Hitlers Children (1943) Poster

Hitlers Children (1943)

  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 356 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Romance
  • Release Date: 6 January 1943 (USA)
  • Runtime: 82 min
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Hitlers Children (1943)


Hitlers Children 1943tt0034856.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Hitlers Children (1943)
  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 356 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Romance
  • Release Date: 6 January 1943 (USA)
  • Runtime: 82 min
  • Budget: $205,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $3,355,000(USA)
  • Director: Edward Dmytryk, and 1 more credit »
  • Stars: Tim Holt, Bonita Granville and Kent Smith|See full cast and crew
  • Original Music By: Roy Webb   
  • Soundtrack: Fur Elise
  • Sound Mix: Mono (RCA Sound System)
  • Plot Keyword: School | Nazi | German | Hitler Youth | Propaganda

Writing Credits By:

  • Emmet Lavery (screenplay)
  • Gregor Ziemer (book "Education for Death")

Known Trivia

  • Made for $205,000, the film grossed $3.355 million (topping original studio grosses for King Kong, Top Hat and Little Women).
  • Following the excellent box office returns both director Edward Dmytryk and writer Emmet Lavery were given $5,000 bonuses for their work.
  • The film was started by Irving Reis, who quit after clashing with the producer. He was replaced by Edward Dmytryk.
  • This film represents one of a small handful of American films which featured the word Hitler or Hitler’s, and both referencing Adolf Hitler, in their titles and were ones made around the time of the Second World War. These World War II movies include Hitler’s Children; Hitler’s Madman aka Hitler’s Hangman; Hitler–Dead or Alive; The Hitler Gang aka Hitler & co.; the documentary short, Hitler Lives; The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler; Hitler’s Women aka Women in Bondage; the comic short, The Devil with Hitler and Hitler – Beast of Berlin.
  • Even though this film does not take it’s title from the book that it is based on, this movie still shows a close-up of the “Education for Death” source novel and its dust-jacked (as was quite customary of Hollywood movies of the day) clearly showing the book title “Education For Death”, at the beginning of this film.
  • This movie is considered a Second World War wartime propaganda film of the United States.
  • This movie was studio RKO’s second-biggest box-office movie of the 1943 – 1944 financial year, just behind the Cary Grant starrer Mr. Lucky. Overall, some reports state that it is the biggest grossing movie of all time for the RKO Studios, grossing more than even Top Hat and King Kong.
  • For their work on this movie, scriptwriter Emmet Lavery and director Edward Dmytryk both received healthy cash bonuses as a reward for this film’s success.
  • Edward Dmytryk in his biography ‘It’s a Hell of a Life But Not a Bad Living’, states: “A friend of mine, Irving Reis, had prepared and actually started shooting a film called ‘Hitler’s Children’, an exploitation B. Irving was rather headstrong and somewhat touchy – a bad combination in Hollywood. After a few days, he got into a fight with producer Doc Golden Robert Golden]. Getting his back up, he quit the film, expecting, so he told me later, to win a quick apology and a free hand. Instead, the studio said, ‘As you wish,’ and asked me to take over the direction. He gave me his blessing, asking only that his name be completely removed from the film’s credits. The studio was willing and I went to work. I finished on schedule, cut and dubbed it, and turned it over to the distribution department. None of us at the studio was sure of what we had.”
  • According to Edward Dmytryk in his biography ‘It’s a Hell of a Life But Not a Bad Living’, “A title with the word ‘Hitler’ in it was considered box-office poison, and the exhibitors asked [Associate Producer] Doc Golden [See: Robert Golden] and RKO to change ours. Doc was stubborn – and he was right. The film cost a little over $100,000, and, running only in England and the Western Hemisphere…grossed, by some accounts, $7,500,00.”

Goofs: Anachronisms: In the 1930s Lieutenant Karl Bruner would have never called Großdeutsches Reich Nazi-Germany.

Plot: This lurid exposé of the Hitler Youth follows the woes of an American girl declared legally German by the Nazi government. Full summary » |  »

