Triumph of the Spirit (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Triumph of the Spirit (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Triumph of the Spirit Photos

Movie Info

Triumph of the Spirit is the true story of Salamo Arouch, a Greek-Jewish boxer imprisoned in Auschwitz during World War II. Arrested while attempting to help his family and friends escape the Nazi juggernaut, Arouch (Dafoe) is slated for extermination. He manages to survive--and to serve as an inspiration for his fellow inmates--by literally boxing for his life. He does this at the orders of his SS captors, who gamble on the outcome of Arouch's bouts. With each victory, Arouch is rewarded with extra bread rations, which he passes on to his family. Counterpointing the main story is the seemingly foredoomed romantic relationship between Arouch and female inmate Allegra (Wendy Gazelle). An uplifting coda rounds out this grim factual account. Triumph of the Spirit was filmed on location at Auschwitz--the first film of its kind to be lensed in that infamous locale.

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Willem Dafoe
as Salamo Arouch
Robert Loggia
as Father Arouch
Kario Salem
as Jacko Levy
Costas Mandylor
as Avram Arouch
Hartmut Becker
as Maj. Rauscher
Burkhard Heyl
as Aide to Rauscher
Jerzy Gralek
as Kapo Kyr
Ewa Lesniak
as Kapo Hilda
Halina Chrobak
as Clog Thief
Lew Rywin
as Announcer
Maria Probosz
as Rauscher's Girl Friend
Stefania Zubrowna
as Dying Woman
Hanna Pater
as Prisoner Nurse
Michal Juszczakiewicz
as Sonderkammando
Jack Messinger
as Greek Prisoner
Tuvia Tavi
as Greek Prisoner
Danny Segev
as Greek Prisoner
Avi Keidar
as Greek Prisoner
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Critic Reviews for Triumph of the Spirit

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Triumph is spooky, and it is winningly effective that way.

August 17, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Blinded by the fact that the story is based on a man's life, that it "actually happened," the film seems to assume that the message is in the very accuracy itself. But at the end we feel confused and unsatisfied.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Triumph of the Spirit

A poorly written and executed film, based on a heartbreaking, harrowing tale, is still a poorly written and executed film. The boxing scenes are actually this bomb's saving grace. Aside from that, "Triumph" is a term that's about as far from proplerly describing this as possible. Considering the powerful nature of the story, that seems hard to believe, but, behold! Here's the first film of which I am aware that does a total disservice to the plight of Jewish people during the Holocaust. Bad production values, and trite portrayals of both Germans and Jews make this move uninteresting.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


A good screenplay that seems bogged down by bad casting. Dafoe is exceptional but most of the rest seem oddly out of place. This should have been and could have been so much better.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Triumph of the Spirit Quotes

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