Judgement at Nuremberg is the name of a 1961 movie detailing the trial of four German judges during the Nuremberg Trials of 1947.  The four are accused of being a member of criminal organizations and commiting war crimes--in other words, aiding the Nazi Party during World War II.

The film garnered two Academy Awards in 1962: Maximilian Schell won for Best Actor, and Abby Mann for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.  It was nominated for nine more, including Best Picture and Best Director.

It was later made into a Broadway play, which opened in March of 2001.

Both versions are captivating inquiries into just who should be held responsible for the Nazis and their atrocities.  As the prosecutor says at one point, according to the Germans "There were no Nazis at all in Germany!  Germany must've been invaded by Eskimos, who took over the whole damn government without anyone knowing about it!"--sarcastically implying that almost everyone must've known what was going on at the time.

All the German civilians the judge talks to during the course of the movie claim that they didn't know what was going on during the war...and if they did, "what could we do?"

The defense attorney argues that if you find the judges guilty, then you must also find all the American industrialists who financially backed Hitler and helped him rebuild Germany guilty, along with everyone else who had the slightest thing to do helping the Nazis come to power. He admits that Adolf Hitler and the top men were all evil and should be punished, but that there has to be a limit on how many Germans can be accused, lest all of Germany itself be put on trial.

It also poses the question: At what point does the rationale "I was only following orders" go from making you an obedient soldier into a criminal?

Highly recommended.

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