Story: This propaganda piece starts in 1933. Prof. Nichols' American school in Berlin is next door to a school for the Hitler Youth. Karl, from the latter, is attracted to German-American Anna, but events lead to their separation. Six years later, near the outbreak of war in Europe, Anna is removed from Nichols' school on presumption of German citizenship. Nichols becomes obsessed with finding her, as Anna undergoes a rather lurid odyssey through the Nazi nightmare.Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Edward A. Golden known as producer
  • Robert Golden known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Tim Holt known as Lieutenant Karl Bruner
  • Bonita Granville known as Anna Miller
  • Kent Smith known as Professor Nichols
  • Otto Kruger known as Colonel Henkel
  • H.B. Warner known as The Bishop
  • Lloyd Corrigan known as Franz Erhart
  • Erford Gage known as Dr. Schmidt
  • Hans Conried known as Dr. Graf
  • Gavin Muir known as Nazi Major
  • Nancy Gates known as Brenda
  • Carla Boehm known as Magda – Camp Girl (uncredited)
  • Egon Brecher known as Mr. Muller (uncredited)
  • Billy Brow known as Boy (uncredited)
  • Frances Brown known as (uncredited)
  • Bill Burrud known as Prof. Nichols' Student (uncredited)
  • Bruce Cameron known as Storm Trooper (uncredited)
  • Rita Corday known as Young Matron (uncredited)
  • Yvonne Crossley known as Bit (uncredited)
  • Harry Duff known as Boy (uncredited)
  • Douglas Evans known as Radio Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
  • William Forrest known as American Vice Consul (uncredited)
  • Louise Franklin known as Woman (uncredited)
  • Ariel Heath known as Young Matron (uncredited)
  • Mame Henderson known as Girl (uncredited)
  • Elsa Janssen known as Mrs. Muller (uncredited)
  • Cullen Johnson known as German Boy (uncredited)
  • Genevieve Kendall known as Girl (uncredited)
  • Orley Lindgren known as Boy (uncredited)
  • Ann Loos known as N.S.V. Worker (uncredited)
  • Max Lucke known as Plane Dispatcher (voice) (uncredited)
  • Richard Martin known as Gestapo Man (uncredited)
  • Harry McKim known as Boy (uncredited)
  • John Merton known as Gestapo Officer (uncredited)
  • Frank O'Connor known as Tribunal Judge (uncredited)
  • Joey Ray known as Man in Labor Camp (uncredited)
  • Betty Roadman known as Matron (uncredited)
  • John Arthur Stockton known as Gestapo Officer (uncredited)
  • Mary Stuart known as Bit (uncredited)
  • Peter van Eyck known as Arresting Sergeant (uncredited)
  • Edward Van Sloan known as Chief Tribunal Judge (uncredited)
  • Roland Varno known as Lieutenant S.A. (uncredited)
  • Bess Wade known as Mother (uncredited)
  • Crane Whitley known as Whipping Sergeant (uncredited)
  • Kathleen Wilson known as Chief Matron (uncredited)
  • Chris Wren known as Boy (uncredited)
  • Jimmy Zahner known as Prof. Nichols' Student (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • RKO Radio Pictures


  • RKO Radio Pictures (1943) (USA) (theatrical)
  • C&C Television Corporation (1955) (USA) (TV)
  • Nostalgia Merchant, The (1980) (USA) (VHS)
  • Media Home Entertainment (1987) (USA) (VHS) (For Nostalgia Merchant)
  • Pan Vision Oy (2005) (Finland) (DVD)
  • Éditions Montparnasse (2005) (France) (DVD)
  • Manga Films (2006) (Spain) (DVD)
  • Odeon Entertainment (2012) (UK) (DVD)
  • Yleisradio (YLE) (2004) (2005) (Finland) (TV)



Other Stuff

Release Date:

  • USA 6 January 1943
  • Australia 1 July 1943
  • Portugal 27 December 1945
  • Finland 26 February 2004 (TV premiere)



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on October 2, 2012 by Movies DVD New Releases Blu-ray in Movies | Tags: , , .


  1. Wayne Malin (wwaayynnee51@hotmail.com) from United States
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    A Nazi officer (Tim Holt) falls in love with a freedom-fighting Americangirl (Bonita Granville) in WWII Germany. Very dated (of course) but stillworth seeing. The film pulls no punches is showing how horrible life inGermany was during the war. I especially like them showing German citizensas being against Hitler and unhappy also. It is naive (concentration campsare mentioned once and very casually) but, at the time this was made, that’sall we knew about Germany. A big hit in its day–it’s easy to seewhy.

    Holt and Granville are good in the leads–especially Holt who has a powerfulspeech at the end. Also the film moves quickly and is never dull. A verygood look at Germany during WWII. Well worth catching.

  2. knutsenfam from StJohn, IN
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    I used to think this film quite dated, but still moving.

    Now that I know more about Hitler Youth and about "lebensborn", forcedsterilization, training in cruelty, and other Hitler Youth goals, thisfilm stands up extremely well.

    ***What was 'lebensborn'? Basically, those considered "racially pure"were encouraged to have tons of kids…in or out of wedlock. About10,000 born in Germany & 10,000 born in Norway from German soldierfathers, per one Internet source. Do your own internet search to learnmore about "lebensborn".

    In the movie, Bonita Granville's character refuses to deliberately sirea child out of wedlock even with her love, Tim Holt.

