The Bunker (1981) is undoubtedly one of Anthony Hopkins most memorable movies, portraying Adolph Hitler, Der Fuhrer in his last days before the fall of Berlin and the end of WW11 in 1945.
This drama movie with Anthony Hopkins was made for TV, and based upon the true events surrounding Adolph Hitler’s demise as his enemies advanced and closed in on Berlin. Reference was taken from the bestselling book by James O’Connell, The Bunker and from Albert Speer, Hitler’s surviving armaments minister. Speer, who was in Spandau prison provided assistance to director George Schaefer by supplying photos and personal notes that he had made back in 1945. Interestingly The Bunker is historically quite accurate with one notable exception in that Albert Speer, played by Richard Jordan is made out to be far better than he actually was.
Most of the movie is set in the underground bunker, which Hitler had built as early as 1936 (only finished in 1943) located in Berlin beneath Hitler’s New Reich Chancellery. Here Hitler (Anthony Hopkins) ensconced himself, Eva Braun (Susan Blakely) and several of his right hand men and their families in January 1945.
Due to Speer’s contribution to the making of The Bunker, the movie captures the era authentically (except for the accents) and as is common to all Anthony Hopkins movies, it is the actor’s detailed preparation for the role of Adolph Hitler that results in a most convincing portrayal of Hitler. Hopkins almost became Hitler! The movie was filmed in Paris and Hopkins, whilst filming The Bunker even used to frequent a German restaurant and eat Wiener Schnitzel in a bid to get more in character. Hopkins studied original film footage of Hitler to get his mannerisms and body language exactly right. Hitler is depicted in the movie as a ranting broken man, gradually becoming madder with none of the charisma he had previously worked upon the crowds in his former glory days. He is also seen to be on medication, receiving injections from his doctor to control his mood swings and fanatical outbursts. Deservedly Hopkins won an Emmy for this outstanding performance.
The Bunker is not a typical action war film (very little violence is shown). It revolves around Hitler’s deluded character and the political treachery of Himmler and Goering, as well as the people in the bunker and their own preparations for suicide, as they are brought news of the enemy taking Berlin.
Definitely one of the best TV movies with Anthony Hopkins.
Another WWII film starring Anthony Hopkins you may like, read our review of A Bridge Too Far (1977)