North Face (film)

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North Face
North Face (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Philipp Stölzl
Produced byBoris Schönfelder
Danny Krausz
Benjamin Herrmann
Written by Christoph Silber
Rupert Henning
Johannes Naber
Philipp Stölzl
Starring Benno Fürmann
Florian Lukas
Johanna Wokalek
Ulrich Tukur
Music byChristian Kolonovits
CinematographyKolja Brandt
Edited bySven Budelmann
Release date
  • 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
Countries Germany, 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]



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 North face.jpg
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]

Awards and nominations

Historical elements of the plot

Related Research Articles

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Eiger Mountain in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland

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Kleine Scheidegg

The Kleine Scheidegg is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 m (6,762 ft), situated below and between the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The name means "minor watershed", even though it is actually higher than the neighbouring Grosse Scheidegg. Possibly this is because Kleine Scheidegg is a watershed between the two arms of the Lütschine river, while Grosse Scheidegg divides the Lütschine from the Rychenbach stream.

<i>The White Spider</i>

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Andreas "Anderl" Heckmair was a German mountain climber and guide who led the first successful ascent of the Eiger north face in July 1938.

Benno Fürmann German actor

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Toni Kurz

Toni Kurz was a German mountain climber active in the 1930s. He died during an attempt to climb the Eiger north face with his partner Andreas Hinterstoisser.

Fritz Kasparek was an Austrian mountaineer who was on the team that made the first ascent of the Eiger north face.

Andreas Hinterstoisser

Andreas Hinterstoisser was a German mountain climber active in the 1930s. He died during an attempt to climb the Eiger north face with his partner Toni Kurz. A section of the north face was later named the "Hinterstoisser Traverse" in his honor. The 2008 film North Face was based on his experience climbing the Eiger.

Karl Mehringer was a German mountaineer and climber. Notable for being part of the first team to attempt to climb the Eiger Nordwand or North Face in 1935. He and Max Sedlmeyer climbed as far as the top of the "Flat Iron" feature where they were overtaken by a storm and died. His body was found in 1962 on the second icefield by a German rope team.

<i>The Beckoning Silence</i>

The Beckoning Silence is a 2007 British television film that follows and retraces the unsuccessful attempt to scale the north face of the Eiger led by Toni Kurz in 1936. The film features climber Joe Simpson, whose book of the same name inspired the film.

Daisy Voog, later known as Daisy Leidig, is an Estonian-German mountain climber. She is best known as the first woman to ascend the north face of the Eiger in 1964.

1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster

The 1936 Eiger north face disaster, which began on 18 July 1936, resulted in the death of five climbers during the 1936 climbing season on the north face of the Eiger.


The Mühlsturzhörner are two summits in the Reiter Alm in the Berchtesgaden Alps in the Upper Bavarian county of Berchtesgadener Land. The Großes Mühlsturzhorn is 2,234 m above sea level (NHN) and its top is around 300 metres southeast of the Stadelhorn, not far from the border between Bavaria and Salzburg in Austria. The Kleines Mühlsturzhorn is located 280 metres east-northeast and has a height of 2,141 m above NHN.

Willy Angerer

Willy Angerer was an Austrian mountaineer. He was one of four mountaineers who died in the 1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster, along with Toni Kurz, Andreas Hinterstoisser and Eduard Rainer. At twenty-seven Angerer was the oldest of the four climbers who died.

Eduard Rainer

Eduard Rainer was an Austrian mountaineer. He was one of the four climbers who died in the 1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster, along with Toni Kurz, Andreas Hinterstoisser and Willy Angerer.


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  3. "Filming locations for North Face". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
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  6. Nordwand – North Face by All About War Movies (2012)