Cast: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Terence Stamp, Christian Berkel, Kevin McNally, David Schofield, David Bamber, Gerhard Haase-Hindenburg, Anton Algrang, Jamie Parker, Eddie Izzard, Harvey Friedman, Matthias Freihof, Kenneth Cranham, Werner Daehn, Andy Gatjen, Tom Hollander, Halina Reijn, Matthias Schweighofer, Waldemar Kobus, Florian Panzner, Bernard Hill, Karl Alexander Seidel, Timo Huber, Justus Kammerer, Annika Becker, Marie Becker
In April 1943, in North Africa, Lt. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) writes words of discontent in his diary while waiting to talk to the General commanding an Afrika Korps division. Stauffenberg meets the General outdoors in the desert, amidst troopers, tanks and military vehicles, and persuades him to save some of his men by ordering a retreat rather than following the stand-and-fight commands from headquarters. Suddenly, a flight of Allied P-40 fighter-bombers swoops down on the German armored force. Stauffenberg is seriously wounded in the ensuing bombing and strafing. When his wife, Elisabeth (van Houten), goes to see him at a military hospital, Stauffenberg is covered in bandages. Despite losing one eye, his right hand, and two fingers of his left hand, Stauffenberg recovers and is assigned to the Army General Staff in Berlin. There he is approached by a group of military officers and politicians opposed to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. Stauffenberg joins the conspirators, which include Major General Henning von Tresckow (Branagh), General Friedrich Olbricht (Nighy), Carl Friedrich Goerdeler (McNally), and General Ludwig Beck (Stamp). Goerdeler, a civilian, is the leader of the group. The conspirators aim to depose Hitler and his Nazi inner circle, institute a new German government with Goerdeler as Chancellor, and negotiate peace with the Allies. Stauffenberg tells the others that for the coup d’état to succeed Hitler must first be killed, and a way must be devised to take over the government without a bloody struggle. When an early attempt by the conspirators fails, Goerdeler is forced to abscond. Stauffenberg is promoted to Colonel and is given a position in the Home Army Command staff, under General Olbricht. Stauffenberg proposes a plot based on adapting an existing plan, code named Valkyrie, meant to be used in case of an insurrection against Hitler’s regime. Following Hitler’s assassination, the modified plan would direct Home Army units to seize key government buildings in Berlin, take control of communications and command centers, and neutralize the Gestapo and SS leadership, allowing the conspirators to assume control of the government. Central to the plot is control of the Home Army, commanded by General Friedrich Fromm (Wilkinson). General Fromm is unwilling to commit himself to the conspiracy, but hints that he would join if Hitler were dead. In July 1944, the conspirators make final preparations to carry out the plot. It falls to Colonel Stauffenberg to execute the initial crucial element of the conspiracy, killing Hitler. After an emotional farewell to his wife, Stauffenberg sets out with his aide, Lieutenant Werner von Haeften (Parker), for the impregnable Wolf’s Lair, where Hitler and his staff will be meeting. As a member of the Home Army Command staff, Stauffenberg is one of the few officers with a reason to attend the meeting. In his briefcase he carries an explosive device that he must place close to Adolf Hitler (Bamber). The success of the plot depends on Stauffenberg’s actions, and on the follow up by his fellow conspirators as they put Valkyrie into effect. The realistic cinematography of Newton Thomas Sigel captures the ambiance of the Third Reich. Screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander. Music by John Ottman.