    ***Forced sterilization. Bonita's character is threatened with forcedsterilization since she is not cooperative. Again, this was ahistorical Nazi tactic. She would rather undergo the procedure thanbring a child into such a regime.

    ***Hitler Youth cruelty…One sees some of the Hitler youth trained to

    be cruel. One need only listen to the old former Hitler Youth speak(some with tears & great sorrow) about various ways they were so abused(i.e. trained to be cruel) by the Nazi regime.

    ***Harrassment of Christians…The resistance of some Christian leadersto the Nazis. Near the end of the movie, the priest rebukes the Naziswho apparently dare not carry him off for punishment. This happenedsometimes…A Christian leader might rebuke the Nazis such as BishopVon Galen who stood against the destruction of retarded, etc. SomeChristian leaders went to jail like Pastor Niemoller. Some Christianleaders were martyred for their stance against Nazis (including antiJewish policies) like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Here again, the movie isquite timely.

    From these main examples, I conclude that this movie is **not** merelypropaganda but reflects many historical accuracies (at least what wasknown at the time). Does it cover all the Nazi atrocities? No. (Onemovie alone wouldn't be long enough to do so.)


    Hitler's Children could be shown on a "Movie in Time" sequence onHistory Channel. The corrections, amendations to it based on actualhistory, I predict, would be slight. It's from a book on Nazi educationof youth written by educator and correspondent Gregor Ziemer who alsotaught in the American School in Berlin. (Hit Ziemer's name in thecredits for details!)

    Don't let the black & white film & slightly older dialogue deter youfrom using this film to teach yourself (or your kids, or your class) asto how German youth were abused thru Hitler Youth and lebensbornprograms.

    Do your own research. Verify for yourself. While Hitler's concentrationcamp murders were the most cruel of his abuses, his other abuses ofeven the so called "nordic" peoples, especially women and girls, shouldalso be REMEMBERED! (PS real life Hans and Sophie Scholl, college ageGerman resisters to the Nazis, would also be a great research topic!)

  3. MrsMurgatroyd from United States
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    I saw this as a young girl in 1943. It was in the middle of WW2 and theend of the war was not clear cut as it might seem now. People weregetting tired of rationing certain foods and gasoline and therestrictions of war time precautions on the East Coast.

    Looking back I see now that this type of propaganda was necessary inthe view of the Movie crowd. Many young men were being killed and takenprisoner in France and Germany and Italy. I think people needed to bereminded that the war was necessary because of the aggression forcedupon the United States people.

    I suppose not too many of us are alive now to remember those days so itis easy to put the movie down as exaggerated propaganda. And it was butI see it as one of those things that one would expect during a war.

    Truthfully I saw the movie as being very real at the time and I lovedBonita Granville and Tim Holt as the stars. I see it now as part of apattern of keeping the ordinary people stirred up against our enemies.So be it. How will todays movies be interpreted in 60 years?

    It's just interesting to have lived through 5 wars and be able to lookat things more objectively.

  4. noahax from Los Angeles
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    I stumbled across this film on cable and was immediately hooked. Createdasa propaganda film to show the horrors of living in Nazi Germany, it seemsquite naive in retrospect, as the full atrocities of the Holocaust werenotyet public knowledge. Subtle, it is not, but it is definitely interestingasa historical novelty.

  5. artroraback from Chatham, NY
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    I can see how this film would have created a stir when it was released in1942.World War II was being fought and the Germans dominated Europe. Thefilm is the story of two star crossed lovers: an American girl with Germanblood and an unfortunate young man who rises from the Hitler Youth andbecomes a colonel in the Gestapo. Kind of an unusual take on the boy meetsgirl story but a good film just the same. Recommended for history buffsandTim Holt fans.

  6. Bucs1960 from West Virginia
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    War time propaganda films must be viewed in the context of the times inwhich they were made. It is sometimes difficult to appreciate a filmbecause of the framework of propaganda. This film, made at the beginning ofthe war with Germany, attempts to depict what was happening in that countryand the threat it posed to the world. It may be somewhat simplified but itgets the point across.

    Bonita Granville, an appealing actress who began her career as a child star,does a fine job as the German/American young woman who is caught up in themaelstrom of Nazism. Tim Holt, as the German officer, seems miscastsomehow…..I still see him searching for the Treasure of Sierra Madre withHumphrey Bogart but maybe that’s just my problem. Kent Smith, a yeomanactor, whose face was everywhere during the 40’s, is his usual bland self. The coup of casting is Otto Kruger as Tim Holt’s mentor…..he was anunderrated actor, who always gave good performances…..see him in "MurderMy Sweet" as the sleazy Anthor to really appreciate his talents. HansConreid, usually thought of as a comic actor, plays against type here and itworks well enough. Since hindsight is 20/20, we notice that some of themajor atrocities of the Nazi regime, such as concentration camps (mentionedbriefly) and the "Jewish question" are not addressed. View this film forwhat it is….propaganda….an attempt to show the audience that otherworld, where terrible things were happening and why America was fighting topreserve freedom. It’s a piece of history that is worth watching.

