La caduta degli dei

The Damned | Die Verdammten
On the night of the 1933 Reichstag fire, steel magnate Joachim von Essenbeck is shot to death in his villa. Herbert Thalmann, a liberal who has married into the family, is framed by relatives in cahoots with the Nazis. He manages to flee abroad, but his wife Elisabeth remains behind, forced to stand by as the real perpetrators advance their careers within the family company. Friedrich Bruckmann, with the help of an SS officer, manages to do away with Essenbeck’s son and heir; but Bruckmann, in turn, is deposed to make way for Essenbeck’s paedophile grandon. Elisabeth, meanwhile, has landed in a concentration camp … A Nibelungenlied set in the Ruhrpott. In Visconti’s dark family saga, an opulent celebration of the moral bankruptcy of a German industrialist dynasty, Charlotte Rampling plays Elisabeth Thalmann, the only ray of light. Beautiful, elegant, fragile, and vulnerable, she becomes the victim of a gang of villians. La caduta degli dei is grand guignol. But for Charlotte Rampling, playing the adversary of Dirk Bogarde, as opportunist Bruckmann, was above all a prelude – to her role in Il portiere di notte (The Night Porter), which would become a defining moment in her career.
by Luchino Visconti
with Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem, Helmut Berger, Charlotte Rampling, Florinda Bolkan, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Umberto Orsini, Albrecht Schoenhals
Italy / Federal Republic of Germany 1969 English 156’ Colour Rating R12


  • Dirk Bogarde
  • Ingrid Thulin
  • Helmut Griem
  • Helmut Berger
  • Charlotte Rampling
  • Florinda Bolkan
  • Reinhard Kolldehoff
  • Umberto Orsini
  • Albrecht Schoenhals


Director Luchino Visconti
Screenplay Nicola Badalucco, Enrico Medioli, Luchino Visconti
Cinematography Armando Nannuzzi, Pasqualino De Santis
Editing Ruggero Mastroianni
Music Maurice Jarre
Sound Vittorio Trentino
Production Design Pasquale Romano
Art Director Enzo Del Prato
Costumes Vera Marzot, Piero Tosi
Producers Alfredo Levy, Ever Haggiag

Luchino Visconti

Born in Milan in 1906. In 1942, he completed his debut film Ossessione. Visconti then directed films that contributed to the birth of Italian neorealism. From the 1960s onwards, his film work primarily focused on the world of the upper middle class and the nobility. His films include literary adaptations such as Il Gattopardo and the so-called 'German Trilogy' (La caduta degli dei, Morte a Venezia, Ludwig). Visconti also directed numerous plays and operas. He died in 1976.


1945 Giorni di gloria (Tage des Ruhms); 70 min., Retrospective 1990 1948 La Terra Trema (Die Erde bebt); 165 min., Forum 1972, Retrospective 1997 1951 Bellissima; 151 min., Retrospective 2006 1954 Senso (Sehnsucht); 117 min., Retrospective 1988 1957 Le notti bianche (White Nights / Weiße Nächte); 102 min., Retrospective 2006 1960 Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers / Rocco und seine Brüder); 177 min. 1963 Il Gattopardo (The Leopard / Der Leopard); 184 min. 1965 Vaghe stelle dell' Orsa... (Sandra); 100 min., Retrospective 2005 1969 La caduta degli dei (The Damned / Die Verdammten); 156 min., Homage 2019 1971 Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice / Tod in Venedig); 130 min. 1973 Ludwig (Ludwig II.); 238 min. 1974 Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (Conversation Piece / Gewalt und Leidenschaft); 117 min. 1976 L’Innocente (The Innocent / Die Unschuld); 129 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020