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British Nazis

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"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 Nazi Germany, or falling under the control of native fascist regimes, go under Day of the Jackboot or Alternate History – Nazi Victory.) It is also not about British actors playing any evil 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, Putting on the Reich and frequently Fake Nationality. Sister trope to The Queen's Latin in that the main reason it exists is that to an American audience, a British accent sounds European enough while still being comprehensible without subtitles.



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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 and Rupert Friend in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • The main cast of Valkyrie is not German: Eddie Izzard, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Cranham, Tom Hollander and, last but not least, David Bamber as Adolf Hitler. Noticeably, while the opening makes it clear that the Translation Convention is in use, Hitler is the only person who keeps his German accent. The film does have German actors, like Thomas Kretschmann or Christian Berkel, but their roles are secondary.
  • Averted in Inglorious Basterds, where the main Nazi is played by Austrian Christoph Waltz. In fact, all of the German characters in the film, Nazi or not, are portrayed by either Germans or Austrians. Well, one unnamed German general is played by an Italian, and Quentin Tarantino himself plays a German soldier in a cameo, but there's not a British Nazi to be found.
  • 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.
  • In Conspiracy (2001), 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. The 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.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, the leaders of the Nazi offshoot organization Hydra are played by Hugo Weaving and Toby Jones. Richard Armitage also gets a brief role as HYDRA assassin Heinz Kruger.
  • Ian McKellen portrayed a Nazi Grandpa in Apt Pupil.
  • The Eagle Has Landed: Michael Caine plays a Nazi commando charged with assassinating Winston Churchill. However, he and he rest of his men object to Hitler's cause and are fighting for their own freedom after being sentenced to death.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The miniseries Nuremberg about the eponymous trials featured British actor Brian Cox portraying Hermann Goering.
  • The BBC docudrama series Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial, which dealt with the same subject matter, featured an almost entirely British cast for characters including Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goering, and Albert Speer.
  • Robert Carlyle played Hitler in a TV miniseries called Hitler: The Rise of Evil. Also featured were Brits Chris Larkin and Justin Salinger as Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels, respectively.
  • On their show That Mitchell and Webb Look, the two titular British comedians had a sketch where they play Nazis who slowly come to realize they're the bad guys because they're wearing black uniforms with skulls on them. Another sketch comically depicted Karl Doenitz's succession to Hitler at the end of the war, with Mitchell as Doenitz and Webb and James Bachman as unnamed German officers.


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