Judgement at Nuremberg (1961) or A Truly Outstanding Legal Drama

Judgment at Nuremberg is a brilliant movie by Stanley Kramer. Outstanding actors, great pictures and a gripping story. Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland and Maximilian Schell. They are all good, very good.

The movie´s setting is post-WWII occupied Germany.  It tells the story of the trial of 4 German Nazi judges in an American court. They are accused of being responsible for sterilization and exterminations.

Spencer Tracy stars as Judge Dan Haywood who is conducting the trial, Marlene Dietrich plays Mrs. Bertholt, the widow of an executed Nazi army officer. Burt Lancaster is one of the accused judges, Maximilian Schell his defendant. One of the most convincing performances is given by Montgomery Clift who plays the role of one of the judges´ victims. His  interrogation is so touchingly performed, makes you feel really uneasy.

The film follows Judge Haywood in the court room and outside where he tries to get the full picture by befriending Mrs. Bertholt and talking to his housekeepers, Mr. and Mrs. Halbestadt to find out what the German people  really knew. It seems as if each one´s personal history and concerns overshadowed the things that happened around them. And even though they lived so close to Dachau, Halbestadts pretend to have been ignorant of the camps.

During the trial the testimonies of the witnesses, supported by original footage of the concentration camps and the interrogation of the accused, completes the picture of the past horrors.

Judge Haywood must now establish if, in believing to serve their country, the accused did right or wrong. Do exceptional circumstances permit different moral criteria? Does the conviction to do the right thing exempt  from punishment?

If you want  Judge Haywood´s  answer to these questions and if you like to see  truly outstanding movies and great acting, watch this one  as soon as you can.