Valkyrie (2008) Poster


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The Critics Were Wrong...
fwomp23 May 2010
"Not only is Singer's film-making aesthetically frustrating (lacking coherent visual rhythm) but his juvenile regard of the July 20, 1944, plot to kill Hitler -- one of 15 documented attempts -- is intellectually insulting..." New York Press The above is the usual negative commentary you'll see regarding this film. Critics bashed it for being insulting, unoriginal, and unmoving. Let me make some corrections for them so that they can save a little face.

I'm no Tom Cruise fan. A buddy of mine, too, is so peeved at Cruise that he refuses to watch anything the man stars in. Mostly this has to do with Cruise's personal life and beliefs (just watch an episode of South Park to see how some people view him and you'll see what I mean). People have similar feelings toward Mel Gibson ...but I digress.

VALKYRIE, as most of you probably now know, is the final of 15 attempts on Hitler's life. Shortly after this (about nine months) he committed suicide in his bunker. But this is about the one time where it almost succeeded. I'd heard about this attempt and read bits of it in history classes, but never really gave it much thought. I mean, the mustachioed murderer offed himself, so that was that. But what gives this film much of its umpf! is how true to history the story sticks (that and how closely many of the actors resemble their true-life counterparts). It is also riveting coming from director Bryan Singer (who did one of my all-time favorite films, THE USUAL SUSPECTS).

Tom Cruise did a great job (probably one of his best since COLLATERAL and MINORITY REPORT). His Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg character was spot-on ...with one exception that seems to be a sticking point for many: his accent. It is true that none of the actors attempts a German cadence in their speech. Did this bother me? No. I think it would have bothered me if they'd TRIED to do one and made it sound forced or ridiculous. So there's that...

What makes the film a success was Cruise's rock solid performance and the amazing supporting cast: Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Terrence Stamp, and Eddie Izzard just to sprinkle a few names.

It is also noteworthy to mention that they filmed nearly everything on-location and in the exact same spots where the original incidents took place, including the subsequent trials and executions of the conspirators. Phenomenal authenticity.

If the cadence of their speech bothered some, then I failed to see how the cadence of the film could. It was absolutely perfect. It gradually built up suspense (even though we knew how it would end for the conspirators), and never slowed, right up until the very end. I am forced to use a cliché here in that "I was on the edge of my seat" throughout the second half of the film.

So if you're looking to tear apart Tom Cruise, you might look at WAR OF THE WORLDS or LEGEND. But not here.
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The Failed Plot Against Tom Cruise
marcosaguado9 January 2009
I'm appalled at the way the specialized and not so specialized media attacked Tom Cruise for this movie. Why? He's not just good but very good in his against type performance. I've heard critics calling him "distractingly bad", how ridiculous and nasty. The film by the great craftsman Bryan Singer is a suspenseful, beautifully made historical thriller with a remarkable attention to detail. In an effort to be accurate the Jews are never mention because in fact the attempt to assassinate Hitler had nothing to do with that. The real reason? The war had turned against the Germans, it was clear that they were entering a down spiral and Hitler's madness was at the center of that. Regardless of the fact we know how the story ends, the movie manages to be a gripping tale based on real events. Well done Mr.Cruise, you won! Your Valkyrie is performing stupendously at the almighty box office.
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Great movie and thank god for IMDb!
petsteph125 December 2008
First, I want to say that some time ago I learned to distrust critics and instead read the reviews here on IMDb. I've never been misled, even when an equal number of viewers liked and disliked the same movie because that let me know there was a matter of taste in play, and that's fine. Sometimes a movie pleases everyone, but that's so rare I cant really think of one. People have different tastes and that's good. But the value of IMDb reviews is that they are based on a genuine response to the movie - not a bias, or some other agenda.

For example, the Fox critic Roger Friedman listed this movie as one of the worst of 2008 - without having seen the movie. That's right. He rated it without seeing it. It was a classic and reprehensible case of bias and perhaps even bigotry since he was engaging in Tom Cruise bashing which is usually practiced in conjunction with dissing Tom's religion.

So I don't trust critics to tell the truth or give an unbiased review.

I saw Valkyrie and enjoyed it immensely. I've studied the Hitler period and was familiar with most of the events but the movie educated me while it thrilled and entertained me. It is a movie I was happy to take my teen-aged children to see because it also educated and entertained them. I thought the cast did a great job. The script was outstanding and the direction excellent. Tom Cruise gave a dimension to Von Stauffenberg that deepened my understanding of the events. The supporting cast were brilliant.

I highly recommend it.

PS. It's some time since I wrote this review and I took thirty minutes tonight to read the other reviews on this movie, not surprisingly they are mostly very positive and unanimous in praising it. Interestingly, the critics, including the one named above, who trashed the movie without even seeing it, obviously did so in an effort to kill it at the box office. While many other reviewers noted this too, I'd like to point out that those critics and possibly some of the people who 'dont like Tom Cruise because of his weird religion' are actually following the same path that made it possible for Hitler to kill off millions of Jews who also had a 'weird religion'. Considering the historical background of Valkyrie I find that quite ironical.
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Excellent, historic thriller
pragers27 December 2008
"Valkyrie" takes on an important event in the history of Nazi Germany: the failed assassination attempt of German officers of the Wehrmacht against Hitler in 1944. Most Germans like myself are quite familiar with the story of the "Stauffenberg-Attentat" since it was not only the topic of many German docudramas (e.g. one made by well-known director Pabst in 1955) but is also widely discussed in history class in school.

