Denial

 (1,055)
6.71 h 50 min2016X-RayPG-13
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) battles for historical truth when renowned Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall) sues her for libel. Also starring Tom Wilkinson.
Directors
Mick Jackson
Starring
Rachel WeiszTom WilkinsonTimothy Spall
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Andrew ScottJack LowdenCaren PistoriusAlex Jennings
Producers
Gary FosterRuss Krasnoff
Studio
Bleecker Street
Rating
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

1055 global ratings

  1. 73% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

DPAmerica53Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Eyewitness Acccout Of My Father
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A fantastic courtroom drama. You were on the edge of your seat not knowing what the verdict could possibly be, even though I had 2nd hand knowledge of the truth. My father was in WWII and landed at DDay and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. At the end of the War his unit or company liberated one of the Jewish Camps and he saw with his own eyes the skeletal condition of the surviving victims. He went in a storage unit and told me with a tear in his eye that he saw bodies stacked 15 high and twenty deep frozen skeletons. He said the SS officers had dug pits and thrown Jewish prisoners into the pits with the Nazi Dobermans and Rottweilers where they were eaten alive. This is his first hand eyewitness account. I can add nothing to it, except to say my father was an honorable and truthful man.
69 people found this helpful
Pierre EliotReviewed in the United States on April 18, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A rare gem as far as courtroom dramas go
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As an American trial lawyer, this film aroused many emotions in me that courtroom dramas rarely if ever do. On one level, the plot is about the moral bankruptcy of Holocaust deniers. But on another level, it's also about the relationship between society and the court systems they rely upon to achieve justice. Sometimes this relationship is tenuous, and lacks a sense of trust. But most lawyers know too well that, imperfect as it may be, there are no alternatives to entrusting the search for truth to this ancient process and its ancient rules.

This tension surfaced frequently between Professor Lipstadt and the truly skilled lawyers who represented her. The actors portrayed that tension beautifully. Compounding the professor's understandable fear that the legal process was inadequate in general, was her American bias against the sometimes bizarre (to Americans) way that British law operates. As her character commented in the movie, it's incredibly difficult to allow another person to be the voice of one's own conscience. Yet this is ultimately the burden that lawyers must carry.

Professor Lipstadt had a serious deck stacked against her, on that point. Not only was she sued by an intellectually bankrupt but shrewd liar, but she had to trust a foreign nation's system that (a) allowed her to be sued in the first place, and (b) forced her to carry the burden of proof even though she was the defendant. These realities of British law drove her crazy, as they would many Americans--much less American professors of Jewish origin who are scholarly experts on the Holocaust.

Time and time again, the lawyers had to all but fight to persuade her that their expertise in the methods of cross-examination, their mastery of the facts even though *she* was the scholar, and the orderly process of courtroom procedure must be respected--to the exclusion of her desire to take the stand herself and articulate to the world what her expertise had taught her. Trials are not won by grand speeches to the world, though. They're won by discrediting witnesses to the "trier of fact" alone, who in this case was a single judge sitting in the courtroom. The lawyers knew this but the client did not. To win, then, the lawyers needed to not just win in court but also prevail in persuading their client to trust them. That is not always an easy task.

I don't know if the courtroom scenes mirrored the actual transcript of the real Irving trial. But for the most part, they were realistic enough depictions of Anglo-American legal customs, allowing for some dramatic license. The movie did not bog itself down with technical and procedural details, so I had to suspend my knowledge of them. Non-lawyers would be bored by them, and they're really not the essence of the story being told anyway. One powerful courtroom "process" moment was when the judge merely asked a probing question of the professor's lawyer, with connotations that were sympathetic to Irving's Holocaust-denial perspective. This caused the professor to nearly lose her marbles--and yet questions of such a nature are a routine part of the legal process. One can not always know whether a question and its "connotations" reflect the judge's actual opinion, or whether the judge is merely testing his proposition to make sure that it holds water. Which one turned out to be the outcome is something the movie does a good job creating some suspense on.
195 people found this helpful
Morgana1986Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Genocide Is Not a Two Sided Issue
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I first want to say that I watch this movie, and I thought it was a great movie. I loved the acting, especially Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall. This movie proves once and for all that genocide isn’t a two sided issue, it’s not an opinion and the only other side to this genocide if any at all, is hatred, saying it never happened, and saying “they got what they deserved”. It’s a slap in the face to all the people that died, all the people that tried to save them and died, the survivors and to all of humanity. Genocide denial is brutalizing the world, it’s dangerous, and it’s cruel.

