Review: The Wonder of Bern (2003)

The Wonder of Bern (2003)

Directed by: Sönke Wortmann | 118 minutes | drama, comedy, sports | Actors: Louis Klamroth, Peter Lohmeyer, Johanna Gastdorf, Sascha Göpel, Mirko Lang, Birthe Wolter, Katharina Wackernagel, Lukas Gregorowicz, Péter Franke, Knut Hartwig, Holger Dexne, Simon Verhoeven, Jo Stock

In 1954, West Germany won the World Cup in Bern by beating the Hungarian national team 3-2 in the final. Amazement and disbelief everywhere, because earlier in the group match Hungary, led by Ference Puskas, had swept Die Mannschaft 8-3 from the field. This unexpected victory, which took place half a century ago, is known as ‘the miracle of Bern’. This victory has caused a revival of the German population after the dark years after the Second World War. It more or less relieved them of their war trauma and gave them more self-confidence. The effect of this event is still noticeable in today’s Germany. Helmut Rahn’s winning goal is shown on German television at least three times a year. The victory has become a myth and the players legends.

Director and ex-football player Wortmann wants to bring the nostalgia of the old football back to life and he does this by incorporating a number of details in the film. For example, the football players sing songs in the bus on their way to the stadium, Polygoon newsreels describe the course of the matches that Die Mannschaft has to play and the recalcitrant players secretly drink a beer in the hotel bar after bedtime. The message of the film comes to light when the German coach shouts to his team at halftime: One for all, all for one!” Togetherness and combativeness prove to be important ingredients for a victory and must therefore be brought back into German football today.

An interesting fact in this film is the contrast between modesty and euphoria. The Lubanski family becomes estranged from each other and lives in fear over the return of the father, but is discharged when the West German team wins a match. By combining this miraculous event with the emotional story of the Lubanskis, a film has been created that is also fascinating and moving for the non-football fan. It seems that even Chancellor Gerhard Schröder shed a tear when seeing this film. In short: ‘Das Wunder von Bern’ is well worth seeing and lets you share for once in your life the happiness of German victory.

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