I was pleasantly surprised about the "American" interpretation in Valkyrie and think that Singer and Cruise came up with an excellent film. Although the outcome is known and the movie develops rather slowly in the beginning, it manages to create a highly suspenseful and darkish-intense atmosphere that keeps you captivated until the end. Complains regarding the American/English accents and the German actors not speaking with German accents, or criticizing that Stauffenberg was "in reality" more charming and not as stiff as Cruise' interpretation, are niggling and banal at best. The movie does not focus on the private, psychological side of Stauffenberg but on his leading role in the assassination plot planned and executed amidst the "heart of darkness", which -we can be sure- was more than nerve-wracking and left certainly little space for charm and jokes. BTW: I was glad to see Nina von Stauffenberg portrayed as the knowing and smart wife that she actually was. The performance of all actors is superb, and Cruise certainly deserves special praise since his commitment to the role is tangible and remarkably intense.

Highly recommended!
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Most entertaining.
rahprods-127 December 2008
Ignore the silly comments of some critics who want this movie to fail. Schickel, Ebert and the L.A. Times got it right. If you're a World War II history buff like me, you'll appreciate the fine effort that is Valkyrie. It shows that American filmmakers as unlikely as Tom Cruise and Bryan Singer can compete with the likes of the Downfall creators in handling such subject matter. Like World War II itself, the full story of the July 20 plot is long and intricate and cannot be fully told in the confines of a two hour feature film. There are certainly many peripherals to the story - its tentacles ran deep into the Nazi diaspora; thousands were executed or "disappeared" (including Irwin Rommel who was not portrayed in the film) - to say nothing of the mixed motives in those Germans wishing to see Hitler dead. These are all subjects that have already been explored and no doubt will be again in the future. Suffice to say, Singer and editor/composer John Ottman focused on the heart of this story: Hitler was destroying Germany/Europe and the July 20 plotters bucked the odds to stop him. The performances from this exceptional cast are first rate. Think what you want about Tom Cruise and Scientology - I'm no big fan of either - but judge the work on its merits. Cruise may not win an Oscar for his portrayal of von Stauffenberg, but he more than gets the job done. In terms of scope, the locations, battle scenes, costumes/uniforms, staging/settings, you can't ask for more in a WWII movie. There's nothing fake, nothing phony to spoil the period experience and vfx are seamless as they should be. If you're expecting a formula Hollywood thriller a la Bourne or M.I., you may be disappointed, but as a serious adult drama Valkyrie delivers the goods. It took some balls to make this movie and UA has earned its kudos.
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Solidly engaging thriller that works despite knowing the outcome before you start
bob the moo24 May 2011
I'm not really a fan of Tom Cruise so I let this film go past me until it came to TV because I just thought it screamed "star vehicle" too loudly. In reality I was probably a bit too hasty with that call because Valkyrie is a solid little film that delivers an interesting story with the predictable Hollywood liberty but does so in a rather satisfying manner. Having decided to put my personal feelings on Cruise to one side, I did still think that the film would struggle because ultimately I already knew the ending (spoiler: the plot to assassinate Hitler isn't successful) and it would therefore not be able to hook me in. I think in a way this was correct but not really in the way that I thought.

In terms of just straight up narrative flow the film does engage; OK it maybe takes a while to establish the main players and get things moving forward but ultimately, while I knew they would fail, I was interested to see what happens, how it happens and what they did. On this level I enjoyed the film and although it was a full two hours long I wasn't bored by it and it felt like it was as long as it should have been. Where I thought it didn't quite pull it off is in the portrayal of why the conspirators felt they had to act. In this regard I didn't feel their desperation and I didn't get a tangible sense of how bad things were at this point in the war for Germany; I know from other films etc how bad things were but this film didn't really do that so much as simply say that things were bad. Likewise I didn't get a feel for the emotions behind the plot and instead I got the impression that the film was taking it as read that everyone dislikes Hitler and therefore that would be all the understanding we would need – this is perhaps partly true but the film needed this as part of it, not an external thing brought by modern audiences.

Singer does a really good job in terms of direction. There isn't a huge amount of action here but the tension is good and it is very well delivered to be a lot more effective than I thought it would be (again, the issue over knowing the ending). The cast is deep in quality but, like me, many will get stuck at Cruise. He does an OK job by which I mean he doesn't overplay or make it all about him the personality. The downside of this is that he doesn't bring much character out either and I didn't see much of a person in his character – he does have presence though, which helps a lot. The supporting cast is rich and their presence also helps the film since you cannot turn left or right without bumping into a quality British actor. Branagh, Nighy, Wilkinson, Stamp, Izzard, Hollander and so on – they all do solid work and are a boon to the film.

