Look Who's Back (film)

Look Who's Back (German: Er ist wieder da, lit. 'He's Here Again' pronounced [ʔeːɐ̯ ʔɪst ˈviːdɐ daː]) is a 2015 German satirical comedy film directed by David Wnendt,[3] based on the bestselling[4] satirical novel of the same name about Adolf Hitler by Timur Vermes.[5][6][7] The film features unscripted vignettes of Oliver Masucci as Hitler interacting with ordinary Germans while in character, interspersed with scripted storyline sequences.[8] It was listed as one of eight films that could be the German submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, but it was not selected.[9]

Look Who's Back
German release poster
Directed byDavid Wnendt
Produced by
  • Lars Dittrich
  • Christopher Müller
Screenplay by
  • Johannes Boss
  • Minna Fischgartl
  • David Wnendt
Based onLook Who's Back
by Timur Vermes
Music byEnis Rotthoff
CinematographyHanno Lentz
Edited byHans Funck
Distributed byConstantin Film
Release date
  • 8 October 2015 (2015-10-08) (Germany)
Running time
116 minutes
($3.3 million)
Box office$25.5 million[2]


The film begins in Berlin, 2014. Adolf Hitler (Oliver Masucci) wakes up in the park where his former wartime bunker once stood. As he wanders, disoriented, through the city, he interprets modern situations and things from a wartime perspective.[3][5][7][10] Everyone he meets assumes he is an actor impersonating Hitler. Attempting to ask directions to the Reich Chancellery, Hitler is told by a mime to find his own spot and pepper-sprayed by a terrified young mother. Arriving at a newspaper kiosk and reading that it is 2014, he becomes dizzy and faints.

Meanwhile, moviemaker Fabian Sawatzki (Fabian Busch) is fired from the television station MyTV and despondently watches the documentary he had been filming in the park where Hitler awoke. Seeing Hitler in the background, Sawatzki begins searching for him in hopes of getting his job back.

Waking at the kiosk, Hitler begins to read about modern Germany. Through the newspapers he discovers a completely different nation from the one he left and not one agreeable to him. Lamenting that Poland still exists on formerly German soil, Hitler says the whole war was a waste. He decides that destiny has resurrected him for a reason and vows to continue his work.

After finding the kiosk, Sawatzki proposes to travel across Germany with Hitler and film him for YouTube. Hitler agrees, and the two leave together. Travelling from the North Sea Coast to Bavaria, Sawatzki films Hitler interacting with ordinary Germans and promising to solve their problems with immigrants and guest-workers. When a Bavarian tells Hitler that he will never follow him, Hitler demands his name and address, saying that it's for "the first wave of arrests". The Bavarian responds that he isn't worried.

Sawatzki's idea for an animal-centred film clip ends when Hitler shoots a dog with a concealed FN Model 1910 pistol. Sawatzki is outraged, but Hitler calls him a weakling and vows to make a man out of him. While their videos gain over a million hits, Sawatzki and Hitler return to Berlin. Sawatzki introduces both Hitler and his programme idea to the MyTV station chiefs. The MyTV chairman, Katja Bellini (Katja Riemann), decides to use Hitler in one of MyTV's comedies.

Before the show, Hitler learns about the Internet and uses the Web to prepare his return to politics. On air, Hitler presents his old plans for an ethnically homogeneous Fascist state, and unintentionally becomes a big comedy hit. As his success in comedy increases, Christoph Sensebrink (Christoph Maria Herbst), one of MyTV's executives, discovers the unedited footage of Hitler shooting the dog. Sensebrink airs the footage, ruining the burgeoning careers of Hitler, Sawatzki, and Bellini, and resulting in his own promotion to station chief.

With the help of Bellini and Sawatzki, Hitler publishes an autobiographical book about his new life in the 21st century, Er Ist Wieder Da ("Look Who's Back"), and it becomes a bestseller. Soon after, Sawatzki turns the book into a film. Without Hitler, MyTV's ratings and ad revenue drop precipitously and Sensebrink, after a fit of rage (parodying Hitler's breakdown scene in the German drama film Downfall), decides he must rehire Hitler.

