Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Downfall (2004)

Go To

  • During the scene where Eva types a letter to her sister, we see how the war is faring in the streets above the Fuhrerbunker. The scenes show the German people and soldiers being crushed under the Russian advance with no dialogue other than Eva narrating the contents of her letter as she writes it. The Volkssturm child soldiers seen earlier in the film - the same ones who refused the suggestion from Peter's father to flee - are being overrun by the advancing Soviet forces, in no small part due to their lack of weapons and training. As the majority of them flee the area Inge - the young girl with long blonde hair in twin braids under her oversized soldier's helmet - hands the young officer a pistol and shouts at him to shoot her, presumably well aware of what brutal fate awaits her at the hands of the Soviet soldiers. She gives him a farewell salute, and the officer hesitates. The girl shouts something at him, and he swallows hard and shoots her in the chest. She collapses and then he staggers in a daze, obviously overwhelmed at what he's done before shooting himself in the head shortly after. Neither of these characters look old enough to be serving in an army, let alone having to defend their home streets when they should have been told to evacuate to a safe shelter long before the fighting reached them.
  • Advertisement:
  • Blondi's death as a test of the effectiveness of the cyanide capsules that Hitler and Eva plan to take. The doctor places the cyanide capsule into her mouth and another man forces her mouth shut. She whimpers for a few seconds, obviously distressed, then suddenly falls silent as the paralysis takes hold and drops to the floor. Even Hitler can't bear to watch, turning his head away in grief. When he turns back into view his face is almost drained of all colour. To hammer it home, in the very next scene Eva confides to Traudl that all Hitler could talk about recently were dogs and vegetarian food, and Hitler's obvious affection for Blondi in the opening scene underscores the whole thing.
  • Magda Goebbels spiking and later murdering her children to, in her view, spare them from living in a post-National Socialism world. The younger children obediently drink the "medicine" but her eldest daughter Helga, perhaps seeing something in her mother's expression, becomes afraid and refuses to drink. Eventually her mother and the doctor force her to drink it while she sobs the whole time and her younger siblings watch in silence. The real heartbreaker occurs when Magda returns and slips a cyanide pill into each sleeping child's mouth and forces them to bite down on it. Each child whimpers and convulses slightly before going limp, and by the time Magda's finished your gut feels like someone's lined it with lead. The scene is made all the more wretched by Joseph Goebbels standing meekly outside the whole time - a father just standing by and doing nothing to stop the murder of his children is utterly heartbreaking to watch.
    • This scene is a literal Tear Jerker even in a meta-way. Corinna Harfouch - who played Magda Goebbels - has four children and when she was standing in front of the room for this scene, she broke down in tears while trying to prepare herself. The thought that she had to act like wanting to kill children was almost too much for her. A few sources even mentioned that she was supposed to be without emotion during the scene, but watch her face closely and you see her internally tearing up whenever she has to pull the cover. When confronted with the girl playing Helga, her expression even visibly slips into pain. The director kept it in because he liked the believable result.
  • The German citizens evoke sympathy as well. A father pleads with his son's Hitler Youth unit to save themselves, but they refuse. To add insult to injury, the man's own son calls him a coward.
    • And since the father was on the Eastern Front, he at least tries to get them to use a less obviously exposed position to fight. They ignore him and all die having done nothing to stop the Soviets or even hold them up for a while.
    • Peter’s whole story arc is one of the saddest. He eventually comes to his senses and returns home upon seeing that the war is lost. He later helps elderly Germans escape the Nazi kill squads. Then, Peter returns home after learning that Berlin has surrendered...only to find that said kill squad has arrived first and killed his parents.
  • Elder German citizens are executed in the streets because they were unable to or unwilling to fight.
  • Traudl Junge expressing her regret for not seeing Hitler for the madman he was.

Alternative Title(s): Downfall Film


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: