Starring: Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Max Amann
Director: Leni Riefenstahl
Running Time: 114 mins
The Triumph Of The Will (Triumph des Willens) is a German film documenting the Nazi Party Congress at Nuremberg in 1934, where hundreds of thousands of Nazi supporters congregated as party leaders gave speeches at a time they call the rebirth of Germany as a great power.
First things first, if you want a deep analysis of the history of Adolf Hitler, the Nuremberg Rallies, and the Nazi Party, I’m really not the person to listen to. However, given the somewhat infamously legendary status of Leni Riefenstahl’s contemporary documentary, I’d like to give an insight into what it’s like to watch this film as a more casual viewer, rather than the sort of deeper historical research perspective that the best reviews come from.
The thing you’ll hear about watching The Triumph Of The Will is that, while it is a film that promotes and glorifies an evil regime that caused immense devastation to the world, it is a well-made and rather impressive cinematic piece that still deserves praise from an artistic perspective.
With regards to the content on display, the only viewers who will really find themselves engrossed by The Triumph Of The Will will be those looking to gain a deeper understanding of the origins of the Nazi Party in their early years in power, the specifics of the Nuremberg Rallies of 1934, and above all how the Nazi propaganda machine worked. In that, there is something that more casual viewers can learn from the film, but that doesn’t mean it’s the most enthralling watch, with lengthy periods lacking dialogue or specific focus away from the alleged greatness of Hitler’s grand vision for Germany at the time.
So, while the movie isn’t exactly a deeply engrossing watch, it does have some real positives too. Again, if you put aside the historical hindsight for the briefest moment, then you will see that Riefenstahl does a very impressive job at creating a sense of grandeur and immense scope at the rallies that were held.
It’s really interesting to see such an amount of footage from the scene of the infamous rallies, and with the combination of intense speeches from the party leaders with the stunning vistas of the gigantic crowds that attended, I was pretty bowled over by the enormity of the whole event, something that is clearly played up for the film’s propaganda purposes, and done so very impressively by Riefenstahl.
Much like Battleship Potemkin, The Triumph Of The Will is a film that will forever be linked to its contemporary historical context, however there are real positives and impressive features to be seen if you look at it from a plainly cinematic standpoint.
For casual viewers, this isn’t the most enthralling way to spend two hours, but if you have an interest in the time period, or a fascination for how propaganda works at its most powerful, then this film can provide a lot of intrigue, as well as some staggering perspectives of scope and grandeur surrounding what was then billed as the dawn of Germany as the world’s newest great power. It’s an impressive watch, albeit not entirely riveting for most viewers, and that’s why I’m giving The Triumph Of The Will a 7.0 overall.