British Nazis

"And the most bitter pill to swallow is that [the British-accented mooks] look like Nazis. We helped defeat the Nazis! Maybe we won't next time, America. Maybe after China buys you and puts you all to work in the sweatshops and you crawl to Europe for help, we'll go: 'Hmm, well, we would, but apparently we're evil, so hands tied.'"

The trend to cast British actors as Those Wacky Nazis, or more broadly, villains who are not named as Nazis, or cannot be Nazis in context, who are however Putting on the Reich. Because, y'know, British people are evil.

This trope is not about British people who were members of the Nazi party, or British fascists. (Stories about Britain being conquered by the Nazis, or falling under the control of native fascist regimes, go under Day of the Jackboot.) It is also not about British actors playing any German characters — such as Alan Rickman in Die Hard — as contrary to this trope, Not All Germans Are Nazis.

A sub-trope of Evil Brit and Putting on the Reich. Sister trope to The Queen's Latin.


Examples

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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alec Guinness played Hitler in Hitler The Last Ten Days.
  • Anthony Hopkins played Hitler in The Bunker.
  • David Thewlis in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • Eddie Izzard, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Cranham, Tom Hollander, in Valkyrie And Hitler is played by David Bamber
  • Averted in Inglorious Basterds, where the main Nazi is played by an actual German, Christoph Waltz.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List.
  • An inversion in Bitter Victory, in which German actor Curd Jürgens plays an Allied (South African) officer.
    • He also plays the Polish colonel in Me and the Colonel.
  • The Imperial Navy in Star Wars. Most Imperial characters who aren't Vader and the Emperor speak with British accents (and Ian McDiarmid, who played The Emperor, is British). In particular is the casting of veteran horror actor Peter Cushing in A New Hope as Grand Moff Tarkin. This could be justified in that the films were shot in Britain, so most of the smaller parts (which most of the Imperial characters were) would be filled by British actors.
    • A couple of good characters have the accent as well, such as Obi-Wan, Mon Mothma, and Padme when talking to other officials. In-universe, their accent is known as a Coruscanti accent.
  • In Conspiracy, every Nazi except Eichmann (who is played by the American Stanley Tucci) has a British accent. This was deliberate - the mainly British actors kept their natural accents, as it was felt that putting on an accent would shift the focus from the evil of the protagonists to how well Kenneth Branagh could do "Saxony-Anhalt".
  • Malcolm McDowell in The Passage
  • Dirk Bogarde in The Night Porter
  • James Mason as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in The Desert Fox.
    • James Mason again as Seibert in The Boys from Brazil. Which film however subverts the trope as the even more evil Dr. Mengele is played by Gregory Peck and Nazi-Hunter Lieberman is played by Laurence Olivier.
  • In Dakota Harris, Australian actor Max Phipps portrayed a Nazi agent posing as an Allied operative.

    Live-Action TV