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Triumph of the Spirit (1989)

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Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert M. Young

Writers:

Shimon Arama (story), Zion Haen (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Willem Dafoe ... Salamo
Edward James Olmos ... Gypsy
Robert Loggia ... Poppa
Wendy Gazelle Wendy Gazelle ... Allegra
Kelly Wolf Kelly Wolf ... Elena
Costas Mandylor ... Avram
Kario Salem ... Jacko
Edward Zentara ... Janush
Hartmut Becker ... Major Rauscher
Burkhard Heyl Burkhard Heyl ... Aid to Rauscher
Zofia Saretok ... Momma
Grazyna Krukówna ... Sister Julie
Karolina Twardowska Karolina Twardowska ... Bemmi
Juranda Krol Juranda Krol ... Sarah
Wiktor Mlynarczyk Wiktor Mlynarczyk ... Beppo
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Storyline

Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he fought for the amusement of his captors. His father and brother were also held as insurance that he would continue to fight. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prisoner | fight | prison | boxer | greek | See All (139) »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

23 December 1989 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

A pokol bajnoka See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,963, 10 December 1989

Gross USA:

$408,839

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$408,839
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shortly after the film's release, Jacques "Jacko" Razona, a Jewish boxer from Thessaloniki, sued the producers. Razona claimed that they had stolen his story, and that Arouch had grossly exaggerated his exploits. The case was later settled out of court. See more »

Goofs

During the movie, Arouch was rewarded for his boxing victories with a reassignment to the factory, which was considered easier work, was inside and provided more food for him. According to the real life Arouch, he was actually assigned to the camp's kitchen. He was able to take advantage of this work assignment by secretly procuring food from the kitchen for himself and his friend. See more »

Quotes

Gypsy: Listen, I'm only going to say this once. For those who can hear me tell the rest. First come the SS, our lord and masters. Then comes our block health manager, Kyr. Then come the assistants, Otto and me. Then come the rats. Then come the lice... and then come you.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Driven by performances, fueled by history.
27 November 2012 | by agniva_proSee all my reviews

Let us face it, holocaust surrounding second world war and the Nazi torture of Jews have become a thoroughly over-explored topic. Done to death, yes, but this movie came out in 1989! There was no Schindler's List, no Sorstalanság, no Boy in Striped Pyjama or Life is Beautiful... hell, even Europa Europa or the Last Butterfly released after this movie!

So, Triumph of the Spirit could easily have been a reference material for many a modern classic on holocaust. Even when seen as a standalone movie without the predecessors or successors, this is a good movie. The story is based on true incidents, hence it is quite interesting; historically - almost accurate and direction wise - at par with the best. Most of the characters had been explored richly and the cause- effect relationship behind every sub-plot is quite pronounced. The movie never borders on obscurity, yet ends it with a depth that is so often lacking in movies based on real life.

Performance wise Willem Dafoe and Robert Loggia stands out magnificently. Everyone else does their bit to perfection... no hiccups in acting. Sometimes, a bit of production value is missing that we are so used to these days. (Like in the air-raid scene towards the end, any typical Hollywood movie these days would have wonderful SFX showing allied aircrafts and what not... but here it was just the sound Foley and a bit of pyrotechnic... quite old school but very effective).

If you are a true movie buff and looking forward to relive the 80s style of movie production, go for it. You won't be disappointed.


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