Valkyrie isn't a classic by any means but nor is it the ego-driven Cruise film I expected. Instead it is a solidly entertaining thriller based on fact that manages to engage even though you know the outcome. Cruise doesn't get in the way and the support cast make it stronger by their quality and their number.
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Great movie, doesn't do history justice
mib-2913 April 2009
I was curious about this movie since it had caused so much controversy with Tom Cruise in the main role. Personally I think he was after all not a bad choice for this part and all in all I am very happy that there is an American movie that shows the different side of Germany and Germans in the Third Reich (there was a time when in every Hollywood Movie the villain were always Germans). But Americans, who in general don't really have much understanding of history, fail to realize that Hitler wasn't voted into power by the people. As a matter of fact, he only received 36,8 % of the votes in the election. Though this made his party the leading one, he could only gain power because the politicians of the other parties thought they could control him. Once Hitler was able to turn Germany into a dictatorship, it was extremely difficult to form any resistance. So much as cracking a joke about the Fuehrer was reason enough to be imprisoned, investigated and executed. Organizing a conspiracy meant risking not only your life, but the life of everyone even remotely associated with you. And you could never be sure who you could trust or who might be a spy or simply rat you out for personal gain. This is where this movie falls a little short, because it shows Stauffenberg and others simply talking freely about their plans and their convictions. Yes, I get that it is very difficult to portrait this conflict and the tremendous danger in a two hour movie, but I can't help it, I just feel that it doesn't give the audience a real picture of how daring this operation was and how nerve wracking this must have been (remember, this was the third attempt of Stauffenberg. He had the explosives with him two times before and had to abort ... each time risking detection). If you really think this through, you can not have enough respect for their courage. And I can't help but to point out, that most people don't even have the civil courage to demonstrate and protest in a free country with a democratic government.

Bottom line: great movie and you should watch it. Just be reminded, that this is a very watered down version of history.
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Excellent Historical Drama
J_Trex27 December 2008
It was curious timing to release this film on Christmas Day. As David Letterman quipped on last night's monologue: "Nothing says Holidays like a good Nazi death plot".

Release timing not withstanding, this is a very powerful movie and by all accounts comports with the historical record. There was little embellishment for dramatic effect here. Hitler murder conspiracy dramas are abundant in Hollywood, but this one actually happened and was nearly successful. The story is riveting, and even though the outcome was already known (at least to anyone who had a rudimentary knowledge of WWII), the excitement level was sustained by not really knowing the precise timing of events or, more importantly, who would be spared in the end.

Tom Cruise was very good in the lead role as the chief conspirator (Col. von Stauffenberg). The rest of the cast was first rate, including Tom Wilkinson as Gen'l Fromm, a Nazi head honcho who was playing both sides of the fence, and many other notable actors, such as Kenneth Branagh and Terence Stamp, all excellent.

For fans of "Downfall", the German film documenting Hitler's final week in the bunker (one of the all time great WWII films and #75 on the IMDb top 250), there were two actors from that movie playing in this one. Thomas Kretschmann and Christian Berkel both were key figures in "Downfall" had supporting roles in this film.

For people with an interest in WWII or history in general, this is one film worth checking out.
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The Plot to Kill Hitler
freemantle_uk11 May 2009
Claus von Stauffenberg, a man famous for being a German Army Officer who came closest to a assassinating Adolf Hitler. Von Stauffenberg is the closest figure Germany has to a national hero during World War 2. It's surprising that it took so long for a film to be made, nor to be a German film.

Valkyrie is a test project for the newly reformed United Artists under Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. It was also a smaller project for Bryan Singer after doing 3 superhero films and reunite Singer and Christoper McQuarrie for the first time after the Usual Suspects.

Valkyrie starts with a prelogue sequence in North Africa. Von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) is a disaffected officer who is questioning Hitler's regime and that he was leading Germany to the path of destruction. During a British air raid he is injured badly, loosing an eye, his right hand and two fingers on his left hand. He can no longer serve on the front line. In 1943 General Henning von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh) fails in his attempt to assassin Hitler and the German Resistance loss an army officer to help with operations. Von Stauffenberg is recruited in the resistance and the General Staff. He comes up with the Valkyrie plan which was to make the assassination of Hitler look like an SS plot, and get the army to launch a coup to 'protect' the Nazi regime. Von Stauffenberg is the only man who could get close to Hitler because he was the Chief-of-Staff for the Reserve Army General. The film is split into three major parts, the planning, the assassination attempt and the attempted coup.

Singer was able to bring in a very stylist approach of direction. I enjoy Singer's films and he was able to show his skills again. He is able to get an excellent cast, including Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Terrence Stamp and Tom Wilkingson to name a few. However, he shot the film in the style of a thriller, which was interesting, but being a historical film with most people knowing the outcome already takes away the suspense. But Singer did make an enjoyable film. The film has a strong script

Valkyrie is a strong, enjoyable film. It is not Singer's best but he can still pull it of.
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Must See Movie
michaelmalak19 December 2008
One of the best movies I've seen in years. In the world where special effects and cheesy plots make 99% of all films, "Valkyrie" delivers psychological thriller with a lesson in history. I saw this movie with my 9 year old son who is a big Military Fan. In the eyes of a 9 year old boy - the World consists of "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys". I hope that this movie will allow him to recognize that the World is little more complex than "Black & White" or "Good & Bad". This movie is the first film I have ever seen that presents German People as human beings trapped in the wheels of a spinning war machine, and not merely monsters responsible for all WWII atrocities. The movie illustrates political ties and relationships between Army and SS which were at the heart of Hitler's grip on the Reich.
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Ignore the Nagative Hype
Reef-Shark5 January 2009
Forget all the negative hype surrounding Valkyrie, because I assure you it is false. Bryan Singer has made a well-crafted thriller that kept me and my family on the edge of our seats until the end – even though we all know what the story's unfortunate outcome. Also, many tabloids were making this out to be the movie that would permanently cripple the career of Tom Cruise. This is entirely false. Cruise delivers a fine performance, and this hatred I can only assume is related to his rather odd personal life. Tom Cruise is as strong of an actor as he ever was, and I won't let something like turning Oprah's couch into a playground deny the fact that the man has talent, and is a truly passionate actor (and seriously, he does have a slight resemblance to Stauffenberg).

