Top 10 Memorable Fictional Nazis in Movies and Television — TopTenzNet

Top 10 Memorable Fictional Nazis in Movies and Television — TopTenzNet


10 Memorable Fictional Nazis in Movies and
Television 10. Dr. Strangelove The US Director of Weapons Research and Development,
this titular character from the 1963 comedy classic is an illustration of how America
was embracing fascist ideology and policies in its rivalry with Communism. With his voice,
and mannerisms like an arm with a mind of its own that forces him to do Nazi salutes
(a real condition, it turns out), Strangelove is definitely one of the more bizarre Nazis
in an acclaimed comedy. Of course, the American government was in real life using Nazi scientists
for our space program as part of the infamous Operation Paperclip, but they weren’t known
to be in any war rooms debriefing the President during national emergencies. He barely conceals his history of working
for the Third Reich, doing things like changing his name to the more American sounding Strangelove
(originally it was Merkwürdigliebe, which is German for “Strangelove”) and makes
slips like referring to Mr. President as “Mein Fuhrer.” It’s odd that when we first see
him, he plays practically a straight man who asks the Soviets why they would ever keep
their doomsday weapon secret when that negates the whole point of the thing. Sometimes the
real world is too crazy even for broad caricatures to make sense of it. 9. Kurt Dussander One of the two villainous protagonists of
the 1982 Stephen King novella Apt Pupil, Dussander is a concentration camp commandant hiding
in Los Angeles under the name Arthur Denker. A neighborhood boy named Todd Bowden recognizes
him and rather than turn him in, he blackmails Dussander into describing the horrors he saw
and inflicted during the final solution from a perspective he could never get from some
dry history book. Dussander reluctantly complies and in the process, awakens dark urges within
himself. Dussander is probably the most vivid illustration
of pure love of power as it related to the Reich. He develops a grudging affection for
Bowden solely because the boy has the power to get what he wants and the will to do what
is required to keep it. He begins killing animals and derelicts because it gives him
power over life and death while still having the wherewithal to stay free. When he dreams,
it’s of his victims pursuing him like feral animals, but he has the power to keep them
away from him seemingly forever so the dreams are not nightmares. Many who read the book
will find Bowden, an average American boy who toys with evil mostly out of boredom,
more disturbing than Dussander, but Dussander was the one who knew what he was doing enough
to cause much greater damage than Bowden’s impulsiveness. 8. Renate Richter Because Nazis are history’s villains, it’s
rare to see them portrayed in even slightly sympathetic roles, particularly in comedies.
This character from the Finnish film Iron Sky, a movie so bizarre that it plays the
notion the last of the Nazi high command somehow managed to escape the Allies by flying to
the moon and establishing a base on “the dark side,” surprisingly has one of the
more nuanced and sympathetic Nazis ever portrayed. Renate Richter, as a school teacher and fiancee
to a soldier aspiring to be the Fuehrer, is someone who has lived her whole life inside
the Reich, cut off from the rest of humanity. As a result, she completely swallows all the
positive propaganda they produce that even though the military overtly controls her life
while espousing a need for racial purity, she still has convinced herself that her nation
believes in truth, unity, and peace. While it’s not a perfect film (the way her loss
of belief in her nation’s lies comes from chancing upon a showing of The Great Dictator
is a bit contrived and a lot of the movie’s humor is limp) it serves a good satirical
point: Even the most corrupt and vicious societies can function if good people are naive enough
to fall for the propaganda. 7. Major Koenig This expert sniper who engages in a sniping
duel with the Soviet hero Vasily Zaitsev in the 2001 film Enemy at the Gates, which is
about the battle of Stalingrad, turns out not to have ever existed. Still, Ed Harris’s
stoic, polite portrayal of the man makes him surprisingly sympathetic. He isn’t trying
to kill Zaitzev out of any belief in his racial superiority. He’s there because his son
was killed at this battle and he’s here for personal revenge. It’s completely misdirected rage, but it’s
misdirected in a very human and relatable way. On the other hand, he is willing to do
such evil things as hang a child that he has interacted with more than enough to humanize
just to antagonize his Zaitsev, so there’s no shying away from the darker side of what
such motivations can do to a person. 6. SS Colonel Hans Landa Landa is introduced in the opening scene of
the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds (a scene which even negative reviews of the movie often
praise, and which many single out as the scene that won Christoph Waltz his Oscar for the
role) trying to present himself as the least threatening Nazi in the world, being more
interested in milk and tobacco than harming anyone. But he still has a brutal intelligence
that makes him more dangerous than most men in uniform. He aligns himself with the Third Reich not
because he believes in his racial superiority or he’s a nationalist. He dismisses his
comrades all the time, prides himself on being able to think like a Jew, and happily betrays
them. He does it because it’s a sanctioned way to hunt down and kill people. He carries
around a big, affected pipe like the type Sherlock Holmes smoked and inspects crime
scenes despite his position of authority. He’s not a soldier, he’s a detective who
loves finding clues. It makes his cynical decision to put on an SS uniform seem even
more depraved than those of the true believers, however more insightful his choice might be. 5. SS Colonel Hans Muller So oblivious that he makes Sgt. Schultz from
Hogan’s Heroes look like Hans Landa, Muller is probably the funniest Nazi ever portrayed.
He has all the absurd bluster and nonsensical beliefs of the Nazi ideology, and from what
we see, it constantly undercuts him. In the first sketch on the comedy sketch series Key
