Wow. I just watched the 1961 Oscar-winning classic Judgment at Nuremberg. I am not surprised that I never watched it before moving to Germany because it has largely become a forgotten masterpiece. But, if nothing else, my time living in Germany has given me an appreciation for the oft-distorted American-centric view of Europe, and this bizarre fascination brought me to TiVo this fine film.
After this three-hour docu-drama was left unwatched for months, it became endangered as the oldest item left on my TiVo. So, my husband and I finally sat down this weekend to dedicate the time needed to "watch it and free up some space on the TiVo". But, oh, it was so much more than that.
The movie centers around an obscure retired American judge who is summoned to Nuremberg war trials to head a tribunal investigating German judges who were complicit with the Nazis. But what it accomplishes is much more than a painful trip down WWII memory lane. Instead, it explains in a very consumer-friendly manner how to avoid the slippery slope logical fallcy--especially when it comes to forcing permanent and deadly acts on others. I would hate to spoil the ending, because it is a nail-biter, but let me assure you that at the end of three hours watching this magnificently written, acted, filmed, and directed masterpiece, you will have a better understanding of how a whole country could "stand by" and let Hitler's madness be enacted. Indeed, you may even find some abstract concepts that can be applied in modern times.