Napola (2004) – One Beautiful Friendship Under the Doctrine of Nazism

Despite its awful dubbing and terrible subtitle, I still enjoy Napola up to the point that those two deficiencies are no longer bothering me.

German movies aren’t very common here…well in fact almost most movies from Europe aren’t as common as Hollywood’s here. I have never heard of Napola before and most likely would never hear of it if Caroline @ Beauty Is a sleeping Cat never mentioned in her All About War Movies blog. Her review really intrigued me.

I couldn’t find the original DVD (no surprise there!) and finally relied on torrentz. Unfortunately, the file is so bad that I have to postpone watching it for months after I had finished downloading it. It was dubbed in another European language, but I don’t know which country…the dubbing is not a proper dubbing, it was more like a commentary, his words are above the original voice. I was forced to hear 2 different languages spoken one above the other…and that was incredibly annoying. To make matter worse, the subtitle was equally awful. It won’t show up after ¾th of the movie, I have to open the notepad and read it while watching the movie…watching Napola is probably the worst movie viewing experience I have ever had in my entire life.


The movie itself is incredibly heartwarming and beautiful. I love everything about it. The emotion is transparently shown and has one of the most beautiful friendships in a movie. I like it so much that I overlook that dubbing and subtitle problem. I wish I can see a better version of Napola.

From Wikipedia, I found out what Napola is:

National Political Institutes of Education (German: Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten; officially abbreviated NPEA, commonly abbreviated Napola for Nationalpolitische Lehranstalt meaning National Political Institution of Teaching) were secondary boarding schools in Nazi Germany. They were founded as “community education sites” after the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933.

Napola’s storyline (from Imdb)

In 1942, Friedrich Weimer’s boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) – high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father’s objections, Friedrich enrolls, seeing this as his ticket out of factory life to university and a good salary. During his year in seventh column (fifth form), this innocence is altered as Friedrich encounters hazing, cruelty, death, and the Nazi code. His friendship with Albrecht, the ascetic son of the area’s governor, is central to this education; a night in the forest hunting for escaped Russian POWs brings things to a head.

I read mix comment for this movie in imdb but mostly saying about how inaccurate the historical view is or how it is more like to make us sympathize NAZI…I love this movie by ignoring all those facts. I always love movie about friendship and the strong and heartwarming friendship between Friedrich Weimer (Max Riemelt) and Albrecht Stein (Tom Schilling) win my heart.

Friedrich and Albrecht came from two different families, Friedrich got accepted in Napola for his skill in boxing. His parents refused his will to study there but he was so sure that his life would be better afterward if he studied there. Albrecht, on the other hand, came from a wealthy family whose father has high rank in military. Their personalities were also very different. Slowly, the softhearted Albrecht changed Friedrich to a more thinking boy. My favorite scene is when the two of them cried while hugging each other.

Friedrich and Albercht’s friendship is not the only thing I like, I also like their interaction with other students in their dorm. I can’t imagine how it feels to be in that very strict school…I bet I could go crazy if I was there.

Thank you Caroline for letting me knows about this movie. I also include this as my 8th movies and my 7th country in World Cinema Series hosted by Caroline.

Movie Detail

Title: Napola – Elite für den Führer
Director: Dennis Gansel
Staring: Max Riemelt, Tom Schilling, Devid Striesow
Released Year: 2004

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Caroline says:

    I’m so glad you liked it but what an awful watchun experience. I wonder why that was dubbed in another language but still had subtitles. If you had the original UK cover you’d see my blog mentioned on it. 🙂 I really liked this movie a lot and find it very anti-Nazi. One of v^my visitors said he found it too emotional. I agree, it is very emtional but not tacky or corny.. Those schools must have been such a nightmare. I think it is great and should be better known. Thanks for the link as well,I’ll add it to the page.