What really drew me to this movie was the fact that I too have faced Holocaust deniers, but not the Holocaust that happened in Europe, but the one that happened in the Ottoman Empire. Specifically the Armenian Genocide, the one that Turkey denies happened, the one that Turkey bribes and threatens other countries into keeping quiet about, the one that the USA plays the word game with each time the anniversary comes around.

Imagine what would have happened if Nazi Germany wasn’t held accountable for its crimes against humanity, today Germany would be doing the same thing Turkey does, bribing and threatening other countries into keeping quiet about the Holocaust. I am now proud to announce that Germany has recognized the Armenian Genocide, yes causing a rift between them and Turkey, but it’s so worth it. I hope that the US, UK, Australia, the entire Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world follow suit. Genocide denial should not be tolerated, especially by a government who puts people into jail for talking about the genocide in Turkey.

Getting back to the issue at hand, I have felt like Deborah, I have been threatened, insulted and called Armenian scum all because I spoke the truth about the Armenian Genocide. Here’s the kicker, I’m not an Armenian, I’m just a sensitive soul who happened to stumble upon the history of the Armenian Genocide, and decided to help out in any small way that I could to bring awareness to this genocide.

Anyone who deals with genocide denial of any kind, whether it’s the Holocaust or Armenian Genocide denial, don’t give up! Don’t let those stupid, cruel and ignorant denialists threaten, insult and degrade you for speaking the truth. Staying silent will not help any of the victims. Yes you will encounter such cruel beings, many of them are brainwashed, others are racists, most of them are a mixture of both. Genocide is a crime against humanity, nobody should stay silent about it. It doesn’t matter if happened fifty years ago, one hundred years ago, or even two hundred years ago, it doesn’t change the fact that a genocide occurred.

Last but not least, genocide denial is more of an idea, not a factual thing. This is the twenty first century, ideas do not need to be respected, especially if they are cruel, people need to be respected more than ideas. The Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide both happened, I have no respect for anyone who denies either one. I also don’t know how any of these British people allowed him to take this suit to court. I mean come on, the Holocaust is a fact, there is so much evidence to back it up that it’s not deniable.
42 people found this helpful
KiwiwriterReviewed in the United States on August 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A fascinating movie about a horrific subject and a battle for truth.
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In 2000, the British Holocaust denier and Hitler apologist David Irving sued American history professor Deborah Lipstadt for libel, claiming that her statements in her book "Denying the Holocaust" that Irving was a denier were libelous. He sued in a British court, where the burden of proof is on the defense. Deborah Lipstadt, being a tough woman from Queens, did not roll over and play dead. She fought back. Hard.

Her defense team of the law firm of solicitor Mishcon de Reya and barrister Richard Rampton did the heavy lifting, with a simple defense: Lipstadt had told the truth. Irving was a Holocaust denier, and saying so was not libel. Irving's strategy was to put the Holocaust on trial, which was likely his real goal, to get a British court to say the Holocaust never happened, and thus legitimize Nazism and rehabilitate Adolf Hitler.

In the trial, Rampton, using the solicitors' deep research, tore Irving to shreds on the witness stand, exposing him as a neo-Nazi, a sloppy and incompetent historian, a racist, and a liar. Irving lost.

That's the story this movie tells, with the superb cast of Rachel Weisz, Timothy Spall, and Tom Wilkinson. The sub-text of the movie comes from its title: "Denial." Lipstadt did not testify in the case. Nor would her defense team allow Holocaust survivors to testify, knowing that their heartfelt emotional testimony would be torn up by Irving's contemptuous attitude and his focusing on tiny details. Irving had to be defeated by his own words and more skilled historians. Most importantly, Irving wanted to play the "Darrow vs. Bryan" scene in confronting Lipstadt, to make her break down emotionally on the stand. This the lawyers could not have.

So the movie is not just about Holocaust denial and how to fight it, it is about a determined woman, who has to deny her own instincts and desires...she has to let other people fight her battle for her. She has to break it to Holocaust survivors that they cannot testify. She cannot even talk to the press. She has to hold it in and rely on others, and deny herself, until the verdict.

The result is an unbelievably powerful performance from an incredible script (and shooting) that conveys the horror of the Holocaust, the evil, bigotry, and lunacy of Holocaust denial, and the tight drama of a courtroom, condensing a multi-year case into about two hours.

"Denial" is a great movie that brings the Holocaust into the 21st century and sharply defines the necessity of fighting it -- more important than ever in a world where bigotry has taken over and survivors are dying off, taking their stories with them -- and at the same time speaks to the courage needed to stand up for the right, curiously, by saying nothing at all.

