Inheritors, The (1983)

Inheritors, The (1983)

“Let us build a new fatherland. It is time we awoke from this vile coma!”

A teenager (Nikolas Vogel) with emotionally abusive parents befriends a rebellious motorcyclist (Roger Schauer) and finds himself increasingly drawn into Schauer’s subculture of fascism and neo-Nazi ideology.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Coming of Age
  • German Films
  • Nazis

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “terrifying, important” film — about “how in present-day Germany and Austria bored, alienated, out-of-work youths are joining neo-Nazi organizations to find excitement, a sense of power and importance, sexual fulfillment (with Nazi groupies), and camaraderie” — “caused riots when first shown in Germany”: a reminder that the type of backlash uncovered in the 2006 documentary The Unknown Soldier (about a controversial museum exhibit showcasing war crimes by “ordinary” German soldiers) was already alive and well in the early 1980s. Given that right-wing ideologies continue to flourish in Europe, America, and elsewhere, The Inheritors — conceived after producer-director-screenwriter William Bannert “and some friends were attacked in a pub by a Nazi youth gang” — feels, sadly, more relevant than ever. Unfortunately, it’s a flawed film, with overly simplistic home lives presented for its two main characters, and weirdly “exploitive” [sic] sex scenes that make it inappropriate to show to younger viewers. But it’s worth a one-time look if you stumble upon a copy.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A frightening look at neo-Nazi ideology continuing to flourish

Must See?
No, though it’s worth checking out for one-time viewing if the topic is of interest.


One thought on “Inheritors, The (1983)

  1. First viewing. Agreed: not must-see.

    The subject matter here is, indeed, provocative (esp. in light of what is now going on in our own government) – but it’s unfortunate that (as is brought out in the assessment) the film plays out in too superficial a manner.

    I would like to say that part of the blame (for being ineffective) goes to the dubbed version I saw – with the actors’ voices often just seeming…odd. But even if the voices had been coached with more care, the material itself is a problem. There’s nothing subtle about the presentation; the film is almost completely without nuance.

    That said, the core of the film remains quite frightening (it’s particularly bizarre watching ignorant, soulless individuals taking on political ideology simply to settle or assuage their personal grievances) – so it’s difficult to discount it altogether. It’s just that, if the decision had been made to be more incisive, writer/director Bannert would have had something much more potent to deliver.

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