to the suffering they caused, this does not explain how they managed to set up an industrialized mass-murder machine and how they got much of Europe to at least passively accept the Holocaust. Many people are indifferent to the suffering of others, but that doesn't mean they go out and deliberately cause suffering to their neighbors.
Having said these things, I still think everyone should see this film to understand the greatest tragedy of the 20th century-the Second World War."
Absorbing Depiction of Trials Of Nazi ELite!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 09/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To the mind of many historical observers, nothing so defines the striking manifest differences between the horrific nature of the Third Reich from the more rational and compassionate constitutional democracies that largely comprised the Allies as the way in which the defendants of the trials at Nuremberg were handled. With painstaking precision (and at extraordinary cost in terms of international arm-twisting and back-door deals), the proponents of a judicial proceeding designed to illustrate the manifest individual guilt of the various Nazi officials forged a result that still stands today as a model of a non-retributive effort in the face of extraordinary pressure. In this carefully reearched and terrifically presented movie depiction of the events, one comes to appreciate the problems facing the Allies in proceeding with the trials. And while one can hardly describe the Nuremberg trials as unflawed or perfect, they did prove to the world that the Allies were willing to subscribe to the existing canon of law to judge the actions of the Nazis. Doing so was anything but easy, Indeed, achieving a fair result that would literally convince the watching world of the guilt of the participants in the war was anything but easy, and moving toward that deliberate goal is a theme providing an interesting theme punctuating the pace of the book. Churchill wanted revenge by way of summary trials and quick retribution, while the Russians just wanted to string up the whole group in a mass hanging. Yet American Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson (Alex Baldwin) was able to resolve the differences well enough to proceed, although at times the viewer wonders if the trials will be anything like the fair-minded judicial event he has in mind. Indeed, the back-stabbing, personal ambitions, and petty jealousies of the various factions, trial officials, and individual defendants becomes a kind of political circus that sometimes resembles nothing so much as vaudevillian showboating.
Still, the efforts at conducting a fair and open forum for the world to watch as the prosecution and defense teams clashed before the international tribunal prevailed, and the trials concluded with mixed results in terms of the results. Most of the defendants were found guilty, and many were hanged. Yet few observers doubted that the defendants had had their day in court along with and adequate opportunity to defend their actions to a watching world. Given how little justice and liberty they collectively allowed for their tens of millions of victims, it is remarkable just how civilized and dignified a proceeding the Nuremberg trials were, with all their theatrics and subterranean undercurrents. One marvels at the fact that after fifty years the world still stands in awe at the deliberate, careful, and methodical way in which the Allies achieved the result of a rational and fair trial of the defendants in history's most horrific modern nightmare, the terror of the Third Reich. This is an interesting and absorbing film presentation, and it is fascinating and entertaining to watch. It was also particularly interesting to me because it explores the lives of each of the defendants in looking at their individual guilt. I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about these singular trials and their impact on history."
Good depection of nuremberg
weirdo_87 | Rancho Cucamonga, CA USA | 04/24/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I thought that Nuremberg was a great depiction of the war crimes trial. Alec Baldwin did a great performance as Robert Jackson. Brain Cox played a good Herman Goering. The other actors also gave good performances in there roles (The actor who played Psychologist Gustav Gilbert was especially good). Nuremberg is however not problem proof. The hangings for example are not accurate. Several of the convicted slowly strangled to death instead of dying instantly, like in the film. Also, Streicher made a bigger performance in the gallows than simply saying `Heil Hitler' before he was hung. All of the Defendants are shown. But some star only briefly. Rudolph Hess, for example, spends most of the film quiet and pretending to be insane. He speaks for about 30 seconds total. That is about the total screen time Robert Ley has before committing suicide. Arthur Seyess-Inquart has only one major scene, and that is when he enters his plea. All in all, Nuremberg is a good movie, with good acting. A great beginners lesson on the trial. But for people looking for a great Nuremberg film, Judgment at Nuremberg (Though not based on the first trial) and Nuremberg: Tyranny on Trial are also available."