The movie is based on the last of fifteen known attempts on the life of German dictator Adolf Hitler (I'm sure everyone will have him in a nice "Five Most Evil People" list), and has Tom Cruise playing Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who of course was the key player in the assassination attempt. Ultimately this attempt failed (as we all know Hitler would die by suicide nine months later), but that doesn't keep Valkyrie from being an addictively engaging film.

Every member of the cast does their part well, not jockeying for superiority in any way. More importantly Cruise does not grandstand in this movie, fading in with the rest of the cast, rather than trying to stand above them like you'd expect, given his past films. Cruise gives a performance similar to 2005's War of the Worlds, where he does a good performance, but he never tries to overpower the other members of the cast. In Valkyrie Tom Cruise is a being a good team player, not trying to steal any glory, and never once does he overact the part.

Using very little CGI Valkyrie is also a wonderful film to look at. The vintage automobiles and aircrafts make this film have a distinct authentic flair that few other war films have (CGI looks like it was only used for the climatic assassination attempt). You can look at this and tell that this is the real deal, with the production team putting careful care into how they want this film to look, unlike most Blockbuster films that try and inflate every aspect of the film rather than aim for reality. Like the performance by Tom Cruise they don't try and overpower the audience with special effects, they simply let the characters slip into the realistic settings.

Also, the complaints about the accents I truly feel are desperate attempts to bash Cruise's performance. It was director Bryan Singer's concept to not use false German accents, and not that of Cruise, or the primarily British cast. I agree with Singer's concept that if feels false, and inaccurate to have people speak in English, but with foreign accents. I know several Germans in real life, and they do not sound very "German" when they speak in English, because the accent is not intended for the English language. I personally feel the desire for English being spoken in German accents comes from decades of WWII films where we've categorized every-single member of the German army, and by them speaking in that accent only is to cliché them and separate them from American audiences. They can speak in German accents, but only if they're speaking in German, because if they aren't it seems to be a tool to keep your common American moviegoer from relating to the characters.

Don't go into Valkyrie expecting to be greeted with a horrifically bad film that you will be able to poke fun at with friends. The movie has been released, and I feel the rumors, and negative hype of been proved decisively false. This isn't a movie to kill Cruise's career, but it won't help him regain love in the American community either (as previously mentioned he doesn't shine so much as mix in with the rest of the cast). It is a very enjoyable dramatization of a true event, and I don't think the material could have been handled much better, even with a full German cast, because Singer's style and method of conveying this story are all very well-done.

Go out and enjoy this dramatization of one of the darkest periods of human history. It is worth every second of your time, and all though it isn't Oscar-worthy it is certainly worth two-hours of your time.
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Good movie, strange accents
Smells_Like_Cheese22 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Valkryie, a movie that takes on the closest assassination to Adolf Hitler, being such a huge history buff, sadly I knew how this was going to end. I love walking out of the theater hearing the teenagers go "What the heck?! I thought Hitler was going to die!", I bow my head in shame. I know that there were a lot of people who had a thing about Tom Cruise being the leading man, which I have to admit I had a few questions, but you cannot deny despite his madness, he is a good actor over all. I admit he can be cocky, but he got the film done with pretty decent taste. I just have to laugh though because in this film we have every kind of accent there is: American, English, German, EVEN POLISH! A Polish Nazi? LOL, I'm sure that history must be proud of this movie. But over all it's a decent representation of the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler.

During World War II, Wehrmacht Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is severely wounded in Tunisia, and is evacuated home to Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Major General Henning von Tresckow attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler by smuggling a bomb aboard the Führer's private airplane. The bomb, however, fails to detonate and Tresckow safely retrieves it to conceal his intentions. After learning that the Gestapo has arrested General Hans Oster, he orders General Olbricht to find a replacement. After recruiting von Stauffenberg into the German Resistance, Olbricht delivers von Stauffenberg to a meeting of the secret committee which has coordinated previous attempts on Hitler's life. The members include General Ludwig Beck, Dr. Carl Goerdeler , and Erwin von Witzleben. The Colonel is stunned to learn that no plans exist for after Hitler's assassination. After a bombing raid on Berlin, he lights upon using the plan Operation Valkyrie, which involves the deployment of the Reserve Army to maintain order in the event of a national emergency. The plotters carefully redraft the plan so that they can dismantle the Nazi regime after assassinating Hitler, by overthrowing the SS and imprisoning Hitler's closest advisors. Realizing that only General Fromm, the head of the Reserve Army, can initiate Valkyrie, they offer him a position as head of the Wehrmacht in a Post-Nazi Germany and recruit him into the fold: however, Fromm initially refuses. With the rewritten plan needing to be signed off by Hitler himself, von Stauffenberg visits the Führer at his Berghof estate in Bavaria. In the presence of his inner circle, Hitler praises von Stauffenberg's heroism in North Africa not realizing the Colonel's true intentions.

Besides the accents and the A-list actors, honestly this could've been a made for TV film. It's not exactly the hit I think the studio was hoping for. Normally most WWII films are a big hit, but the problem was the advertising, the trailer I felt was a bit inappropriate, and the actors, I felt that this if not made in German should have just been with English actors or all American because all the accents were throwing me off. But the film is definitely worth the watch, I just suggest if you are ignorant when it comes to history, please for the love of God, do some research before watching a film like this, not just because Tom Cruise is in it.

