The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oliver Hirschbiegel's The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich hasn't even opened yet, but the picture is already one of the most controversial German films of all time. Budgeted at $16 million, "Downfall" also is one of the most expensive German-language films of all time and a major financial risk for production company Constantin Film.

Starring Swiss-born actor Bruno Ganz ("Wings of Desire") as the Nazi dictator in his Berlin bunker during the final days of World War II, "Downfall" breaks one of the last taboos of German cinema by portraying Hitler in a central role. More controversial is the decision, by Hirschbiegel and producer-screenwriter Bernd Eichinger, to depict Hitler not just as a screaming demagogue but also as a soft-spoken man who charms his secretary and lovingly plays with Blondie, his pet Alsatian.

Brian B.