Movie View: Triumph of the Will (1935)

(Response to “M” Screening)

You ever hear of that Hitler fellow? He seems like a really cool guy.

A friendly face

Oh, what’s that? What about Poland? Final Solution? Killed six million…Oooohh…

Well, he SEEMED like a cool guy. At least after watching Triumph of the Will, that is. Certainly, you’ve heard of  this German propaganda classic, haven’t you? If not, you’re certainly familiar with it’s cinematography. What it lacks in mentioning Hitler’s sociopath ideals, it makes up for incredible shots even for the modern cinema era. It’s more known in the States for it’s influential shots rather than it’s purpose as a film. Even Star Wars has taken influence from it.

About that “purpose as the film:” This movie is the brain child of Leni Riefenstahl. Technically, it was Hitler’s idea, since he personally asked her to make footage of his rallies AND was an uncredited executive producer. Regardless, her goal was to basically make Hitler look as awesome as possible. She did a damn good job. Her movie makes Hitler look SO AWESOME that it’s claimed to be edit-proof. No one could edit the film to make Hitler look like the psychopath he’s known to be, especially since the film didn’t even mention that whole genocide thing. It is a propaganda film, after all. It’s whole premise is that Germany’s former glory can be restored 124% better than before, and all they need is this guy…


Take a look at the video right HERE. Skip right into 4 minutes of the video (unless you wanna see some fancy shots from a plane…they are very nice).

Notice how happy everybody is. They look at this guy like a celebrity. Kids are shaking his hand, women are blessing his name, people want to touch his mustache. It’s like when Lindsay Lohan was still popular.

And this is basically the whole movie. People having fun, looking up to Hitler who looks stylish and makes promising speeches, all while making funny poses.

Pew Pew, I'm a cowboy


Sha na na, What's my name?


Hee hee, I can make up stuff all day, but let’s wrap this up.

Triumph of the Will is a damn good propaganda film. Not just for the fact that it does a good job at making an evil guy look boss, but it also has some cool shots that movies today can take a tip from. It credited Leni Riefenstahl as among the best female movie makers of the 20th century. Although, it was kinda hard to make movies after WWII when the world knows Hitler was your BFF, so her career was destroyed not long after his fall.

A historical artifact for propaganda films and films in general. Not a “popcorn-munching” flick, obviously, but for what it is, it gets the job well done.



And so we can get some traffic on this blog: look at this picture:

Post in the comments a funny caption to go along with it. I’m too lazy to think of any ideas.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 comment so far ↓

#1   Amy Herzog on 09.01.11 at 9:01 pm

Thanks so much for kicking things off with such a crowd-pleasing, easy going topic!! I’m really hoping people check out the clip you posted and weigh in– this is an incredibly troubling film for so many reasons, not least of which is its technical and artistic achievement.
It really goes beyond the heroic posturing– Riefenstahl is a master of cinematography and editing. Anyone want to talk about specific aspects of her framing, or the juxtapositions she creates– how do these contribute to our impression of the Third Reich? And what does it mean to call this a “good film”– can we separate art/craft from politics?

You must log in to post a comment.