Nazis as Movie Villains: The Evolution of a Cliche

Films use Nazis as bad guys for good reason: They were bad guys. But all too often, genocidal Germans act as cartoon crutches for storytellers looking to pit good against incontrovertible evil.

In films like the just-released Captain America, the outcome is blandness. In other cases, the presence of Nazis provides cover for gratuitous violence, or as shortcuts to creating a sense of persecution among the movie's protagonists.

Not all cinematic Hitler fans have been unambiguously depraved, but these ones were:

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn, Spencer Kornhaber, & Daniel D. Snyder

Eleanor Barkhorn and Spencer Kornhaber are associate editors at The Atlantic, where they edit the Entertainment channel. Daniel Synder writes and produces for the Entertainment channel.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Entertainment

Just In