    1. Novroz says:

      I read about your review being on its DVD cover…that’s quite an achievement 😉

      I don’t know either, it’s not easy finding the site to download it and I am afraid it might have same result so I let it be like that without trying to find other site to download it again. Fortunately the movie is great and I can get over that two problems.

      I agree…it’s not corny at all!! It was well done. We can feel their friendship and the burden they have inside. About the school, in Imdb, someone who used to study there said that the school is nothing like that…I don’t know whether to believe him or not.

  2. Binky says:

    Sounds like an interesting movie, but I have never heard of it.

    1. Novroz says:

      It’s very interesting. I wouldn’t know the movie exist if Caroline didn’t review it.
      The English title for this movie is Before The Fall, maybe you’ve heard that one.

  3. TBM says:

    I should look into this one since it sounds like one I would enjoy. I’ve been so bad lately with watching movies. I haven’t made much progress on watching movies from around the world. I hope to correct that in the next year. I love foreign films, but I struggle finding time to fit in everything I love to do.

    1. Novroz says:

      It might be easier for you to find the movie there.
      I also love foreign movie but my problem is not finding time but finding the movie 😦

  4. Steph says:

    I’d never heard of this — it sounds like a very good movie. I’ll add it to my watchlist. I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience viewing this!

    1. Novroz says:

      The movie received mix review (just like most movies about Nazi)…but I think it is very heartwarming and I hope you will like it too, Steph

  5. ruth says:

    Bummer that you had such a horrible viewing experience Nov. I hate dubbing and terrible subtitles doesn’t help either. Glad you like the story though, I’d have to see if Netflix Instant has this one.

    1. Novroz says:

      I don’t even like good dubbing let alone bad dubbing *sigh* fortunately the movie was good. I sure hope you can find it at netflix and enjoy it as much as I do.

  6. Alice Audrey says:

    My hat is off to you for getting through the whole movie under those conditions. No matter how good it is, I don’t think I’d have made it.

    1. Novroz says:

      Thank you Audrey 🙂
      At first I have to admit that I almost turned it off but then I keep watching it and after 30 minutes, I couldn’t stop it because I wanted to know how the story will end.

  7. Alice Audrey says:

    That is the true mark of a great story – when nothing can get in it’s way.

    1. Novroz says:

      Hear hear!! And I do think Napola is one of the best friendship movies I have ever seen 🙂

  8. Dina says:

    We watched this film in my german class,… and it brought me to tears :,(( Apparently, I was the only one who felt so moved by it… My fave scene was also the one where Friedrich and Albrecht hugged eachother while crying and all the other boy were like: Gaaays. Idiots. Anyway, this film has been on my mind for the last 4 days… I totally fell in love with the actors and everything… 🙂

    1. Novroz says:

      Hi Dina,
      Thank you for sharing your feeling toward the movie. I wonder why the others didn’t feel moved by it…It’s a very strong story, in my opinion (and obviously you thought the same).

      The scene does a bit gayish, but we can see clearly that it was a strong friendship than sexual.

      I am so happy you like the movie as much as I do. It’s a brilliant movie

  9. frostycherry says:

    I just watch this film some weeks ago and totally fell in love with it. Albrecht is my favourite character, it was a pity that he commited suicide at the end though. I never watch the ending as I have guessed how it will ended up with bitterness for Friedrich. I still get crazy for this film even after weeks since the first time I watch it. Btw, I downloaded it in the internet and found a very good quality and downloaded the subtitle separately. It was in, let me know if you can download it or if you can use my help uploading the file for you 🙂

    1. Novroz says:

      Ah…be careful when writing a spoiler 😉

      Thank you for the link, I will try looking it up.

  10. aminocte says:

    Hello, I stumbled upon this blog (for the 2nd time) when I search download link for this movie. I interested in this movie a day ago because of Tom Schiiling and I am sure this movie is good after reading your review. Thanks a lot!

    1. Novroz says:

      You’re welcome 🙂
      Glad I can be a help

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