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. 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
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Films — Live-Action
- Alec Guinness played Hitler in Hitler The Last Ten Days.
- David Thewlis in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
- Eddie Izzard in Valkyrie
- Averted in Inglorious Basterds, where the main Nazi is played by an actual German, Christoph Waltz.
- Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth in Schindlers 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.
- 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 Ken 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.
- Justified in It Happened Here given that it's an Alternate History film set in a Nazi-occupied Britain, and even has actual members of British fascist groups playing parts!