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The Supporting Cast Leads The Way
alexkolokotronis31 December 2008
I really enjoyed this movie and I maybe one of the few that was not annoyed by Tom Cruise. Well as I'm sure most people know this movie is about the failed assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler.

The acting was very good throughout. I actually enjoyed Tom Cruise's performance but he did not take the lead as strongly as he should have. He did what had to be done but he could have elevated this movie like he has done to others in the past. His role needed that maverick type attitude like he provided in Born On the Fourth of July. His non-German accent was not an issue it was the strength that he displayed in his performance that was disappointing to many. This movie was certainly a chance for him to build his career back up to a more serious level but he clearly did not impress too many people with his role as Stauffenburg to do that. Still, he was enjoyable to watch for me.

The supporting cast though was great. Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson were all pivotal in the success of this movie and they certainly filled in perfectly. All around they were great performances but who I especially liked was Christian Berkel who I haven't heard of before as well as Jamie Parker.

The directing of Bryan Singer was superb. He provided an amazing amount of suspense to a movie that everyone knew the ending to. For a good half hour I was totally frozen watching as the plot unfold. I also thought the movie was paced very well and he brought the best out of the supporting cast. Of course it was shot very well with a great production throughout. The movie was written very nicely but as many people have said, it would have been great if there was more emotional depth added to the characters to make the audience feel more attached them.

This movie certainly had a lot of potential but it stayed within the realm of mostly a suspense action movie. Valkryie reminded me of a WW2 movie from the 50s and 60s with its style and pacing. It's very interesting to think about what ifs' and its kind of funny to think they almost pulled off the impossible without killing Hitler. Valkryie perfectly illustrates how the smallest of things can have the biggest impact.
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Good Psychological Thriller
muddam2 March 2009
This story is based on real incidents happened in Germany in 1944 during the Hitler regime of World War II. German Colonel Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) gets injured in a war at South Africa. He loses one eye, one palm and two fingers on the other hand. Stauffenberg feels that Hitler is doing more harm to Germany than any help. There is a group of officers who feel the same. He joins them and conspires and executes a plot to assassinate Hitler using Operation Valkyrie which holds key to the usage of reserved army in crisis.

WE KNOW THE CLIMAX: All of us knew that Hitler final end came through the act of suicide. Hence we knew in advance that he was not assassinated. And the entire movie runs on an attempt to assassinate Hitler. It requires tremendous narrative from the director if the audiences already knew the climax. Bryan Singer who directed the most fascinating 'The Usual Suspects' comes up with another riveting thriller drama in the form of 'Valkyrie'.

It is more fascinating because a part of German Army believes that Germany's reputation is going down because of Hitler. This film shows the humanistic soldiers who are under director command of Hitler. I loved the way Hitler is shown. The entire film is shot from the point of view of Stauffenberg. Hence Hitler is shown for a few seconds in the entire movie – that's too in flashes without revealing the entire body.

TAILPIECE: Valkyrie is a tautly made psychological thriller with interesting background and is based on real incidents involving Hitler's final months. This film has linear narration with no confusion.
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One of the most fast-paced, strongly edited movies of all time!
Prashast_Singh25 November 2018
The best thing about VALKYRIE more than anything else is its pace. It's rare to find any movie with such an incredible fast pace in these days, let past days alone. Even thrillers these days venture more into drama and the suspense factor takes a backseat.

This isn't the case with VALKYRIE.

The reason? It's packaged more as a thriller than a drama and that's why the suspense remains watertight and the plot, breathtaking. Most historical films stretch beyond 2 and a half hours, while VALKYRIE stays to the point without any subplots or unnecessary drama to hinder the pace.

I didn't realize how quickly time flew by. Brian Singer did an effective job at pulling off a historical thriller. Tom Cruise shines in a dramatic role which has been written very well. Rest of the cast also makes a mark, and does exactly what is needed in this plot-based film.

VALKYRIE is dominated by a strong, tension-filled plot which remains suspenseful even till the end. No matter whether you're already aware of the facts, the film will keep you glued to the end.

There are a few action bits which have been executed very well, especially the one in the beginning. A few more of such sequences could've been added but the balancing is so proper that nothing really feels less or more.

I'd strongly recommend VALKYRIE to those who enjoy historical thrillers or just simply thrillers. And I need not to say that it's a must watch for Tom Cruise fans, as I've myself watched it for the same reason.
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SeanDTheFilmMaker26 December 2008
This was a hauntingly suspenseful film. Though we all know the outcome of the events that took place, you still hold your breath as the events unfold. I haven't felt like this about a film since "13 days" never realizing (as I wasn't there) how close things really came! The whole cast was powerful, that being said I felt that it could have been a little longer. I wish the film spent more time with Tom's character so we could know a little bit more about him but with the screen time he had he made it clear that their were two sides. Those who wanted to over throw Hitler and where Men of action and those who just wanted to sit around talking about doing it. It is clear that Tom's character was driven by taking action, just wished we knew a little bit more about him.

After the film my friend and I were debating on what parts of the story were true or what was embellished. Im very certain the characters kids playing the record "Flight of the Valkarie" was completely fictionalized and even a bit out of place, or perhaps too obvious would be the best choice of words. However that was my only real complaint to the makers of the film. Other than that it was really well done and have a pretty good feeling that the story will stick with me for a long time. Cause lets face it, these conspirators REA-A-A-L-Y came close to pulling it off. I was actually surprised at how close they got to winning and over throwing Hitler. I could just recall something about the bomb going off and the table top was the only thing that saved him back when they were telling me about this in High school. Even then a bit of curiosity sparked in my mind but that was it.