"Nuremberg" Will Add to Your Understanding About Pure Evil
David Thomson | Houston, TX USA | 08/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alec Baldwin's "Nuremberg" is not the equal of the earlier masterpieces "Judgment at Nuremberg" and "Schindler's List." It also has the further disadvantage of being a work better appreciated by those with a substantial historical background. The previous films could be enjoyed even by viewers possessing little knowledge about that horrendous period. The names of Robert Jackson, Herman Goering, Hans Frank, and Albert Speer are admittedly not widely recognizable.The Nuremberg trials were conducted by the Allied victors soon after the end of World War II. It was the first international tribunal in the history of humankind devoted to the criminal behavior of the losers. The challenge was to conduct a fair trial premised upon justice and not revenge. Although the evidence was overwhelming regarding the holocaust, large scale theft, and other transgressions, many of the defendants claimed that they merely followed orders. This line of defense may seem appalling in our day and age, but during that era it was widely accepted. Judge Jackson (Baldwin) was picked by President Harry Truman to carry out this most delicate task without alienating our Soviet Russian allies. The irony of course is that the Soviets were also murderous thugs, but in this less than perfect world compromise with evil is sometimes unavoidable.Brian Cox brilliantly portrays Reichmarshal Goering, the heroic German fighter pilot of the First World War who ultimately became Hitler's right hand man. Goering possessed superb management skills, courage, a great sense of humor, cultural sophistication, and an ability to insightfully comment on the Nazi reign of terror. He also had a hard time comprehending the legitimate reasons why the civilized world considered him a diabolical monster. Observing the brief discussions between Goering and U.S. Army psychologist Captain Gustav Gilbert (Matt Craven) may do more to reveal the mindset of the Nazi hierarchy than reading numerous books. Gilbert a Jewish American had the awkward responsibility of providing care and understanding to those who ruthlessly slaughtered his own people. Captain Gilbert's self discipline and maturity were constantly put to the test.Artistically speaking "Nuremberg" deserves only four stars, but that is not a valid excuse to keep you from seeing it. The very last scene has Max von Sydow as Samuel Rosenman uttering the hope that perhaps the Nuremberg trials will be the last of their kind. Rosenman is not childishly naive, and knows that history will likely be repeated. The at least metaphorical reality of original sin regrettably makes this a virtual certainty. We have the moral duty to learn how to increase the odds in our favor. Make sure that you see "Nuremberg!""
A small victory for humanity
myerb | 07/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Nuremberg" is based on the true story of the notorious "Nuremberg Trial" that took place at the conclusion of WWII in Germany. The trial was led by Justice Robert Jackson (Alec Baldwin), whose vision was to prove that western morality was superior to that of the Nazis. Twenty-two high-ranking Nazis were forced to stand trial for committing crimes against humanity. Included in the Nazi gang was the infamous Hermann Goering (brilliantly portrayed by Brian Cox) who was Hitler's second in command.One of Jackson's primary concerns was to give the Nazis a fair trial, of the likes that their victims never obtained. As the movie progresses, Jackson runs into Goering in the witness box and finds him to be somewhat of a challenge. The courtroom exchanges between Baldwin and Cox are highly entertaining and are some of the best scenes in the movie. To give the Americans a run for their money, Goering proceeds to incite the other officers so that they become increasingly defiant. In an attempt to sway the Nazi officers so that they admit fault during the trial, they send in a Jewish Psychologist, Captain Gustav Gilbert (portrayed by Matt Craven). Throughout the movie Craven's character comes to terms with the atrocities that were inflicted on his people by speaking to some of the architects of the maniacal genocide. His dialogues with the Nazis allow him to reach an interesting conclusion as to the nature of evil in men.History buffs should be warned that this movie is only based on the true story and may be inaccurate with regards to some of the details. Having said that, the story is well presented and holds the viewers' interest for the entire 3 hours. To add a bit of spice to the proceedings, Jackson is given a love interest (his secretary). I am not sure whether this was fabricated or actually occurred in real life. Nonetheless the viewer is given a treat by witnessing the evolution of Jackson's romance as the trial unfolds.I must say that this movie is highly entertaining and eye opening at the same time. The cast is superb including the already mentioned Alec Baldwin along with Michael Ironside, Max von Sydow, and the always-entertaining Christopher Plummer. It is rare these days to find a 3-hour movie that can captivate an audience for its entire duration. I am pleased to say that this is one of those movies. I highly recommend "Nuremberg" to anyone that wants to learn more about the atrocities that took place in Europe in WWII and how they were dealt with. At the same time, I would also recommend this movie to anyone that is simply seeking an entertaining wartime movie that contains a brilliant plot and a great cast."