1970s Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1974)

Published on February 4th, 2013 | by Chris


Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall (1974)

Movie directed by:
Norman Cohen

Reviewed by:
On February 4, 2013
Last modified:February 4, 2013


Funny, but not funny enough. Serious, but not serious enough. Ultimately a let down.

Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1974)

The first in comedian Spike Milligan's acclaimed autobiographical works on his war experiences, "My Part in His Downfall" follows Terence "Spike" Milligan from his induction into the British Army, to his shipping-off.  Having not read any of these, and only having heard the name.... I guess its difficult to get an appreciation at first.

I'm not really sure what I was expecting.  Being that "Spike" is a comedian, I guess I was expecting a bit of humor, and I got it.  Sort of that "MASH" meets "The Monkees" in a "mod" late sixties early seventies style.  It was amusing, not knee-slapping or snort-inducing or anything.  Merely amusing.

Let me just come right out and say it.  I didn't much like the movie.  It felt, to me, like a strange sort of reminiscing.  Like the old man incoherently mumbling away a story that you've heard one too many times.  You could almost feel the pauses, the long distant and remembering stares, the sighs, the "oh yes, where was I? Right!" aspect of it....  Hard to put into words really.

What comedy there was, was then muted by quite serious moments like when his squad mate follows instructions and is blown to bits by a crashed German airplane....  Reflective of the "good times quickly turn bad" aspect that so often crops up in war memoirs, but it was uncomfortable.  Or when Milligan's initial comedic response to the bayonet charge drill turns quite disturbing....

The ending, for me, was also a let down.  The big "send off" party, with the usual hijinks, then a sad farewell as they all board the train, knowing full well that not all of them would ever return.....  While I'm sure reflective of the reality of the situation, it ended the movie on a real downer.  It also was a "hey, what do you mean that's it?" moment.  I was fully expecting them to get shipped off, but then to at least follow up with life on the front....

Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall (1974)

Check out that suit and tie! Not very 1940 if you ask me.

I don't know.  On the one hand these downer moments really offset any comedy and left me with a quite neutral feeling about the whole thing.  Still, those few downer moments were quite well done.  Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

In the end "Adolf Hitler, My Part in His Downfall"  Might require another viewing to fully appreciate it.  I haven't decided if I'm going to attempt it or not.  That will of course depend on if Netflix sees fit to put it back into the streaming queue (the only reason I watched this when I did was it was scheduled to be dropped!)  I'll have to give it a 3/5, still....  I can't bear to pan it, but I can't say I liked it all that well, either.

And I'm not sure if Milligan's memoirs were further put on film.  Apparently there are no decent clips or trailers out there on YouTube, either.  If you know of one, please leave a link in the comments!

Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall
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A fun-loving trumpet player experiences both high jinks and grim realities of war when he trains as a member of a British artillery unit during World War II.When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)
Manufacturer: MGM
Original Release Date:
  • Jim Dale
  • Arthur Lowe
  • Bill Maynard
  • Geoffrey Hughes
  • Windsor Davies


  • Factory sealed DVD


Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic tale of Brits training to fight "the Bosch" and survive trying!!!!, December 9, 2013
Kenneth A. Avin Jr. (Rebel in SC!!!!!) - See all my reviews
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Classic British film from the war stories of British funny man, Spike Milligan. Wonderful story of England in the early days of WW2. Some parts funny, some downright sad, but a great document of "how it was" I think. Look for Arthur Lowe (Dad's Army, Bless Me, Father) and Geoffrey Hughes ("Onslow" from Keeping Up Appearances) in very good roles. One I'll definitely share with my new garndson when he's old enough to watch films with grandpa.
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3.0 out of 5 stars to have known him is to miss him, April 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
sadly mr. dale is no milligan--i read milligan's book and i found the film translation lacking--sadly on this side of the pond not as many as should--do not appreciate mr. milligan's work--a sad note indeed--for twas he and the rest of the goons who set english comedy afire after the war--yes, those blue collar noncoms fresh from the war to end all wars 2--get all those oxcam boys a rollin' as far as the new comedy was concerned--A GREAT LEGACY INDEED!--because it was a milligan work i bought it--sadly though i miss him--
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1.0 out of 5 stars for DVD players only not computers or recorders., September 10, 2017
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
be advised while this product is multi zone, it only works on standalone DVD players.
PC's and DVD recorders won't be able to play this item.
the disc won't even read in a computer.
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Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall (1974) Chris

Summary: Funny, but not funny enough. Serious, but not serious enough. Ultimately a let down.


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

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