Adolf Hitler is the brain behind many of the World War II atrocities. It makes him one of the most hated personalities in history. However, several filmmakers attempted to dissect the mind responsible for atrocious acts. The top 14 best Hitler movies show a disturbing, humorous, or controversial take on the infamous man.
1. The Great Dictator (1940)
English, Esperanto, Latin 2h 5m IMDb
Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
It may seem unthinkable to tell the story of Hitler using humor. However, the iconic Charlie Chaplin was able to pull it off. He masterfully played two roles, the dictator Adenoid Hynkjel and a Jewish barber. As the film’s director and actor, he exposed World War II using satire and comedy.
It managed to blend Chaplin’s brand of slapstick with witty irony. Audiences forgot the character’s horrible situation and reveled in the bizarre plot. Chaplin captivated his audience from the beginning with how he set up the story.
2. Jojo Rabbit (2019)
English, German 1h 48m IMDb
Director: Taika Waititi
Stars: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson
This movie adaptation of the novel “Caging Skies” tells the story of Jojo. He is a 10year old member of the Hitler Youth Organization. He conjures Adolf Hitler in his imagination and converses with him. Conflict ensues when he finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic.
It’s a dangerous pursuit, especially for someone who works for the dictator. Fresh from his Marvel movie success, Taika Waititi brought to life the harsh realities of World War II. He used comedy to flesh out the characters’ quirks and nuances. Scarlet Johansson was a revelation in this.
3. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
English, German, French, Italian 2h 33 m IMDb
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth
In this film, Brad Pitt plays an allied officer tasked to assemble a group of Jewish soldiers. They’re set to seek retribution against the Nazis by committing violent acts, including scalping their enemies. The team joined forces with an undercover agent and a German actress to bring down the Nazi army.
Arguably one of Quentin Tarantino’s greatest masterpieces, this film has a believable plot, violent scenes, and brilliant script. The star-studded cast went beyond their typical Hollywood roles and gave awe-inspiring performances. The diction and pronunciation of those who played German soldiers were on point.
4. Downfall (2004)
German, Russian, French, English 2h 36m IMDb
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes
This movie revolves around the ten days before Hitler and his wife killed themselves. It explored his desperation after finding out he was losing the war. Bruno Ganz did a fantastic job playing the infamous leader. He was so good that one of the intense scenes was immortalized as a viral meme.
Even the young actors who played members of the Hitler Youth gave believable performances. Another great angle of the movie was its exploration of Adolf and Eva Braun’s love story. It was an unusual tale that is a mystery until now. It was an overall crazy story that you won’t regret watching.
5. The Bunker (1981)
English, Russian 2h 30m IMDb
Director: George Schaefer
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Richard Jordan, Cliff Gorma
The movie explores Adolf Hitler’s life during his stay in a Berlin bunker. It shows his deep mental struggles during the last few days when Germany was already losing the war. Together with his girlfriend and closest advisers, they faced the irony of hiding underneath the turmoil aboveground.
This film is probably one of Sir Anthony Hopkin’s most incredible performances. Even the actor who played Hitler’s confidante offered superb acting. What makes this movie unique is its mundane depiction of the war. Unlike many WWII movies, it did not dwell on violent battle scenes.
6. Countdown to War (1989)
English 1h 18m IMDb
Director: Patrick Lau
Stars: Ian McKellen, Michael Aldridge, Tony Britton
This movie tells the chilling story of the negotiations between France, the UK, Poland, the USSR, and Nazi Germany. It explores the timeline of World War II. It started from the fall of Czechoslovakia to the day Britain declared war on Hitler’s territory.
The quest for the allies’ and enemies’ next move was the challenge brought to life in this film. It navigates the battle of wits that happened among the world leaders. Meanwhile, Sir Ian McKellen gave an interesting perspective on Hitler. His subtlety offered another facet of the dictator’s actions, providing a refreshing approach.
7. Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973)
English 1h 48m IMDb
Director: Ennio De Concini
Stars: Alec Guinness, Simon Ward, Adolfo Cel
This movie is similar to “The Bunker” and “Downfall.” It explores Hitler’s last ten days living in a Berlin bunker. Amidst the chaos happening on the streets of Germany, he and his entourage celebrated his 56th birthday. It showed his illusions of winning the war despite evidence that it was a lost cause.
Star Wars fans might find the actor playing Hitler familiar. He is Alec Guinness, the actor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movies. According to him, playing Hitler was one of his best performances. Most of the audience agrees with this statement.