Hitler plays himself in the movie and during the filming he is beaten by two Neo-Nazis who believe him to be a fraudulent impersonator mocking their beliefs. Hitler is hospitalised, but the news of his beating generates sympathy and he returns to high standing with the German people. While Hitler is recuperating, Sawatzki reviews his old footage and discovers a ball of energy (based on The Terminator) in the background before Hitler first appeared. Returning to the site, he finds burnt leaves. With horror, he realises that the Hitler he encountered was the real person all along. He rushes to the hospital to confront Hitler, but finds only Katja, who says Hitler is at the movie studio. Katja doesn't understand Sawatzki when he says Hitler is real and he trashes the hospital room before running for the exit pursued by two hospital orderlies.

Sawatzki arrives at the movie studio, where he forces Hitler to the roof at gunpoint with his own pistol. Calmly, Hitler replies that he was elected by the German people, and if he is a monster, then so is everyone who voted for him. Enraged, Sawatzki shoots Hitler in the face and watches him fall off the roof to his apparent death. Suddenly Hitler reappears behind Sawatzki, claiming he cannot be killed, as he is a part of every German. This entire scene is revealed to be a part of the film, and Sawatzki a body double in a silicone mask. The real Sawatzki has been committed to a mental hospital following his previous outburst.

Once the work for his film finishes, Hitler senses that he is on the path to a political comeback. He is more popular than ever, and nationalist Germans give him hope that Germany may be ready for his return to power. With Hitler and Bellini riding in the back seat of an open Mercedes-Benz W31 convertible and among images of actual nationalist demonstrations, the film ends with Hitler's words, "I can work with this".

Lead Belly's 1942 Blues song Mr. Hitler plays over the credits.


As themselves in cameos (German TV and internet personalities): Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Joko Winterscheidt, Frank Plasberg, Daniel Aminati, Jörg Thadeusz, Roberto Blanco, Micaela Schäfer, Dagi Bee, Freshtorge, Robert Hofmann, Joyce Ilg, Andrea Nahles, Nina Proll

Box office and reception

The film was a box office success, reaching number one in Germany in its third week of release.[11]

Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a poor review, saying that it "... doesn't ... suggest something meaningful about either contemporary German society or whether Hitler's ideas and methods could potentially take root again".[12] Adam Taylor of The Independent, writing about the response of Germans to the filming itself, called the results "surprising" and a "little disturbing".[13]


The film was remade in Italy as Sono tornato (I'm Back). The plot closely follows the German film except that it is Benito Mussolini rather than Hitler who magically reappears in the 21st century.


  1. "Look Who's Back (2015) - Box office & Business". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  2. "Er ist wieder da (Look Who's Back)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  3. Connolly, Kate (6 October 2015). "David Wnendt on filming Look Who's Back: 'Our idea was to see how people react to Hitler'". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  4. German Comic Novel About Hitler Becomes Bestseller, at Algemeiner Journal; published 7 January 2013; retrieved 16 December 2013
  5. Jaafar, Ali (21 October 2015). "Hitler Pic 'Look Who's Back' A Smash In Germany". Deadline. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  6. Taylor, Adam (24 October 2015). "Look Who's Back: New film asking what would happen it Hitler returned to Germany has a worrying answer". The Independent. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  7. Hofmann, Sarah Judith (9 October 2015). "Hitler is ′back′ - but did he ever leave?". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  8. Lee, Benjamin (27 October 2015). "Hitler comedy Look Who's Back becomes Germany's No 1 movie". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  9. Roxborough, Scott (3 August 2016). "'Toni Erdmann,' 'Fritz Bauer' Among German Oscar Hopefuls". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  10. Lindsay, Duncan (7 October 2015). "Look Who's Back movie follows 'Hitler' in modern Germany and how people react to him". Metro. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  11. Lee, Benjamin (27 October 2015). "Hitler comedy Look Who's Back becomes Germany's No 1 movie". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  12. van Hoeij, Boyd (14 January 2016). "'Look Who's Back' ('Er ist wieder da'): Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  13. Adam, Adam (23 October 2015). "Look Who's Back: New film asking what would happen it Hitler returned to Germany has a worrying answer". The Independent. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
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