This film really flushed everything out and shed some light and give a "wider scope" on the people of Germany and like the trailer said "To show the world that we are not all like him" Its definitely a film to be proud of.
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Good and detailed adaptation about the ¨July 20 plot ¨ with magnificent actors and splendid direction
ma-cortes13 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is a fine movie about the July 20 plot of 1944 made with magnificent American-British-German actors and great production values. The picture contains a brief biographical remarks about Claus Schenk Graf Von Stauffenberg life(1907-1944), his wife(Van Hooten) and sons but focusing mainly the July Plot. The film packs a colorful cinematography by Newton Thomas Siegel and atmospheric musical score by John Ottman, also film-editor.This story about Stauffenberg and the famous event from how was orchestrated the dangerous plot has been well directed by Brian Singer(X men). Another versions about this fateful tale are: the classic version(1955) by G.W. Pabst with Bernhard Wicki as Stauffemberg, an American TV movie starred by Brad Davies and German adaptation titled 'Stauffemberg(2004)' with Sebastian Koch, Christopher Buchold and directed by Jo Baier who bears special remembrance to 'Valkyrie'.

Adding more details over the widely described on the movie, the deeds happened of the following manner: In the early part WWII Stauffenberg(Tom Cruise) served with distinction as an officer in a Bavarian cavalry regiment in Poland, France and North Africa where in 1943 he was deeply wounded. He was saved by the expert supervision of Dr. Ferdinand, Germany's most famous physician. Reporting back for service, he was appointed chief of staff of the Army Department. During his convalescence he revised his attitude . He made no secret of his utter contempt for Hitler(David Bamber) and Nazism. He resented any form of totalitarianism, especially National Socialism, and criticized Hitler as the Antichrist.The meticulous Stauffenberg then decided to join the conspirators against Hitler with the goal of liquidating the Nazi regime and replacing it with a new social state that would maintain the good name of fatherland. Always impelled by Christian morality and angered by the excesses of Nazism, Stauffenberg became the leader of the conspiracy. At the center of the plot were such senior officers as Gen. Von Tresckow(Kenneth Branagh), chief of staff in Army Group Center on the Russian front, Col.Gen Friedrich Olbricht(Bill Nighy), head of supply Section of the Reserve Army , Major Gen. Erwin Van Witzleber(David Scofield) and General Beck(Terence Stamp). Added to these senior members were a number of younger officers(Christian Berkel as Mertz) who believed who Third Reich was a catastrophe for Germany and were willing to gamble their lives on the outcome of the plot. Others knew of the plot but did not take an active role in it. Among them were Field Marshal Erwin Rommel,popular war hero, General Canaris and Field Marshal Hans Von Kluge, army group commander in France. In March 1943 General Tresckow decided that the time had come for action. A British-made bomb time , disguised as a bottle of brandy, was placed on the Fuehrer's plane , but the bomb failed to explode and it was never discovered. Then General Von Tresckow agreed with Stauffenberg that the assassination attempt must be made at all costs: 'We must prove to the world and to future generations that the men of the German Resistance movement dared to take the decisive step and wager their lives on it'. When Hitler called a conference of his close military advisers at the headquarter at Rastenburg, Staufffenberg arrived and in his briefcase along with papers and reports, was a British time bomb. He set the timer on the bomb and brought it into the conference room. After greeting the Fuehrer , he placed the briefcase on the floor beside Hitler and the excused himself: 'I must make a telephone call'. And the bomb exploded......
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Cruise is Stellar
marydm-434703 April 2019
I have so much fun reading some "critics". Some want historical accuracy. Well this isn't a documentary. There's plenty of those around on this historical period. Some want German accents. The splendid ensemble cast are creating characters not demonstrating a sociolinguistics class. And others, the most unethical lot of all, criticise Cruise because of his personal identity rather than his acting chops.

Well, this extraordinary movie exacts sweet revenge on such misguided critics. It is a master class of the Kurosawa "doctrine" that because film is such a multimodal medium one needs to be careful to balance all the competing elements harmoniously.

The editing is so tight here that narrative, dramatic and characterisation elements cohere brilliantly into an organic and most satisfying whole.

I could talk about the ensemble cast a lot. Suffice it to say that that too is another most cohesive and targeted aspect of the film.

But this is Cruise's moment. He absolutely fills the screen with charisma. His acting is impeccable. ( He single handedly saved Eyes Wide Shut, such a great faux pas from such a great master as Kubrick). He is stellar, he shines, he smoulders, he is just scintillating.

Damn those who put him down because they don't approve of Scientology or his lifestyle. Those issues are completely irrelevant as criteria for judging a cinematic performance. His acting chops are so off the scale virtually in every single movie he's made, the whole Academy and related awards caper comes across as a village fair for amateurs.

Spectacular movie overall, the sort you come back to watch time and again.
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Very fine account of one of the many Hitler assassination attempts.
TxMike27 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Quite by coincidence I watched two Nazi-related movies on successive nights, first "The Reader" and now this one, "Valkyrie." Both different, both excellent.

As we have been able to reflect on the aftermath of WW II (I was born right after it ended) it is clear that Hitler had many enemies in his own country. As far back as 1938 and continuing through the mid-1940s there were a number of attempts to assassinate him, by his own soldiers. As history tells us they all failed, but mercifully Hitler took his own life at the end of the war.