  7. dlwymond from United States
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    I found this film to be one of the most captivating and well-kept moviesecrets of all time. If it is the first time you see it, you might besurprised that it was boldly made before WWII was over. The filmstretches some emotions like taffy, while it is not overly-graphic, andonly moderately intense. It instills in you with what seems to be afair overview of the Nazi regime, while entertaining you with a plot ofescape & a love story. To be expected, the conversation in it issurreal, typical of the film's era, but the only drawback for me isthat Bonita Granville (age 19 when the film was made), who plays AnnaMiller, passed in 1988 and actually stopped making major films after1950. I did not realize what a beautiful girl she was until Idiscovered her in this picture a few weeks ago. A film for allgenerations (I was born 20 years after WWII).

  8. planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    I love watching old American and British WWII propaganda films. Sure,they were often rather one-dimensional or at times ridiculous and somepeople tend to think that the word "propaganda" is a bad thing, but inthis case these films were positive in that they helped to unify thecountry and get us behind the war effort. Yes, it's true some of themhad horrible stereotypes and images of the enemy (particularly how theJapanese were portrayed as almost subhuman), but this was war and,unfortunately, some of the worst images these films showed were BETTERthan the real enemy! The film HITLER'S CHILDREN was a very well-madefilm from RKO that told a fictional story about some young people–inparticular, Bonita Granville and Tim Holt, who were caught up in thehysteria and evil of the Hitler youth and other organizations targetingchildren. At first, the story is told from the viewpoint of the finecharacter actor Kent Smith. Then, later in the film it switches toGranville, as she is forced into a German indoctrination camp and wantsdesperately to escape. Otto Kruger enters the story as a pretty dumbNazi officer who has high hopes for Granville and Holt in the party.However, his hopes are dashed when Granville escapes. What happensnext, I'll leave to you so I won't spoil the film. However, the weakestaspect of the film involves the ending with young Holt–this just neverwould have or could have happened–but it's very entertainingnevertheless.

    While this film is much truer in its depiction of the Germans than mostcontemporary films, the film actually in some ways makes the Nazis looka little dumber and less evil than they actually were. The excellentacting of H. B. Warner as the Bishop is great, except we found outafter the war that any clergy speaking out against the regime wouldhave been sent to a concentration camp or killed–the Bishop's commentsto the Nazi officers or his sermon denouncing the party never wouldhave gone unpunished.

    Still an effective and captivating film.

  9. LCShackley from United States
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    This film must have been rather shocking at the time, as it revealedmany Nazi practices which would have offended American morality:

    – They forced single women to have babies "for the Fuehrer"

    – They sterilized women who were undesirables, either because of theirrace or their ideas

    – They raided churches and preached the destruction of Christianity

    – They brainwashed young people and encouraged them to violence againsttheir enemies

    Of course, mixed in among the propaganda is a love story between aHitler Youth member and an attractive German/American girl attending anAmerican school in Germany (which is conveniently situated across fromthe humorously-named "Horst Wessel School"). Besides having solid leadplayers, this film also boasts a strong supporting cast including H. B.Warner, Hans Conried, and Erford Gage (who would soon be killed inaction during WW2).

    The quality of this film is higher than other similar propaganda moviesof the time, and has some touching (although predictable) scenes oflove and sacrifice. And the opening scene of a Hitler Youth rally mayserve as a warning against what happens when a politician with a cultof personality tries to control the minds of young people.

  10. Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
    02 Oct 2012, 2:00 pm

    While a not too subtle approach to the problem of Hitler’s menace in wartimeGermany, this is an interesting glimpse of what was happening to youngGermans before and during World War II.

    It was very popular at the time although it now seems dated and thepropaganda is a bit heavy handed. A nice B-movie cast is headed by BonitaGranville, Kent Smith and Tim Holt and the tense direction is by EdwardDmytrik. Bonita shows that her child star status was no fluke, evolving intoan adult role with smooth proficiency. Equally up to the task is Tim Holt asa German Nazi who has known her since their early school days and is stillsmitten with the strong-willed lass. As a kindly sort of father figure tothe two is Kent Smith, a teacher at the American school who tries to saveboth of them from the ultimate tragedy that claims them.

    Roy Webb’s background music makes the proceedings even more tense. One ofthe final scenes (where Granville is about to be whipped until Holtintervenes) seems a Hollywood touch that is more than a bit contrived–butevidently audiences in the ’40s had no reservations about the overallurgency and dramatic effectiveness of the film. Well worthwatching.

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