Just one of the best movies I've ever seen.
13 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Powerful legal drama that goes into nuts & bolts of case to defend against a Holocaust denier
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Rachel Weisz is Deborah Lipstadt a Professor at Emory University who specializes in the Holocaust. At a speech David Irving a Holocaust denier confronts her and later files a lawsuit against her for libel. The movie focuses upon this true court case.

There are some very powerful moments in the film. For instance they go to Auschwitz to find out how to prove that it was an extermination camp. They walk through the remains of one of the gas chambers and discuss the details about how people were killed there.

Wiesz’s character is demanding but also a bit out of her element. As an American she has no understanding of the British legal system and constantly questions what’s going on. She also doesn’t agree with her legal teams strategy and always argues with them. The biggest dispute is that her lawyers want the case to be about Irving while Lipstadt wants it to be about the Holocaust and she doesn’t see why. Again, it leads to all kinds of disputes which keep the plot interesting.

It all makes for a very engaging legal drama.
C
3 people found this helpful
classicalsteveReviewed in the United States on March 31, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Those Who Control History Control the Future: Holocaust Denial Put on Trial in Fascinating Film
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"Denial" centers on a Hitler "scholar", David Irving, a British author who has consistently denied the Holocaust, and his lawsuit against American historian Deborah Lipstadt. To be fair, Irving was among several scholars who refuted the authenticity of the so-called "Hitler Diaries" which were revealed by the German periodical "Stern" in the early 1980's. While Irving has brought to light many interesting facts about the Nazis and Adolph Hitler, he has repeatedly stated in his books he doesn't believe the Holocaust occurred on the widespread scale which is generally accepted by mainstream historians. Lipstadt published a book "Denying the Holocaust" in which she refers to how Irving and other deniers misrepresent history and facts to perpetuate their erroneous conclusions about the Holocaust.

The trouble is, Irving wants it both ways. He wants to deny the Holocaust and yet be recognized by other scholars and historians. In short, he wants the keys to the academic washroom. He brought the lawsuit against Lipstadt because, in some sense, her books which referred to his denial of the Holocaust as bogus history was denying him the keys to the washroom. Lipstadt is a bona fide and recognized scholar, and her criticisms of Irving deny him entry into the exclusive club. The film is about Irving's attempt to debunk the criticisms of a fellow scholar and in some sense legitimize a debate about whether or not the Nazis systematically gassed Jews and other minorities labeled as "degenerate" by the German government in the late 1930's and 1940's.

Timothy Spall in an Academy-Award caliber performance plays David Irving, author and Holocaust denier who sues Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz). Tom Wilkinson is convincing as Lipstadt's British libel lawyer. The film begins at a lecture concerning the Holocaust offered by Lipstadt and Irving interrupts the proceedings, claiming he has filed a lawsuit against the speaker. Instead of settling out of court, Lipstadt resolves to defend herself. She hires a law firm whose cracker jack defense attorney is Richard Rampton. To prepare, they not only visit one of the Auschwitz camp sites but painstakingly go through Irving's books to see if he uses propaganda and deception to further his assertions that the Holocaust as portrayed by history is a fallacy.

An horrific episode in the annals of human history involved Germany whose government was controlled by right-wing radicals, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, better as the Nazi Party, and their supreme leader, Adolph Hitler. The Nazis with Hitler at the helm instigated what is known as the "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem", a systematic extermination of Jews and those of Jewish heritage, defined as an individual as having one grandparent or closer being Jewish. Millions of Jews and other ethnicities such as Gypsies, Poles and other Eastern Europeans were forced into concentration camps where many gassed or suffered other heinous indignations. At the same time, Germany was fighting the Western Allies in the Second World War. When the war ended, many of the camps were liberated, such as those collectively called Auschwitz, and the inmates told horrific stories of unimaginable torture and execution.

Over the many decades since the end of the Second World War, there have been a small but vocal group of so-called "historians" who have tried to tell and sell a different picture of the war. They claim the interment and execution of Jews and other ethnicities by the Nazis, called "The Holocaust", did not actually happen. They agree that inmates were interred in camps, but their captivity was intended for expulsion, not for extermination. They refer to the accepted fact of the Holocaust as a large propaganda hoax perpetrated by Jews.

