North Face
North Face (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhilipp Stölzl
Written byChristoph Silber
Rupert Henning
Johannes Naber
Philipp Stölzl
Produced byBoris Schönfelder
Danny Krausz
Benjamin Herrmann
StarringBenno Fürmann
Florian Lukas
Johanna Wokalek
Ulrich Tukur
CinematographyKolja Brandt
Edited bySven Budelmann
Music byChristian Kolonovits
Release dates
  • 9 October 2008 (2008-10-09) (Switzerland)
  • 23 October 2008 (2008-10-23) (Germany)
  • 24 October 2008 (2008-10-24) (Austria)
Running time
121 minutes
CountriesGermany, Austria, Switzerland

North Face (German: Nordwand) is a 2008 German historical fiction film directed by Philipp Stölzl and starring Benno Fürmann, Florian Lukas, Johanna Wokalek, and Ulrich Tukur. Based on the famous 1936 attempt to climb the Eiger north face, the film is about two German climbers involved in a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps.[1]


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In 1936, climbers attempt to summit the Eiger via the north face, the last major unclimbed Alpine face.

German climbers Toni Kurz (Fürmann) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Lukas) and novice journalist Louise (Wokalek) are childhood friends from Berchtesgaden, Bavaria. Toni and Louise are also romantically involved. The men enlisted in the army and are successful amateur climbers. After hearing of an attempt on the Eiger north face, they decide to compete to make the ascent. In spite of their false claims that one of them is getting married while the other is to be the best man, they are refused leave from the army. They quit the service, being more interested in mountaineering than politics. Meanwhile, the competing team of Austrians are hoping for a Nazi-led incorporation of Austria into Germany.

Louise's superiors at the newspaper see a media opportunity and send her and her editor, the latter as a photographer, to cover the pair's ascent. Having no funds, Kurz and Hinterstoisser travel to the Bernese Alps on bicycles and share a tent, while the reporter pair stay in the luxurious hotel at Kleine Scheidegg. Competing French and Italian climbers assess the conditions and decide to abort their attempt, leaving the German and Austrian teams. Once both pairs begin, others watch from below.

After a series of incidents, the teams are forced to join together to survive and descend to safety. A rescue team comes within metres of reaching the last climber, but a knot between two short ropes is unable to pass through his carabiner. Kurz dies within earshot of Louise. Distraught at losing her best friends and repelled by her editor's cynicism, Lousie resigns. Later, she finds work as a professional photographer in postwar New York.



Eiger North Face, Bernese Alps, Switzerland
Eiger North Face, Bernese Alps, Switzerland
Filming locations


Critical response

After a successful theatrical run in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, the film was released in several non-German speaking countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan from 2009-2010, receiving favorable reviews throughout.[4] Some critics have argued that this is a brilliant metaphor for Germanic anti-Semitism.

Awards and nominations

Historical elements of the plot


  1. ^ "North Face". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Full cast and crew for North Face". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Filming locations for North Face". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  4. ^ "North Face". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Awards for North Face". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  6. ^ Nordwand – North Face by All About War Movies (2012)