GenreBiography, Drama Duration CountryWest Germany
WriterErich Ebermayer, Herbert Reinecker Release date30 December 1954 ScreenplayHerbert Reinecker, Erich Ebermayer CastO.E. Hasse (Admiral Canaris), Martin Held (Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich), Wolfgang Preiss (Oberst Holl), Adrian Hoven (Oberleutnant Althoff), Charles Regnier (Baron Trenti), Peter Mosbacher (Fernandez) Similar moviesThe 33, The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler's List, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Canaris is a 1954 West German drama film directed by Alfred Weidenmann and starring O. E. Hasse, Barbara Rütting and Adrian Hoven. It portrays real events during the Second World War when Wilhelm Canaris the head of German military intelligence was arrested and executed for his involvement with the 20 July Plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler. The film was a major success at the German box office, possibly because it allowed audiences to identify with a heroic German figure disassociated from Nazism. Released in the UK as Canaris Master Spy, and in the US as Deadly Decision— it is also known by the alternative title Canaris: Master Spy.
The soundtrack features music from Lohengrin, composed by Richard Wagner.
Canaris opened in Hanover on 30 December 1954. The distributor played down any political significance to the film, and marketed it as the story of a good German Christian "whose human tragedy reflects the experience of millions of Germans."
The film was generally well received by critics, the press, and the public. It was recognized by the FBW as "especially valuable", and was awarded a Bambi for being the most financially successful film of 1955.
The film's portrayal of a "tragic hero" of the Nazi period has been described as part of the beginning of a wave of films "interrogating the National Socialist past" in West German cinemas.