Our Flags Lead Us Forward (1933) Poster

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Unsere Fahne (our Flag)
GermanChic003 October 2002
I saw this film in a university class about German cinema. I must say that as a student with a dual major in history and German this is a very interesting film. I believe that, as propaganda, it is outdated... no one in the western world would look at this film and say, "I think I'm going to go to war now" as a historical document or an example of propaganda of the time... it is wonderful! I would love a copy of this film, though i know i cannot find it anywhere. I would tell anyone who has the opportunity to see this film to do it ... but bear in mind that it is propaganda...and as such is naturally exaggerated to prove a point... Historians of the world... enjoy!
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Absolutely great movie!
donkeynb23 September 2012
This is a terrific movie! It's very emotional, it contains good acting and shows another side to the Nazis than we're used to. This movie shows an innocent young boy who grew up in an abusive household who later manages to stand up to his demons and do what he dreams of and finally be happy without anyone dragging him down or forcing him to be something he's not.

Definitely one of the better movies I've ever seen in my life, and even for a propaganda movie this one is just star quality! No matter if you're a neo-nationalsocialist, a communist, a democrat a republican or anarchist this movie is great and you'll without a doubt enjoy it.
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Story about courage and self-sacrifice
fredk-426 June 2008
This is an excellent movie. Although its propagandistic intentions are obvious, it can be enjoyed. After all, its not about the NSDAP ideology, it's mostly about bravery and self-sacrifice. Replace Hitlerjugend with American Boy Scouts and most people would agree, what a good and moral film it is.

Rob from England pointed out, that from today's point of view, the Communists in the film with their "beer, food and sex" would seem far more better deal today. Probably so. But that only shows, how the world has declined since the cultural revolution of the late 60-s. Values like moral purity, patriotism and courage must be held high by all. They are the essence of survival for any nation, whatever ideology they may have.

I also think German government should have considerably more trust in their citizens and should lift the ban off of films like this, so they could become available on DVD, and not only in P2P networks, as it is today.
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Varlaam28 May 1999
I haven't had the opportunity to see this notorious film with English subtitles, and my German is less than fluent. Nevertheless, it's not difficult to see its effectiveness, hence danger, as propaganda.

I was expecting a lot of overt, outrageous political content. I'm told there is some in the dialogue, but I didn't catch it. Rather its strategy seems to be to avoid hectoring directly, and instead to project an idealized vision of a Germany guided by a paternal National Socialist party. Hence the message is conveyed through idyllic campground scenes, for example. This is the goal that young Quex is willing to defend.

One film "Quex" reminded me of somewhat was "Boys Town" (1938) with Mickey Rooney, but, if I really had to draw a comparison, surprisingly enough it would be to Frank Capra's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939). There is a scene of our enterprising Hitler Youths organizing themselves -- a little like Mickey and Judy putting on a show -- to turn out a propaganda newspaper in support of their political dreams and aspirations. Do you recall the scene in "Mr. Smith" where Jimmy Stewart's struggle -- Sein Kampf -- against a corrupt and antiquated political system is vindicated through a grassroots campaign organized by a bunch of boys with wagons and a cheap printing press? We know from the later "Why We Fight" series that Frank Capra was intimately familiar with his Nazi cinema. You are free to draw whatever conclusions you'd like.
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One of a few efficient Third Reich propaganda features
hanscarlsen7 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Shortly after the Nazi take-over Joseph Göbbels ordered the German film industry to produce propaganda films. Generally they were not very popular and during the war the film industry turned to historical films like Friedrich The Great, spectacular fairy-tales like The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen, and romantic melodramas. Anti-semitic films did not fill the cinemas and few war films were released. The truth is that with few exceptions, like Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia and The Triumph of the Will, German cinema lost most of its international reputation during Nazi rule - many directors and stars like Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder, Marlene Dietrich and Peter Lorre, also emigrated to the US. An extra-ordinary good film though is Hitlerjunge Quex. Based on a true story it gives an idea of the chaotic political situation in Germany in the beginning of the 30-s, with bloody street fights between Nazis and Communists. It is touching with the fate of the young activist and it follows the same formula as the best Soviet and British propaganda films from the same period, like October and The Angel Wore Red.
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Mystifying, but enlightening political history (and pants)
robainsley22 March 2003
I've just seen the film in a special showing at Tate Modern (London's modern-art gallery). The print was evidently made for educational purposes, in the 1950s one guesses, with explanatory intertitles written by a film academic in English. (These are actually quite amusing with their po-faced analysis, with some very silly diagrams, but do interrupt the action clumsily. However, the print has no English subtitles, so the crackly soundtrack with thick Berlin accents is tough to follow for non-German natives.) What struck this viewer was, briefly:

1. Utter bewilderment at its propaganda value; the Communists seem to modern eyes to have far the best deal, with beer, food and sex high on their agenda, yet the young Heini - and presumably the 12-year-olds in the audience - are won over totally by the promise of shiny shoes, cups of tea, boy scout uniforms, cold morning dips and strident community singing. Beats me. 2. No comedy or light relief in any way: no town drunk, sly spiv, amusing slapstick with planks, etc. Was 1930s Berlin really that humourless? 3. What a rabble the Nazi youth seemed - gawky and indisciplined, far from the ruthlessly efficient robots of our imagination. 4. The only two decent actors in the whole thing are the two Commie blokes. Heini's dad turns in a convincing performance as the drunken old bully who personifies the Red Menace. 5. Getting short trousers to fit evidently beyond scope of even the well-organised Hitlerjugend. Every pair two sizes too small. 6. Chilling role played by gas. As a film "it's pants", as modern 12-year-olds might say (possibly echoing point 5). But as a grim piece of political history it is indeed quiet fascinating - and mystifying, as well as enlightening.
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A Truly Lost Generation
bkoganbing6 December 2010
The short unhappy life of Herbert Norkus, a young member of the Hitler Youth who was killed by Communist street thugs is the basis of this film, entitled in English, Our Flags Lead Us Forward. The martial song you hear vocally and instrumentally throughout the film was the official song of the Hitler Youth and the words were written by Baldur Von Schirath the organizer of the group. Note in the opening credits the producers at UFA give thanks to the members of the Hitler Youth Berlin chapter who appeared as extras in the film.

The film is only the Herbert Norkus story indirectly. A novel that was required reading for the Hitler Youth was the basis for the film and said novel was written K.A. Schenzinger. I'm sure it was quite the potboiler. Of course that allowed the Nazis to take quite a bit of poetic license with the truth and they never passed up an opportunity to do that.

Jurgen Ohlssen plays Heinie Volker who is being apprenticed to the trade of printer and he comes from parents who are Communist in their political sympathies. In the year of 1932 with Germany in the midst of the Depression many competing groups and ideologies were battling to rule the Reich. The neighborhood that the Volkers live in is a working class area that the Communists are dominant.

Heinrich George is Heinie's father who is on relief and is idle, way too idle. He beats on his wife and rags his son to join the Young Communist League. But the kid is attracted to those clean cut, fresh scrubbed teens in their uniforms with their marching songs. They all look quite middle class and he wants to be one of them. If you remember in The Young Lions, Marlon Brando's character discusses how Hitler has promised to do away with the class system so prevalent in Europe. Young Ohlssen is exhibit number one for Brando's contention.

The film is interesting on a number of levels. Other than Henie's long suffering mother played by Berta Drews the only female role of any consequence is that Rotraut Richter who plays Gerda, a teenage temptress who works as a Communist agent, luring the Hitler Youth away from their duty. There is a conspicuous lack of the female gender in the Hitler Youth at least at these gatherings. When the Nazi state was established the Hitler Youth did have a woman's auxiliary of sorts where the girls were taught to be good breeders and mothers to make and raise plenty of good Aryan youth for the Fatherland. Nazi Germany was one of the most patriarchal societies ever created on Earth.

Other Nazi targets most prominently Jews get not a mention in Our Flags Lead Us Forward. The film strictly concerned with the Communist menace. All the Communists in contrast to the Hitler Youth are these plug ugly proletarian types who smoke cheap cigars and get stinking drunk when they're not infecting our workers with Bolshevist ideas. The father Heinrich George is such a man although later in a good scene, George is talking to Ohlssen about how all he wants is the best for his son and society has to change in order for that to happen. A more complex character than you would think would appear in a film that is strictly labeled propaganda. But then again it's what makes it more affective.

The bleakness of Depression Era Berlin plays like one of our noir films and the kids are shown as the hope for Germany's future. As it turned out these kids who were the extras in the film probably 90% of them died during World War II. A truly lost generation.