8. Max (2002)
English 1h 46m IMDb
Director: Menno Meyjes
Stars: John Cusack, Noah Taylor, Leelee Sobieski
There have been several films made about Hitler. However, Max tackled the story of a young Adolf. In this movie, John Cusack is Max Rothman, a Jewish art dealer who befriended a young Hitler, played by Noah Taylor. The controversy originated from the film’s depiction of Hitler.
The movie shows him as pathetic, vile, and unbearable, but not evil, as everyone knows. It encourages the audience to wonder about his motivations and his environment. It may be a fictional story but triggers another view behind his sinister actions.
It may be historical inaccuracies, but the superb actors’ performances made up for them.
9. Valkyrie (2008)
English, German 2h 1m IMDb
Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten
This historical thriller is about the 1944 coup and an assassination plot against Adolf Hitler. Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg; an army officer tasked to lead the uprising. He formed operation Valkyrie in an attempt to topple the German regime.
However, unfortunate events and human error led to a tragic outcomes. The movie is so gripping that audiences won’t feel the two hours pass. It perfectly balances the drama and suspense. The script was able to tell the story without being overly dramatic. It’s a refreshing take on the familiar World War theme.
10. Look Who’s Back ( 2015)
German 1h 56m IMDb
Director: David Wnendt
Stars: Oliver Masucci, Thomas M. Köppl, Marc-Marvin Israel
The satirical black comedy shows what happens when Adolf Hitler suddenly wakes up in his bunker in the 21st century. He has no recollection of occurrences after 1945. An odd result of his presence in modern times is his being a successful comedian.
The synopsis of the film may seem simple. However, it goes beyond what was mentioned. It depicts a chilling chill of the human condition. It explores the fight against good and evil. Fortunately, the film did not glorify Hilter.
On the contrary, it gave a neutral unraveling of who he is. It also showed the terrifying similarities between the war era and the present.
11. Hitler: A Career (1977)
German 2h 30m IMDb
Director: Joachim Fest, Christian Herrendoerfer
Stars: Gert Westphal, Stephen Murray, Artur Axmann
This brilliant dissection of the Third Reich charted a dictator's rise and fall. It presented Hitler's rise in leadership, his psychological manipulations, and his exploitation of others' weaknesses. It also utilized high-quality videos from the 1940s. Then the creators compiled them into a compelling documentary. While it may be three hours long, it is an exceptionally informative watch. There are several clips of Hitler giving speeches, making it a chilling sight. History buffs and world war movie enthusiasts will find this film captivating. It helps people understand the extent of World War II and how it affects the present times.
12. The Meaning of Hitler (2020)
English, German 1h 32m IMDb
Director: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker
Stars: Matilda Tucker, Martin Amis, Adolf Hitler
This provocative film used a 1978 book as a guide in narrating the story. It dove into human's fascination with the Nazi culture and Hilter's leadership. Its investigation leads to the discovery of the emergence of history's weaponization, antisemitism, and white supremacy.
The movie encourages the audience to explore and compare the 1940s regime and the present political landscape. Meanwhile, several parts show Hitler's personal and political background. The journey brings the viewers to his hometown. It strived to provide reasons for his behavior and how it has affected people worldwide until now.
13. The Plot to Kill Hitler (1990)
English, German 1h 34m IMDb
Director: Lawrence Schiller
Stars: Brad Davis, Madolyn Smith Osborne, Ian Richardson
This film reveals the assassination plans of German Army Colonel von Stauffenberg. He plotted to kill Adolf Hitler during a military conference using a briefcase bomb. Meanwhile, several high-ranking officers attempted to take over Berlin through a coup.
The production value and performances were excellent despite its lack of famous actors. Everyone gave convincing portrayals, especially Mike Gwilym, who played the dictator. There might be some historical inaccuracies, but the high-definition quality made up for these flaws.
The film was shot in Yugoslavia, providing an authentic feel to the whole movie. The tribute to the brave Colonel gave solace to many Germans.
14. Moloch (1999)
1h 48m IMDb
Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Stars: Elena Rufanova, Eva Mattes, Leonid Mozgovoy
This award-winning masterpiece reveals the story of Adolf Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun. It shows their unassuming time vacationing in the Bavarian Alps. This unusual take on the dictator's life veers from the usual World War tropes. It's both funny and dramatic, making it an enriching watch.
The title Moloch connotes an evil deity. However, the movie showed ridiculous antics, banality, and odd ordinariness. It's a film that will make you stop and think about the man behind the chaos. The bizarre, humorous, and moving elements perfectly combine to create a unique cinematic project.
Many people showed interest in World War II and the personalities involved. The fascination spans generations. The top 14 best Hitler movies in this article show the rise and fall of a dictator.
They dive into his last few days and the probable reasons for his evil ways. These films are a good way of consuming history and creating awareness about the worst atrocities of our time.