History is not always a pretty picture. But if we deny history, especially the horrific episodes, we deny who we are today and who we can become. While the real Lipstadt did not agree with Germany's government desiring to put Irving in jail for 3 years for denying the Holocaust, it is extremely important that we understand real history to the best of our abilities. We can help prevent a holocaust from occurring in the future only if we acknowledge the reasons for holocausts of the past, which entail knowing and understanding how and why they happened. It is interesting that the Jewish Holocaust and Holocaust Denial seem to have common enemies: Jews. Just about all Holocaust Deniers are Anti-Sematic. Is this a coincidence?
9 people found this helpful
ldemarReviewed in the United States on July 25, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
how to win by keeping your mouth shut and...
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...and letting your lawyer cut through the bureaucracy.

And still the courts are a tricky place, that is for sure . Especially when the verdict in the end comes down to the opinion of one man...like in a ARBITRATION. Which is what corporatocracy has bought to protect itself against liabilities of treading on the common man's rights to liberty, pursuit of happiness and their very lives. This movie cleanly shows this legal process and the vulnerabilities inherent. But what is didn't get the opportunity to show is that on TOP of the ONE MAN'S OPINION RULE is the THE WHOLE THING REMAINS A BIG SECRET RULE EVEN IF YOU WIN?!? ensuring the horrors will be allowed to continue rule and victims can only get money while continuing to be SILENCED....THIS is ridiculous. There is no justice in a legal system that protects the perpetrator's right to silence their victims even after PROVING THEY HARMED ON PURPOSE...that's what we have now throughout the US, probably everywhere.

This movie also shows how a simple catch phrase "No Holes, No Holocaust" can scream louder than any of the details.

This movie really helped me understand a little more about the mentality of a lawyer working toward trial day and why they do not share everything with their clients even when they are devoted to their cause.

Here are some quotes from the film that for me were very meaningful:

"No Holes, No Holocaust" - Irving

"The coward only threatens when he is safe" - Johann Wolfgange Von Goethe

"You were remembered. The voice of the suffering was heard." - Deborah E. Lipstadt

"Only in hindsight is standing up called heroic." - Deborah E. Lipstadt - and I would add that is THIS only IF YOU WIN AND ACHIEVE UNLIKELY SUCCESS...otherwise you die in the gutter alone and voiceless following the others that have tried before you, like dominos. A gutter far below those that live under the highway overpass , the the only witnesses of your brave attempt to fight. Those who's only processions left are their heart and soul say a prayer for you in the end, the only acknowledgement that you were even there. This prayer then evaporates into the wind. And THIS is probable outcome for 99% of all who attempt to stand up against any powerful and privileged Goliath...with a thank you NEXT...and then came Dewayne “Lee” Johnson vs Monstanto. : )

Corporations are NOT people. But the people within them makes choices every day to either stand up or remain silent. If you stand up, you may only leave with your guaranteed heart and soul, is that ever enough?

have you ever heard one of those stories of when a whale swam up to an ocean driver and scared the living crap out of them because the whale wouldn't go away? and only after the driver makes it back to the mother ship do they find out that the whale was protecting them from a shark? If these stories are true (cause how the hell do i know) it seems to me that we are not the "most intelligent" species after all we are just using our "intelligence" differently. All of our lives are futile and short and individually we, and our technological advances, really mean very little in the grand scheme of things but the universal consciousness that includes all life on this planet is showing us by example, how to be more human. Because why else would a whale choose the life of a human over dinner for a shark? It's kind of arbitrary really, right? We will all come and go from this planet and all that matters may only be the humanity we showed our fellow inhabitants while we were here, whatever the cost... who knows?
C. ArredondoReviewed in the United States on October 7, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Informative Well-Done drama on a real-life Holocaust controversy in the 90's
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NO-SPOILER REVIEW

4.5 Stars

So first and foremost, I don't know anything factually about this controversy that happened. Other than vaguely hearing about it in the news at the time. But suffice to say, I am no expert and cannot compare true-life facts and measure accuracy this has with that or not.

Having said that, I found this movie to be very informative and enlightening on the subject. It did seem balanced in perspective, however again, I have not researched the facts myself independent of the movie. Again, given that, I thought the movie did a great job of sort of weaving the story of the characters, their motives, the basis for their viewpoints, and the playing out of the conflict of viewpoints which ended up taking place in a courtroom in Europe.

The holocaust is an important piece of both human history, and also obviously a huge part of the WWII. I appreciated that they shot scenes on site at Auschwitz and you got a glimpse of the actual place. I had never seen it in person nor even in film. It was almost sacred feeling to even just see where they did this atrocity.

Anyways, it is well acted. The characters are believable. The story moves at a good pace and doesn't drag too much (a little bit of setup earlier on). And again I think it's informative of a important debate that surfaced in the 90's. Don't watch if you're in the mood for an action flick. Watch if you're interested in a good drama.
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