"Valkyrie" is a Wagner composition, but also a code word for a military contingency plan in Nazi Germany. Tom Cruise is Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, seriously wounded in 1943 in North Africa fighting, and now viewed as a military hero back in Germany. He is one of many who realize that Hitler is misguided and worry that if they don't do something to stop him it will result in the end of Germany and Europe as they knew it, as the Allies were getting closer to victory.

This movie contains a good number of established stars in key roles, including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Thomas Kretschmann, Terence Stamp, and Eddie Izzard.

The story recounts, with suitable historical accuracy, one of the attempts on Hitler's life, with Von Stauffenberg as the key driver of the effort. It is an absorbing glimpse into 1940s Nazi Germany and the different factions, those with absolute loyalty to Hitler and those seeking ways to oust him.

SPOILERS: Of course the assassination attempt chronicled here failed, the small bomb went off and Stauffenberg escaped the encampment, but the heavy map table shielded Hitler well enough that he survived the blast with only relatively minor injuries. Thinking Hitler was indeed dead the rebels initiated the revised Valkyrie plan to usurp power, but were fairly quickly arrested, tried, and executed.
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Cruise Delivers in Thrilling 'Valkyrie'
reason_in_madness26 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I just got back from the theatre moments ago, and felt compelled to write my first review on this website.

Let's just get this out of the way: Tom Cruise can still act. I don't care about his personal life, as that is his business and his business alone. His portrayal of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is an honest one. I truly don't believe the critics when it comes to him. Sometimes, you need to discard what you know about the actor and see him only as his character. He lets the viewer do this, at least, it worked on me.

Also, I thought the beginning was exceptionally crafted. It set the perfect tone for the rest of the film, and I was pleased to hear a little German. It really helped authenticate the rest of what we were to see. And the transition from Cruise speaking German to English was well- done. I thought it was a great tool against those who would otherwise dismiss the rest of the movie because it was in English. I, however, couldn't care less, because I understand that were it to be done in subtitles, the film would lose over half its audience.

(spoilers ahead)

Ultimately, I felt this film was very well-done. I spent about 15 minutes listening to my heart pound in my chest in suspense of what was to happen next. Even though I knew Hitler would live, I ached to learn how the other characters' stories would end. That is another wonderful thing about this movie: You really CARE about the individual characters. They're endearing and honestly-performed.

(spoilers done)

Overall, I would recommend this movie to everyone, Cruise fan or not.
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Point Man For The Bomb Plot Against Hitler
bkoganbing20 February 2011
Tom Cruise is one of those actors who can't shake a youthful image. When one thinks of him, one thinks of All The Right Moves, Top Gun, even Taps as the young brat packer. Of all the young players of the Eighties labeled the Brat Pack, Cruise has had the most staying power by far.

In Valkyrie, Cruise holds his own with some classically trained players from across the pond like Terrence Stamp, Kenneth Branagh, and Tom Wilkinson. These folks in varying degrees participate in the plot named Operation Valkyrie to assassinate Adolph Hitler and hopefully bring about a short conclusion of the war.

Working against them was the unconditional surrender policy agreed to by the Allies. Everyone well remembered Hitler's skillful use of the betrayal issue that came about in that interregnum between the Armistice and the Versailles Treaty. The Allies wanted Germany beaten with no doubt about it this time around.

And they would have had to have bagged a whole gang of them, Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, Bormann etc. for it to work. Nobody on the Allied side would have dealt with any of these specimens. In fact when they did break the policy and negotiate a surrender with Marshal Pietro Badoglio and due to circumstances to lengthy to go into here, the objective was not accomplished and we had a yard by yard war up the Italian peninsula instead of a quick surrender.

Cruise let's face it is not a brat packer any more. In fact he's roughly the age that Stauffenberg was when he became the point man for bombing on July 20, 1944. He even looks a bit like him. There's also a trace of the German aristocratic air about him that Stauffenberg was. Claus von Stauffenberg did come from an old Catholic aristocratic family with a military tradition who saw the Nazis as parvenus. But it was hard to argue with Hitler's early military success, especially for a military man.

The performance really to watch here is that of Tom Wilkinson who is a really oily individual as General Fromm who was trying so hard to keep himself in good with both sides so he could come out on top. As for what happened to him, watch a very worthwhile film to find out.
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Manages To Keep The Suspense Going Even If It Is Hollywood History
Theo Robertson11 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very mixed bag of a film . Despite the numerous mentions of Tom Cruise spoiling the film this isn't the worst aspect and for the most part it's a very enjoyable Hollywood thriller and I emphasise the word thriller

It plays rather much like one of these classic film noir thrillers where a cop infiltrates the mob and you just know that his cover is going to get blown with very nasty consequences . In a film where the outcome is known it's difficult to keep suspense up but here director Bryan Singer and screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander keep the audiences on the edge of their seats . This starts relatively early in the film where General Von Tresckow gives away a case of brandy which disguises a bomb intended to kill Aldoph Hitler . When the bomb fails to explode he knows he will be linked to a failed assassination attempt so we're shown a series of scenes where retrieves the case not knowing if his plot has been discovered

And the film places emphasis on this type of consequence . All too often in documentaries this assassination attempt is mentioned but doesn't explain how the plotters managed to conceal the failed assassination attempt . Likewise when the July bomb plot is set up the film goes in to considerable detail what is to be down after Hitler is killed . It's not enough to kill Der Fuherer , all Nazi hierarchy and institutions must nuetralised . In effect it must be made to look like it was other elements of the Nazi party carried out the bombing on the Wolf's Liar and Von Stauffenberg and his colleagues want to cleanse Germany of the Nazi despots who are dragging Germany in to Armageddon . It's this aspect that works very well

