o.k. (film)

o.k. is a 1970 West German anti-war film directed by Michael Verhoeven. It was chosen as West Germany's official submission to the 43rd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, but did not manage to receive a nomination.[1][2] The film was also entered into the 20th Berlin International Film Festival. However, the competition was cancelled and no prizes were awarded, over controversy surrounding the film.[3]

Directed byMichael Verhoeven
Produced byRob Houwer
Written byMichael Verhoeven
Music byAxel Linstädt
  • Igor Luther
  • Claus Neumann
Distributed by
  • Houwer-Film
  • Film- und Fernsehproduktion Munich
Release date
  • June 1970 (1970-06) (Berlin)
Running time
79 minutes
CountryWest Germany


A four-man US fireteam on patrol seizes a passing young Vietnamese girl and continue to torture and kill her. Only one soldier refuses to take part in it and reports this incident to his superior, who dismisses it as simple wartime incident. As a consequence for his report, the soldier has to fear for his life. Later, the perpetrators are convicted, although subsequent appeals reduce their sentences significantly.

The plot takes place in a Bavarian forest and reenacts the 1966 Incident on Hill 192 during the Vietnam War. The soldiers wear US uniforms, have authentic names but speak with a pronounced Bavarian accent—a conscious directing decision known as Brechtian distancing effect.



During the 1970 Berlin Film Festival, the jury, headed by American film director George Stevens, decided after a 7–2 vote to remove the film from the competittion justifying their decision by citing a FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) guideline that said: "All film festivals should contribute to better understanding between nations". This accusation was based on the fact that the film depicted four American soldiers kidnapping, raping, stabbing and shooting a Vietnamese girl named Mao until she finally dies. A fifth soldier on the patrol refuses to take part in the attack on the girl and his report to his commander is buried in the files. Stevens, who had served during the Second World War, claimed that the film was anti-American.[4] One jury member, Dušan Makavejev, protested against this measure, stood up for the film and supported director Michael Verhoeven and producer Rob Houwer.[5] Verhoeven defended his film by stating in these terms: "I have not made an anti-American film. If I were an American, I would even say my film is pro‐American. The biggest part of the American people today is against the war in Vietnam".[6] Other directors that were taking part in the festival withdrew their films in protest. The jury was accused of censorship and eventually disbanded, therefore no prizes were awarded and the competition was suspended.[7] This scandal had such a big impact that it was unclear if the festival could continue to take place the next year's edition.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ H. G. Pflaum. "On the history of the German candidates for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film". German Films. Archived from the original on 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  2. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  3. ^ "Berlinale 1970: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  4. ^ Langford, Michelle (2012). Directory of World Cinema: Germany. 9. Bristol, UK / Chicago, USA: Intellect Ltd. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-84150-465-0.
  5. ^ "O.K. in the Forum Anniversary Programme". Berlinale. February 4, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  6. ^ "WAR FILM DROPPED BY BERLIN FESTIVAL". The New York Times. West Berlin. July 4, 1970. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  7. ^ "Berlinale looks back on 60 years of war, scandal and glamour". Deutsche Welle. February 10, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  8. ^ "What types of films compete at the Berlin Film Festival?". Stephen Follows. February 8, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2020.

External linksEdit