Our Flags Lead Us Forward is a slick piece of propaganda designed to recruit the impressionable young German minds who did not want to think of themselves as a beaten country from World War I. Viewed with a critical eye about its purposes, it holds up very well for examination today.
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of undeniable historic interest
karlericsson23 January 2008
In this film, communists are displayed as drunkards, only trying to win fascists over to there side through sex and not through arguments. Instead, the stupid non-arguments of the Nazis (their hair-raising twaddle about "Deutschland") are left without comment. However, today we see similar traits from the side of the lefties, who, as anti-fascists, physically attack the poor morons of today's Nazi-dome (all from working-class), instead of entering into debate with them. And, unfortunately, even today the connection to the booze is something that many lefties cannot swear themselves free from. In Sweden we called a lot of the lefties "red-wine-lefties" on account of this and these people, unlike real lefties, could never be trusted. The five stars are for the historic account of this film, which is not entirely without merit. The lefties have never seriously asked themselves why they failed against the Nazis before it was too late. One answer is for sure that the Nazis had much more money behind them (just see the beautiful uniforms, in a kid's eye, that all those young Nazis got, which, by the way, is most revealingly displayed in this film - another reason for giving it stars). Without the help of the establishment, among which there were probably even Jews, Hitler would hardly have risen to power. Still, however, the communists failed and seem to fail again at least among some of the working class today. Communist have not taken a decisive step against power (becoming anarchists) even today and are therefore not convincing enough against growing fascism. This film is worth seeing for at least touching upon why the lefties are failing amongst those, who should otherwise have everything to win if things changed and power amongst human beings was annihilated.
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Terribly Set Bound.
jkw-ns9 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
One of the three 'kampzeit' films released in Germany in 1933 (the other two were S.A. Mann Brand and the technically brilliant Hans Westmar), Hitlerjunge Quex is the worst.

There's not much location shooting here; apart from the scene where Heini (Quex, the eponymous character) encounters the Hitler Youth encampment after straying away from a late night Communist soiree (filmed on the Baltic coast). Much of the filming is studio shot..and it shows. The film is saved by the performances of Weimar film veteran Heinrich George and accomplished actor Hermann Speelmans (as a nasty Communist).

Sixteen year old Jurgen Ohlsen played the ill fated central character Heini 'Quex' Volker. It was his first of three screen appearances; Alle Machen Mit (a short information film) and the aviation film Wunder Des Fliegens were to follow before he disappeared back into comparative obscurity. Ohlsen is quite well cast here though; blonde, good looking and innocent he's archetypal 'martyr' material and he ends up dying after being knifed by Communists at a local fairground.