Where the film fails at - and it is a very big failure - is the motives for doing so where the curse of Hollywood history strikes again. Everyone can agree that the " good Germans " wanted to be rid of Hitler and paid for this by their lives but as is often misinterpreted by history their motives weren't exactly the most noble . The conspirators knew Britain and America would never accept a negotiated peace deal with the Nazis in power and that the Soviet Union would never accept anything than the total annihilation of Germany Nazi or otherwise . When characters in the film mention making peace with the allies what they really mean is " making peace with the Western democracies " as in Britain and America leaving their toe holds in France and Italy and cessation of airlight bombing by the USAAF and night time bombing by the RAF so that Germany could continue its war in the East where millions upon millions of Slavs had died at the hands of the Germans . It should also be remembered of these millions a large proportion were by Germans who were not Nazis . The ordinary Wehrmacht could be just as brutal towards the inhabitants of Poland and the USSR as the Nazi death squads

At the end of the day brave men with the courage of their convictions paid the ultimate price for their courage . As VALKYRIE points out many of them didn't die a quick clean death either , being slowly strangled by piano wire is an unpleasant death and history should never forget these men who tried to kill history's most brutal tyrant . But at the same time history shouldn't forget the motives for doing so which aren't as black and white as the ones shown here
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If only I could have forgotten how it was going to end I would have thought this one of the best of the year
dbborroughs6 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Bryan Singers film about the plot to kill Hitler is a very good one. (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Wonderfully acted, especially when it gets going, it has one of the best ensemble casts I've seen. This is beautiful to look at with a real sense of being in the Nazi world. And it is at times a taut film about a plot to kill the Fuhrer (I know you can all here the "but" coming, so I won't disappoint you) BUT the film has one large problem, we know how it turns out.Forgive me for saying that unless you really don't know your history you know the plan fails and everyone dies. Short of them rewriting history there is one and only one way this can go, and its not really a happy one. This doesn't mean there is no tension, there is, it just means there are no surprises except in the details. For me the films inability to transcend the fact we know it ends badly keeps it from being a being a great film and instead making it only a good one. Its is possible to make a great film about a failed event, one need only look at Khartoum or the Alamo to see two films that hold you in such away that you forget the ending. Don't get me wrong its a good film, I just wish they had made me forget the ending at the start.(Counter point recent films where I knew the ending and didn't care or forgot it in the flow: Milk, Che, Frost/Nixon)
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Valkyrie: Good direction, and great support make it worthwhile
Samwise_Lives6 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I went to a pre-screening of Valkyrie and I was surprised to find myself enjoying the movie more than I thought I would.

The story is straight forward, detailing the last of 15 known assassination attempts against Adolf Hitler. Since history tells us Adolf Hitler committed suicide I went into the theater with a sense of frustration, and small disappointment knowing the villains would succeed, the heroes ultimately fail due to under estimation of their adversaries.

The plot is neither hindered nor helped by Tom Cruise. He plays his usual intense, glowering, stiff faced character, and is outshone by the supporting cast. You can almost forget that he's in the movie if you can appreciate the performances of Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp, and other actors who play the chief conspirators, including Eddie Izzard, and Christian Berkel.

I came out of the theater contemplating the course of history oddly enough, so yes the movie is thought provoking, but I don't think I would see it again because it is so straightforward, making it hard to glean extra insights into the characters and story. Thanks to the supporting cast the movie didn't tank, and the direction made the movie intense in many parts, even though you know what's gonna happen at the end.

Since I saw a prescreening the tickets were free, and I would say if you have a problem with Tom Cruise, that's the way you should see this movie, because it is worth watching. Or pay the money for a ticket, and just think about how you're supporting the career of actors who actually deserve it.

Go see the movie for it's values sake, and because it's a good film. Don't expect a lot of action, or blood. Expect a good story, and good acting by a majority of the cast.
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Mission Impossible
timbermisc25 December 2008
Indeed this mission was impossible. This movie is named after a Wagner composition. Wagner gave verve to the German spirit during WWII with its driving musical compositions. But this Valkyre tune is also the name of the operation of the defense forces which would help to replace the German Government after Hitler were to be killed by whomever. There was a plan to protect the integrity of the German Government should Hitler die for any reason. Van Stauffenberg attempted to control this operation already in place and to place himself in control of it when Hitler were to be killed.

This movie helps to cleanse Germany of its sins. It will be welcome there. Tom Cruise has shed any boyishness in his portrayal of the Col. Stauffenberg. Therefore, it all works. The movie moves along like a "Raiders of the Lost Arc" with few slow moments. The tension builds and builds and you will not be immune to it. I believed everything. I saw no flaw that would be amusing. This is a serious movie, not entertainment.

I gave it an "8" because I felt it was not as creative as some other movies. But then this is because it sticks to the facts. It is a historical movie not a creative romp.

You will leave this movie with a serious demeanor, but there is still the saving grace that good triumphed over evil eventually. And if you are German you can choose to identify with the good guys now. Hitler is not made much of in this movie.

Everything flows from one event to another with smoothness and sometimes passion. Everything is explained well. I think everyone should see it once if just to remember that there were other types of Germans involved in WWII who did not walk the party line.

I feel it is one of the best movies of the year, perhaps in the top 15 of the year.
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