American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally

5.61 h 48 min2021X-RayR
An American woman named Mildred Gillars broadcast Nazi propaganda during World War II. The story plunges the viewer into the dark underbelly of the Third Reich’s hate-filled propaganda machine, Sally’s eventual capture, and her subsequent trial for treason in Washington D.C. after the war.
Michael Polish
Al PacinoMeadow WilliamsThomas Kretschmann
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Randall EmmettGeorge FurlaVance OwenLuillo Ruiz
Vertical Entertainment
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentsmokingviolence
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3.8 out of 5 stars

964 global ratings

  1. 45% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 16% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 13% of reviews have 1 stars
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Jay Michael Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
This Movie is an American Traitor... And Awful History.
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The 2017 Ohio Wesleyan Youtube Lecture about Axis Sally was more exciting, informative, and entertaining than this lazy, dry multi-million dollar snore-bore production.

The movie's synopsis has already been outlined by other viewers except to say that many of the historical claims that this movie highlights about Mildred Gillars (Axis Sally) are not backed by historical evidence. These claims are a form of revisionist history, which has been an ever-growing genre since the turn of the 21st century. Rob Reiner has made several public claims over the past several years on CNN and MSNBC that American's get their history from the movies/Hollywood...

My question is why skew history? Why not learn from the facts and adjust accordingly? The dangers in promoting revisionist history are quite evident. One example comes from the case of the "bent historian" David Irving, the Holocaust denier, who sued Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt for libel because she publically called out his inaccurate historical interpretations, see the movie "Denial". Think about the detrimental impacts had Irving won the argument in court, what next?

The historical evidence shows that Millard Gillars chose to stay in Nazi Germany of her own free will. She also chose to participate in German radio broadcasts with her lover Max Otto Koischwitz. Additionally, Gillars, collaborating with Koischwitz, willingly posed as a representative of the International Red Cross (dressed in a formal nursing uniform) and interviewed American prisoners of war to generate new and fresh content for their radio broadcasts. Gillars was also one of Germany's most highly paid talents in Germany at that time and was considered a celebrity by the Nazi regime. Furthermore, the film does not address the antisemitic text found in many of her broadcasts. Finally, and this is speculation on my part, however, Gillar's claims that she was afraid of being harmed by the Nazi regime but attempts to assassinate Joeseph, highly doubtful, what if she had succeeded, what was to follow, peas and carrots from the Regime? I don't think so...

Koischwitz, passed away on 31 August 1944 from complications due to TB and heart failure, however, Gillars continued broadcasting. Her last radio broadcast was on 4 May 1945, two days before the Nazi surrender on 6 May 1945. Gillars assumed the false name of Barbara Mome and was living in the British sector of Berlin until her capture on 15 March 1946 and after a period of time, she was transported back to the United States to stand trial where she was charged with eight counts of treason, however, was only found guilty of one charge; the one connected with posing as a Red Cross nurse.

Gillars was sentenced to 10 to 30 years and a $10,000.00 fine. She was eligible for release in 1959, however, did not apply until 1961. Giullars had converted to Catholicism and completed her four-year degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. Gillars passed away on 25 June 1988 from colon cancer.

This movie in itself depicts latent anti-American propaganda, which I will argue was the intent. This movie had the potential to be a blockbuster, yet, here we are... It is amazing that once-great talents, like Al Pacino, are now being paid many millions of dollars for lazy and dry snore-bore productions. Hollywood needs an ideological reset and a bailout for/of new, inspiring talent. The proof is in the numbers, look at the statistics of the Golden Globe and Oscar ceremonies of the past decade, not good.

