The Damned (La caduta degli dei) (1969) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Damned (La caduta degli dei)1969

The Damned (La caduta degli dei) (1969)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Damned (La caduta degli dei) Photos

Movie Info

The rise of Nazism as reflected within a decadent German industrialist family.


Dirk Bogarde
as Frederick Bruckmann
Ingrid Thulin
as Sophie Von Essenbeck
Helmut Griem
as Aschenbach
Helmut Berger
as Martin Von Essenbeck
Renaud Verley
as Gunther Von Essenbeck
Umberto Orsini
as Herbert Thallman
Reinhard Kolldehoff
as Konstantin Von Essenbeck
Albrecht Schoenhals
as Joachim Von Essenbeck
Charlotte Rampling
as Elisabeth Thallman
Nora Ricci
as Governess
Karin Mittendorf
as Thilde Thallman
View All

Critic Reviews for The Damned (La caduta degli dei)

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (2)

A magnificent failure, an example of a great director working at the peak of his ability and somehow creating almost nothing at all. Surely no one else could have made this film; surely no one at all should have.

July 2, 2018 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

A spectacle of such greedy passion, such uncompromising sensation, and such obscene shock that it makes you realize how small and safe and ordinary most movies are.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5

It may be florid, operatic, pompous, recklessly indulgent, and in the strictest sense unnecessary, but at least it's there on its own terms, a movie with a director at the wheel, rocketing head-on into the oncoming traffic and damning the odds.

February 8, 2019 | Full Review…

A fascinating film, complexly conceived and composed in chiaroscuro color, melodramatic space, extravagant held-on poses.

October 3, 2018 | Full Review…

Even if somewhat remarkable in scope as a Nazi decadence pic, it's all so ponderous and repulsive."

April 16, 2013 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Imperfect and excessive -- and also essential.

October 22, 2008 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Damned (La caduta degli dei)

The first half is fascinating, showing the depravity of the rising Nazism reflected on the decay of the Essenbeck family. After that, however, it feels like Visconti doesn't want to conclude his story, and so he goes on indefinitely in an endless soap opera of backstabbing and murder plots.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

In 1930s Germany, the aristocratic Von Essenbeck clan struggles amidst the Nazi regime to retain control over an industrial empire, while the family members react with varying degrees of compliance. This lengthy, ponderous drama lacks the slam-bam action that one might expect from a Nazi-themed film -- in fact, there is really only one violent scene. Nor is hatred toward Jews a strong motif. No, this tale is more about corruption and betrayal within the ruling Germans themselves, both between the Von Essenbecks and the Nazis and between the rival SS and SA factions of the national army. Along the way, the script's treats include occasional pedophilia, incest, suicide, transvestitism, homosexuality and a mild orgy (hence the film's initial X rating), as well as one of cinema's most unromantic wedding scenes ever. However, be prepared to weather plenty of dour, sluggish dialogue. The filmmaking is masterful beyond a somewhat florid score which seems unsubtle at times, but there is one important problem: The cast includes three or four male actors with similar feminine, blue-eyed, high-cheekboned features, and it requires extra work to avoid being confused by these characters' interwoven plots. Watch closely. Note to xenophobics: You might be surprised to learn "The Damned" is almost entirely in English.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


Based on a family's foray into unadulterated corruption during the third Reich. Initially, the relationships of the various characters were difficult to follow, but their manipulations and depravity slowly and memorably reveal their personalities. Debauchery and decadence are intrinsic within the Nazi regime. Helmut Berger's performance is amazing as he transforms from a dandy to a completely evil and ruthless man. The ending is incredible.

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

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