Judgment At Nuremberg
is a 1961 Courtroom Drama
that's Based on a True Story
, directed by Stanley Kramer
, and with an All-Star Cast
featuring Spencer Tracy
, Burt Lancaster
, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich
, Maximilian Schell, Montgomery Clift, and Judy Garland
The movie focuses on the Nuremberg trials that took place after World War II
, specifically on when a panel of three U.S. judges, led by Chief Judge Dan Haywood (Tracy), must decide the fate of three German judges - among them Ernst Janning (Lancaster) - who are accused of collaborating with the Nazis.
This film contains examples of:
- Academy Award: Schell won the Best Actor Oscar, and the script also won. The film was nominated for 11 awards total.
- Big "Shut Up!": Janning does this to Rolfe as he's badgering Irene Hoffman on the stand.
- Heroic BSOD: Col. Lawson, after Rolfe destroys Rudolph Peterson on the stand.
- Nazi Nobleman: Mrs. Bertholt describes her late husband as this.
- Not So Different: This is part of Rolfe's argument when trying to defend his clients on the charges of their authorizing eugenic sterilization, asking one of the accused if he can identify a judicial opinion upholding a law allowing this before he reveals it was handed down by the US Supreme Court (this was Truth in Television, unfortunately).
- There is a point about the "My Country, Right or Wrong" philosophy which is believed by staunch Patriots, both German and American.
- Punch Clock Villain: Rolfe tries to argue the German judges, especially Janning, were this. Naturally, Lawson doesn't agree.
- Translation Convention: All of the German characters speak German at the beginning of the trial, with translation provided (and the judges and attorneys wearing headsets), until Kramer cuts to a close-up of Rolfe speaking. As he pulls back the camera, Rolfe starts speaking English, and from then on, so do the other German characters.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Well, there were war crimes trials at Nuremberg, including one for judges, but every character and all the stories in this film are fictional.