Follow TV Tropes


Film / North Face

Go To

North Face (Nordwand in the original German) is a Based on a True Story German historical drama film from 2008. It recounts the attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger, a mountain in Switzerland, in 1936. The main characters are Andreas "Andi" Hinterstoisser and Toni Kurz, German mountain climbers, and Luise Fellner, a (completely fictional) reporter and Andi and Toni's childhood friend; partway through their climb, the climbers are joined by an Austrian team, Edi and Willy.


This film provides examples of:

  • All Germans Are Nazis: Averted, which is kind of impressive considering that Andi and Toni are in the German military at the beginning of the movie. They're largely apolitical, though, and their response to "Heil Hitler" is "Bye" (they're leaving a military base) on both occasions it's shown. They also leave the military before the movie really gets going.
  • Blatant Lies: Andi and Toni's attempt to get leave from the military to go climb the Eiger. Andi doesn't give a reason, and Toni claims he's getting married and Andi is going to be the best man. The Sergeant rips up the request form and tells them to get out.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Luise and Toni seem to be moving towards this.
  • Cut the Safety Rope: Andi, towards the end - he won't be able to climb up in time, and the pitot is going to fall out.
  • Advertisement:
  • Downer Ending: Everyone who tried to climb the mountain is dead, and Luise is emotionally broken.
  • Due to the Dead: The team recites the Lord's Prayer over Max Sedlmeyer's body before pushing him down the mountain.
  • Finally Found the Body: The Germans and Austrians working together recover the body of Max Sedlmeyer, who died in an earlier failed attempt.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: Luise's colleague Mr. Arau comments that nobody really cares about failed attempts to climb the mountain with no fatalities - readers want glorious triumph or horrible tragedy.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Toni's last words are (from the English subtitles) "I'm so cold". (In real life, they were instead "Ich kann nicht mehr": "I can't [go on] any more".)
  • Intrepid Reporter: Luise.
  • Kill 'Em All: None of the climbers survive.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The events in the movie happened, roughly as depicted, in 1936. A lot of viewers are still surprised at the various deaths.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Not quite a mortal wound, but Edi's discovery of how badly Willy was hurt when the rocks hit him has a similar narrative impact.
  • No Swastikas: Averted. They're depicted on military uniforms - it's a historical film, which lets it get around German laws against depictions of Nazi symbols.
  • Patriotic Fervor: The reason there are so many people pushing and being pushed to climb the mountain is that Berlin is hosting the 1936 Olympics a few weeks after the events of the movie, and Nazi Germany wants to be able to boast about the climbers that conquered the north face of the Eiger during the Olympics.
  • The Place
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Toni begs the rescue team to not go during his last night on the mountain, although it's getting dark and very cold and they can't safely stay. Luise ends up spending the night out there with him.
  • Sanity Slippage: Willy, probably due to his head injury - he nearly shoves his partner off the mountain when Edi suggests turning back.
  • Scaling the Summit: The driving plot of the movie.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Everyone else has died in various awful ways, but Toni is right there, close enough to talk to Luise and the rescue team. Surely he'll make it, at least... no, he's dead, a few meters away from safety. (This is actually how the real Toni died, too.)
  • Snow Means Death: The weather suddenly getting much worse, in the form of a snowstorm, is when the movie starts getting much darker. Hypothermia is also directly how Toni dies.
  • They Knew the Risks: Why the rescue team originally refuses to go try to save the remaining climbers. They're persuaded when one of them asks Luise if one of the people out there is her boyfriend and she says yes.
  • Token Romance: Luise and Toni. She didn't even exist in real life.