Judgment at Nuremberg

"The event the world will never forget"
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“Judgment at Nuremberg” is a dramatic film that focuses on the Nuremberg military tribunals used to prosecute Nazi high officials for crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust. Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy) is tasked with discovering how defendants such as Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) could have consciously conducted a genocide without remorse and why the German people allowed it to occur.

Haywood speaks extensively about the trial with U.S. Army Captain Byers (Williams Shatner) and witness Irene Hoffman (Judy Garland) who fears that she may unintentionally give testimony that is beneficial to the prosecution, which may lead to a mistrial.

Arguments begin during the trial and defense attorney Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) tries desperately to save his clients by using Oliver Wendell Holmes, Hitler’s pacts with the Vatican and Soviet Union, and Winston Churchill’s praise of Adolf Hitler as evidence to discredit the prosecution’s case that genocide could have happened on the massive scale it did. Ernst Janning, however, condemns himself and fellow defendants during his testimony by stating that their actions were just the result of following orders. All four are given life sentences for their actions involving the Holocaust.

The film often uses actual footage filmed by British and American troops from the concentration and death camps, in particularly the piles of bodies being bulldozed into mass graves. The scenes result in helping to turn the trial in favor of the prosecution that is being conducted largely under Colonel Tad Lawson (Richard Widmark).

The film finishes with a scene between Haywood and Janning, in which Janning commends Haywood for his righteous decision but tries to defend himself once more by stating that he did not know that what he was doing would reach such horrific proportions. Haywood does not accept Janning’s statement, instead concluding that Janning had known that he was doing wrong from the very first innocent person that was condemned.

| 1961 | 3 hr 6 min | 8.2/10 | 60/100
Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich
Roxlom Films
Stanley Kramer
Produced By
Stanley Kramer
Judgment at Nuremberg
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