Sophie Scholl – The Final Days

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Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarc Rothemund
Written byFred Breinersdorfer
Produced by
CinematographyMartin Langer [de]
Edited byHans Funck
Music by
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 13 February 2005 (2005-02-13) (Berlinale)
  • 24 February 2005 (2005-02-24) (Germany)
Running time
117 minutes
Box officeUS$13.9 million[1]

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (German: Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage) is a 2005 German historical drama film directed by Marc Rothemund and written by Fred Breinersdorfer. It is about the last days in the life of Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old member of the anti-Nazi non-violent student resistance group the White Rose, part of the German Resistance movement. She was found guilty of high treason by the People's Court and executed the same day, 22 February 1943.

The film was presented at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2005 and won Silver Bear awards for Best Director and Best Actress (Julia Jentsch). It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


In wartime Munich, Sophie Scholl joins members of the White Rose student organization, including Sophie's brother Hans, who are preparing a leaflet. They have more copies than they can distribute by mail. Hans proposes distributing the extras at university; Sophie volunteers to assist. At Munich University while classes are in session, Hans and Sophie put stacks of leaflets near the lecture rooms. With only minutes left, Sophie runs to the top floor, where she pushes a stack of leaflets over the balustrade. A janitor who sees Sophie detains the pair until the Gestapo arrive.

They are taken to the Stadelheim Prison. Sophie is interrogated by Gestapo investigator Robert Mohr. She says that she and her brother had nothing to do with the leaflets; She noticed them in the hall and pushed a stack off the railing as a prank, and she had an empty suitcase because she was going to visit her parents in Ulm, planning to bring back clothes. She is dismissed, but as her release form is about to be approved, the order comes not to let her go, as the Gestapo has found incontrovertible evidence that Sophie and Hans were responsible for the distribution of anti-Nazi leaflets. She is placed in a cell with dissident Else Gebel, a Communist sympathizer.

Sophie then admits her part, contradicting her brother's claim he acted alone. Determined to protect the others, she steadfastly maintains that the distribution of thousands of leaflets throughout the region was the work of the siblings. Mohr, having learned that their father was an imprisoned dissident, urges her to support laws that preserve a society which has funded her welfare and education. Scholl counters that before 1933 the laws protected freedom of speech and denounces atrocities committed by the Nazis. Mohr dismisses some of her accusations, such as the extermination of the Jews, as wartime propaganda, and tacitly approves of others, such as the euthanasia program.

Sophie and Hans, as well as a friend with three young children, Christoph Probst, are charged with treason, troop demoralization and abetting the enemy. In their show trial, Probst is the first to be examined by President of the People's Court Roland Freisler, whose prosecutorial zeal makes the prosecutor and defense attorneys superfluous. Freisler contemptuously dismisses Probst's appeals to spare his life so that his children can have a father. Hans maintains his composure in the face of Freisler's impatient questioning. Declining to answer only what he is asked, he highlights German war crimes on the Eastern Front as immoral and proclaims that the defeat of the Nazi state by the Allies is all but certain. Sophie dismisses the suggestion that she was led by her brother, and declares that many people agree with her group but dare not express it. Freisler pronounces the defendants guilty and calls on each to make a final statement. Sophie warns that "where we stand today, you [Freisler] will stand soon." All three are sentenced to death.

Sophie, having been told of the normal 99-day delay between conviction and execution, learns that she is to be executed the same day. She breaks down briefly, but regains composure, writes a final statement and receives a blessing from the prison chaplain, who offers his support for her silence. After a visit by her parents, who also express approval of what she has done, Mohr arrives and sadly watches Sophie taken away. She is led into a cell with Christoph and Hans, and they share a final cigarette. Sophie is led into a courtyard and remarks "The sun is still shining". A pardon is refused by the Reich Ministry of Justice, and she is the first to be beheaded by guillotine, the blade falling as the picture goes black. Hans' and Christoph's executions follow. A caption lists dozens of adherents of the White Rose executed in the following months, while others suffered imprisonment.

In the final shot, thousands of leaflets fall from the sky over Munich. A title explains that copies of the White Rose manifesto were smuggled to the Allies, who printed millions of copies of the "Manifesto of the Students of Munich" to drop over Germany.



Critical response[edit]

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days has an approval rating of 87% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 95 reviews, and an average rating of 7.27/10. The website's critical consensus states: "A film that begs the audience to reflect upon their own courage and strength of character in light of this young heroine's daring story".[2] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[3]

Awards and recognition[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (2006)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)".
  3. ^ "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days".

External links[edit]