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Tom Schilling, Max Riemelt (photo © Olga Film)

Germany, 1942. The Hitler regime is at the peak of its political and military power. Seventeen-year-old Friedrich Weimer, from the Berlin working-class district of Wedding, is a gifted boxer. Thanks to his talent, he receives an offer to study at an elite National-Political School, the NAPOLA of Allenstein, which trains the future leaders of the German Reich. Friedrich sees this as the chance of a lifetime to free himself from the restrictions of his class and enrolls in the school, which is located in an old castle, against the will of his parents. There, in a disconcerting world dominated by harsh Nazi discipline, he experiences both fierce rivalry and unexpected camaraderie - until a barbarous raid against escaped prisoners of war and his growing friendship with the quiet and sensitive Albrecht Stein, the son of a high-ranking official, force him to make an important decision, one that will also mark the end of his youth.

Director Dennis Gansel has transformed his award-winning screenplay (German Film Award 2003 for Best Unproduced Script), co-authored with Maggie Peren, into the gripping, nuanced portrait of a friendship between two young men caught in the barbaric mechanisms of the Nazi system.
Genre History, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Dennis Gansel
Screenplay Dennis Gansel, Maggie Peren
Cinematography Torsten Breuer
Jochen Retter
Normand Corbeil, Angelo Badalamenti
Matthias Muesse
Cast Florian Stetter, Joachim Bissmeier, Michael Schenk, Justus von Dohnányi, Devid Striesow, Tom Schilling, Max Riemelt, Claudia Michelsen
Producers Viola Jäger, Molly von Fürstenberg, Harald Kügler
Production Company Olga Film/Munich, in co-production with Constantin Film Produktion, SevenPictures Film
Runtime 110 min
Format 35 mm, color
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Karlovy Vary 2004 (In Competition), Montreal 2004, Ghent 2004 (In Competition), Viareggio 2004 (In Competition), Hamptons 2004, Seville 2004, Ljubljana 2004, Goteborg 2005, Berlin 2005, Mar del Plata 2005, Giffoni 2005, Pyongyang 2006, Zlín 2015
Awards German Film Award 2003 for Best Unproduced Script, Best Leading Actor Karlovy Vary 2004, Grand Prix 2003 Viareggio, Audience Award Hamptons 2004, Bavarian Film Award 2004 (Best Direction: Dennis Gansel), Y-GEN Golden Gryphon Giffoni 2005, Best Film Pyongyang 2006
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern
German Distributor Constantin Film Verleih

World Sales
Bavaria Media International