& Peele, his belief in comically stupid race theories seems to blind him to the obvious
fact he’s dealing with the very black people that he’s hunting. In another, he leaves himself horribly vulnerable
to an American GI and ended up costing his unit a loyal, competent soldier purely because
of his ego. Ty Burrell’s performance is surprisingly able to make him seem both somewhat
menacing and still likable. His delivery even sells anachronistic jokes like referring to
one of the waist high salutes that Hitler did as “down low, very cool.” 4. Hando Romper Stomper is an extremely controversial
movie from 1992 because it does not overtly condemn the actions of skinheads and really,
aspects like Russell Crowe’s star-making performance as gang leader Hando are too compelling
to be comfortably enjoyed. Hando leads his gang with courage (he begs for an Asian gang
his gang provoked a war with during a long fight to break into a warehouse so he can
fight them) and something like intelligence used for a horrible purpose. A scene where
he coolly, almost rationally tells an Asian immigrant “I want you to listen to me very
carefully, this is not your country,” is almost worse that the beatings the other members
of his gang are giving. Still, the movie doesn’t idealize the neo-nazi
movement at all. In the same scene where Hando is itching to fight the Asian gang, he has
to retreat because the rest of his gang doesn’t stand with him. He sees through the many failings
of his gang members and when several of them try to quit, he accurately berates them with
how weak they are as people to keep them in line. Even Hando admits it’s likely that
his status as a white person may soon be all he has, which sounds very defeatist for a
supposed member of the master race. Writer/director Geoffrey Wright says the title for the movie
came from hearing a skinhead refer to his shoes that way because that was a kid term
for them, and that child-like appeal nails Hando. He’s big, tough, and knowledgeable,
but he’s nowhere near able to really accept the responsibilities of adulthood. 3. Capt.- Lt. Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock Das Boot is one of the most acclaimed German
movies ever made. It is probably the only movie where audiences, according to TVTropes,
began watching cheering how many German u-boat crew members died during WWII and ended the
movie pulling for the crew to survive even after they sunk Allied ships. It’s no wonder
that Jürgen Prochnow became an international star on the basis of his performance as the
commander of U-96 in this film. This Captain is openly contemptuous of the notion that
his mission is anything but, as he puts it, a “children’s crusade.” He’s one of the few Nazis who relatably
deals with his terrible working conditions by joking about it, such as when he praises
the free home-cooked meals. He praises the British that he’s dealing with, and, unlike
just about any member of the Reich’s armed forces, is horrified by the sight of his enemies
dying in agony, even when it’s his own fault. He’s one of the rare Nazis who is shown
realizing that even when he’s victorious, all he accomplishes in the long run is fruitless
destruction. 2. SS-Obersturmfuhrer He doesn’t get a name, but it’s hard to
forget this fanatical officer from the 1985 Russian classic Come and See. The movie is
set in Belarus, a nation on the Eastern front which was particularly devastated by the war,
and one of the units which murdered the most civilians was the Dirlewanger Brigade. We
see one of their frequent atrocities where villagers are crammed into a church, then
the Obersturmfuhrer tells them that adults will be allowed to leave, but only if they
leave their children behind, and then the church is set on fire. Almost no one escapes.
Later in the movie, he and his unit are taken prisoner by a group of partisans and survival
does not look likely. Unlike the leader of the unit who begs for
his life, claiming he’s an old man that never personally killed anyone, the Obersturmfuhrer
calmly admits what he did and why. As he explains to the partisans that they’re subhumans
and should be wiped out, his eyes seem to go dead. This warped, psychopathic sort of
bravery is one of the most unsettling shots of an actor portraying a nazi soldier even
though the character is pretty much helpless, and takes away some of the satisfaction the
scene might provide a viewer sympathetic to the Soviets. 1. Derek Vinyard Acclaimed when it was first released (on the
strength of Edward Norton’s powerhouse performance), the general consensus about American History
X has shifted to the point many will now admit it’s not a very good movie. The script includes
some bad contrivances, nonsensical plotting, and the black characters too often act as
ciphers there to serve the growth of the white characters. However, the one redemptive aspect
of the movie by the same consensus is how neo-nazi Derek Vinyard is written and how
Norton plays him. Derek Vinyard is a neo-nazi, but his hatred
comes with much more intelligence and thought than most people are willing to admit. He
doesn’t just lash out and froth at the mouth with his prejudices, he will describe in detail,
and just enough accuracy to be unsettling, such things as how the media has been deliberately
misleading about the actions of some black people and how condescending it is to treat
them like they have no control over their own behavior. During the infamous dinner scene,
he also uses the Rodney King event in a very convincing way to explain why the media should
never misrepresent news events to promote a social agenda. No matter how well-meaning
it is, it will get used by the opposition to undermine the movement. Plus the character has some amount emotional
justification for his racism, having been effectively indoctrinated by his father who
died being killed by a shooting in a majority black neighborhood, which confirmed his father’s
prejudices in his eyes. Ultimately, Derek Vinyard sees the error of his violence and
racism and tries to redeem himself to some degree by getting his brother out of that
life, but he was not a blind follower before that. He was the sort of charismatic person
who would make joining even an evil, self-destructive organization seem seductive for a poor, vulnerable
kid just to interact with him.

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