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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Hitler movie leads German cinemas
The Downfall
Bruno Ganz plays Hitler, with Juliane Koehler as his wife Eva Braun
A movie which depicts Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's softer side has topped the German box office.

The Downfall attracted 480,000 viewers in its opening weekend, distributor Constantin Film said on Monday.

The film shows Hitler's humanity as well as his diabolical nature, as it depicts the final 12 days of his life.

Two neo-Nazis, aged 29 and 27, were arrested at an east Berlin screening after they showed the outlawed Nazi salute and applauded during the film.

Eyewitness accounts

The Downfall is told from the point of view of Traudl Junge, who was one of Hitler's secretaries in his Berlin bunker.

It is also based upon eyewitness accounts from a book of the same name by German historian Joachim Fest.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has hailed The Downfall as a way for young people to be reminded of the horror of Hitler. Critics were divided, however.

The film will be shown throughout continental Europe and Japan, and producers aim to distribute it in North America and the UK.

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