Just like the recent movie about Capone, I suggest people wait a few weeks for American Traitor to become a Prime selection because it is not worth the price of renting much less purchasing for a few years until Amazon reclaims it.
102 people found this helpful
polsonReviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
What a Stinker
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"American Traitor" stinks to high heaven. If I could award it "zero stars," I would.
On top of its shaky construction, the film mangles the key story of “American Traitor” – how a young woman from Maine became the radio voice of our enemy. Mildred Gillars’ ambitions drew her from New Yok to Paris and finally Berlin. An affair with a government broadcasting official led to her hiring by Information Minister Joseph Goebbels (Thomas Kretschmann). Boxed in by threats of execution, Gillars’ traitorous radio career is set in motion yet we get barely a nod to the emotional complexity of her motives.
Meadow Williams stars as Gillars but performs with the liveliness of roadkill on a dusty highway, Williams either doesn’t understand how to bring energy to her role – or has none to give – and sparks zero interest as either vixen or villain. The seed of a fine story is here but the star smothers any chance for it to germinate.
43 people found this helpful
LSReviewed in the United States on July 19, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
A waste of time and money
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I stopped watching half way through the movie. This is from a NY Times review of the movie. The review is accurate. "This is a plodding and ultimately infuriatingly noncommittal movie. Its special pleadings are all over the map. And to make them, the filmmakers distort truth; . . . If Mildred Gillars has a story worth telling in a feature film, this isn’t it."
35 people found this helpful
Linda Lee RathbunReviewed in the United States on August 8, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Terrible waste of time and money. A study in bad film making.
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This is the second film directed by Michael Polish that stunk! This and Force of Nature with Mel Gibson must rank as two of the worst films I've seen in recent times. Polish can't direct and he's assembled a cast of terrible actors that add insult to injury. Meadow Williams (who is listed as one of the producers) looked like a deer in the headlights for most of the film and at 55 years old, was completely miscast. It should have been a fascinating story but without good direction and acting, it was dead on arrival. Al Pacino's caricature performance added nothing but unintentional comic relief. I'd give it minus stars if possible!
24 people found this helpful
Thomas HalladaReviewed in the United States on June 1, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Story of Survival
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For anyone who understands what it is like to have your life path laid out for you and your choice is survive or die, this movie will ring true for you. So many people in the world have no idea what it is like to risk it all and fight for everything you have. The people who have had the easy road in life could go away confused and not entertained. For those of us who have had to make tough choices in which no option seems sufficient, this woman still speaks to us and still inspires!
18 people found this helpful
Average guyReviewed in the United States on September 17, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
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There’s pretty much nothing more boring that a film centered around a trial. Anatomy of a Murder was the last great film of this type. This film dull from the start. It’s like a Lifetime movie in terms of its script. When did Pacino become such a terrible actor? Reading the Wikipedia article about this traitor was more exciting (and probably more truthful). The sad truth is that she got off too easy. It’s not believable that she was forced against her will to make pro-Nazi broadcast from Germany. She moved there in 1934, when Hitler was already in power and she could have lived anywhere. Many didn’t have the luxury and perished because of people like her.
16 people found this helpful
Christian B.Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Tough Too Watch. Very Inaccurate. Don't Waste Your Time.
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Meadow Williams is painful to watch in this film.

I have noticed that, with many of these newer movies, the actors seem to think they are on Broadway. Their mannerisms are very reflective of the stage and not the screen.

The fault that I find with this film, other than Meadow Williams' atrocious acting, is the representation. Mildred Gillars was not an attractive, breathy speaker in the vein of Lauren Bacall. Instead Gillars could have been considered a sister to Eleanor Roosevelt. Also, she had a very plain speaking voice with a slight accent reminiscent of high-society. Gillars was in no-way a voluptuous woman. She could easily have gotten lost in a crowd.

Having listened to many of Axis Sally's broadcasts, it's very easy to make the comparison to this terrible portrayal.

This film is just another lack-luster production in a series of newly-released films that coincidently seem to have Al Pacino in many of them. My suggestion is to begin with actors who can get out of the Broadway mindset.

It's best to locate documentaries and broadcasts via OTR and listen to the real Sally.
12 people found this helpful
G-wizReviewed in the United States on September 16, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
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It's been awhile since I saw it but I did like the movie. It was pretty well done. It's fascinating that every war has had a seol City She, or Hanoi Hannah or Axis Sally though their roles were a little different. I couldn't believe the (censored so I don't spoil it). I often think what WWII would have been like without Goebbels or Himmler. People blame Hitler for everything. I recently saw a show on Kanji Ishiwara. 10 years before Germany invaded Poland, Kanji Ishiwara in Japan was ordered to go and create a Japanese presence in Manchuria. It goes out of control and doesn't stop until they took the entire eastern seaboard of China all the way to Mongolia. Ishiwara quit and was court marshalled, just because he didn't intend to go so far. Good on him but he and his closest subordinate were fans of Hitler's theory of "total war". And having succeeded brilliantly with the use of it, these guys gave Hitler the shot in the arm to think, "Hey, maybe there actually WAS something to all that crap I published about war". He went to Japan to visit them and shake hands and it probably made him feel like a genius. And thus, less than 10 years later he invades Poland. The rest of the story we've heard all our lives over and over. I've never heard about how these 2 or 3 Japanese guys started WWII 10 years before the invasion of Poland. Had they not succeeded, Hitler might have learned a very different lesson. It's a new "maybe" to ponder. I mention a this because it has nothing to do with this film. I didn't want to spoil any of it. It's worth watching.
9 people found this helpful
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