Historically valuable but cinematically mundane for a Nazi propaganda film, it's totally eclipsed by the film Hans Westmar which was based on another 'martyr for the cause', Horst Wessel
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One of the defining Nazi propaganda films
Horst_In_Translation20 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Hitlerjunge Quex" or "Hitler Youth Quex" or "Our Flags Lead Us Forward" is a German 90-minute film from 1933. It is in black-and-white and it was from the early years of sound movies in Germany. If you see the year 1933 and know a bit about history, you will immediately realize that this is the year when Nazis came into power in Germany, almost 85 years ago. And they started with a bang in terms of propaganda movies. This one here is probably the second-most known non-documentary film (behind Jud Süß) from that dark era in world history. It is the story of a teenage boy who comes from a left-wing background, but quickly discovers that the Nazis are the good guys and the socialists/communists his father belongs to as well are the bad guys. They are depicted as people planning terrorist attacks and they are the ones who are indirectly responsible for the boy's mother's death and finally directly for the boy's death as well. The only intention director Steinhoff and writer Schenzinger had in this case was to show the population that left-wing politics lead to devastation in the end, but also that the Nazis' will to oppose these is very strong and that the boy did not die for nothing, but for the good cause. There is of course a priceless irony to this film with what happened in the 12 years afterward and I am not only talking about the concentration camps, but also to Hitler sending teenagers to war when all his adult soldiers had died. And in terms of irony, the future fate of lead actor Jürgen Ohlsen puts a major question mark behind this movie and the way the Nazis dealt with him when rumors about his alleged homosexuality surfaces. All in all, this film is really only worth watching for all the absurdity, but from the political perspective and in terms of understanding the events back then, this is almost a must-see, just for the wrong reasons. I recommend the watch.
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Quex was an excellent film that reflected the stormy period of Depression Germany through the world of teenagers.
jchgtsguy30 June 2017
Quex was by far an excellent film with a lot of history off camera as well. I enjoyed the film , good subtle propaganda. Right it could have been about Scouting if a USA or Disney film. I want to start by clarifying that for years I researched the Ohlsen biography through many document centers. I found out the stories about Ohlsen and a gay romance with Vom Schirach were originated in BBC broadcasts that went into Germany and as a rule spread nasty ( for the time) stories about German celebrities to demoralize the enemy. Saying the " quexing" slang for gay sex was also BBC. I found out WHO wrote the broadcasts. He died in Berlin in 1969 of alcoholism. I try and try to get Wikipedia to print my findings but they keep erasing it and keeping the sex nonsense. Von Schirach s transfer to Vienna was a reward for a service. The BBC put icing on the cake saying it was a sex scandal. Ohlsen never clarified anything. I don't know his sexual preference and in out times it s no big deal- who cares? But the Von Schirach and Ohlsen take was very effective propaganda. It s still all over the internet today. Sadly Ohlsen s not here to speak. He was anti- Nazi. Another fact: Ohlsen was of Danish ancestry( bears a resemblance to teenage Jamie Lee Curtis who IS half Scandinavian) And Herbett Norkus the real martyr in real life was Lithuanian background. And right now might be buried in a public park unknown to hikers and picnickers. I did my homework. Lol. Quex IS a good film at face value.
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A very good Nazi exploitation feature
cynthiahost25 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Yes That's what it is now ,these days. Big corporate distributes and corporate broadcasters don't want to touch controversy. Germany still fearful of Hitler rising from the grave , has this,as well others banned from public viewing. These classic are now exploitation ,as a result.But the low budget of the film and the shooting style is the what exploitation films would be made later.Hienrichs Georges performance as the alcoholic commie father is excellent. Wanting his son Heini, played by Jurgen Ohlsen,to go to commie camp with the other good little commie kids. The commie pusher ,played by Herman Speelman,trying to push his son into this madness of political correctness. His Mother, played by Berta Drews, just concerned about her husband being unemployed and on relief, messing up their budget when he wants to go out and drink. He agrees to go to commie camp with the other hooligans. He almost ends up growing up before his time ,as every young camper drinks ,smoke cigars and eat bread, french bread and loosing their virginity.He rejects this stuff and runs into the woods only finding Hitlers boy scouts and their perfections. Well organized. Wearing brown and red color costumes. No drinking or smoking. Just swimming cooking and doing and marching around singing about Hitler.Yes that's the life he wants.His job at a printer is so boring.Herman starts to look for him calling him in the woods,Munchausen would be ashamed of Christian pushing innocent little boys into becoming Commies.He hitches a ride back home. He tell his mother about. She gets upset by it. He starts singing about Hitler, His father , Hienrich, hears it and gets mad with him and starts back slapping him until he starts to sing about Stalin. He later signs a piece of paper, by Speelman , to put his son in the Commie party. But he doesn't want this. The commies planning to make trouble with the brownies, at their club. Heini is an innocent by stander and Herman in forms him what they are going to do. The commie hoodlums then try to beat up the Nazi hoodlums until the ,"Polizie,"starts to come up. They get Heine, after they chased the hoodlums except a few of them. The Brownies try to tell the Polizie that they were being Harassed, They are let go. Heine is viewed as an innocent by stander so the Polizie lets him go too.The brownies fuss at him for the cause of the problem. He tries to explain things.Then later he learns that the commies are going to try it again. So He calls up one of the brownies to inform them.He carries it off when he scares the commies from doing anything through informing against them.When he tells his mother how he informed for the Nazis. This upsets his mother so she tries to kill him. He survives it and Mutter dies.The brownies come up to meet him at the hospital,with his father. They surprise him with a uniforms.Later ,as his mother is now dead. PaPa Vater has sold most of the furniture so he can have more beer money, visits his son and the Nazi scout master talks it over with him that Germany would be better off under Hitler.Now Hienie goes to Nazi boarding school, learning the trade. One day as he bought beer for the Nazi scout master ,at Schultz's beer garden as Usual,he get threats from Herman if he don't quit the Nazis. Eventually The red riding hoods chases after the new brownie and stabs him to death. This plot looks like it's based on Hitlers life. It looks similar. It's hilarious and campy, like the fictitious play in the producers. I doubt if T.c.m. will ever show this, since they are politically correct and don't want to pay the 375 dollar public performance fee. Available at Reich Kino and I.h.f. and War films dot come 09/24/11
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