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Based on Klaus Mann's novel, Mephisto details the rise of a Faustian character who figuratively sells his soul in exchange for greatness. Hendrik Hofgen (Klaus Maria Brandauer, offering an electric performance) is the star of a state-funded theater department who tires of his job. Like his friends, he pays lip service to socialist ideals fashionable for artists of his time -- that is, until the Nazis rise to power. He then sees an opportunity to achieve his objective of fame: he will perform propaganda plays and thereby use the Nazis as a vehicle to spread his name across the country --… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Few have dared what Brandauer accomplishes: showing us a good actor responding to the same neurotic drive for the center of the stage, the immortalizing role. His is a great performance, nothing less."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"A superbly modulated, fruitfully ambivalent central performance by Brandauer carries the emotional and intellectual weight of the political dilemma."
‑ , Time Out
"A compelling melodrama, essentially a revisiting of Goethe's version of the Faust legend, revised for the pre-war Nazi rise to power period."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Winner of the 1981 foreign lingo Oscar, Szabu's modern Faustian take is rather conventional in story and ideas, but it has strong emotional pull due to Brandauer's bravura performance."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
‑ Christopher Null,
"A disappointingly thin, conventional film."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The actor is played by Klaus Maria Brandauer in one of the greatest movie performances I've ever seen."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"An inspired update of the Faust legend featuring a tour de force performance by Klaus Maria Brandauer."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Mephisto is a powerful parable about fame as a disease of the spirit."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"A very good film with an intriguing and disturbing message."
‑ Dragan Antulov,
"Hungaro pic shows extraordinary period flair for the Germany of the 1920s and '30s, balanced acting by a multinational cast, and exemplary direction."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Mephisto seems somewhat remote, without all the urgency of which Mr. Szabo has shown himself capable."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Difficult subject, but well pulled off. Too long though."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"Slow-burning and bleak, this detailed study of deception and self-justification is brought to life by the virtuoso performance of Klaus Maria Brandauer and the perfectly restrained direction of Istvan Szabó."
‑ Ben Reynolds, Film4
More reviews for Mephisto on Rotten Tomatoes

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