‘A Hidden Life’: Release date, plot, cast, trailer and everything you need to know about Terrence Malick's WWII film on Franz Jägerstätter

‘A Hidden Life’: Release date, plot, cast, trailer and everything you need to know about Terrence Malick's WWII film on Franz Jägerstätter

Before you groan about yet another film about World War II and the Nazis, you might want to give this one a chance. It is by 'The Tree of Life' writer and auteur Terrence Mallick after all. Also, it tells the timely story of an individual who asks this question: "Our leaders, if they are evil, what does one do?"

'A Hidden Life' is inspired by the true story of a deeply religious, Austrian farmer, Franz Jägerstätter (played by August Diehl), who was a conscientious objector, refusing to swear allegiance to Hitler. Jägerstätter was sentenced to death and executed for "undermining military morale" and was criticized by many in his time as a traitor to his nation and race.

He was posthumously declared a martyr and beatified by the Catholic Church in 2007. Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired North American and select international territory distribution rights to the film. 

Release date:

'A Hidden Life' had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and will be theatrically released in the United States December 13.


Austrian Franz Jägerstätter is a devoted husband and father, a pillar of the community and a pious Catholic living in the alpine village of St. Radegund, Austria. But with the rise of the Third Reich, war breaks out across Europe, Nazi ideology spreads and both the church and St. Radegund's mayor start spouting antisemitic dogma.

Franz undergoes military training but refuses to swear allegiance to Hitler. When called up for conscription, he becomes a conscientious objector — a decision that will test the limits of his beliefs. 'A Hidden Life' tells the little-known but true story of his quiet heroism, even as the possibility of execution threatens to tear him apart from his family.


The film stars August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds) as Austrian Franz Jägerstätter. He is a German actor, who achieved international recognition for playing Gestapo major, Dieter Hellstrom in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds'.

He also played Michael "Mike" Krause, Evelyn Salt's husband, in the movie 'Salt'. He is also known for his leading roles in the films 'The Counterfeiters' (2007) and 'The Young Karl Marx' (2017). 


Valerie Pachner and August Diehl attend the photocall for "A Hidden Life" during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2019, in Cannes, France. (Getty Images)

The film also stars Valerie Pachner as his wife, Franziska Jägerstätter and Maria Simon as his sister-in-law, Resie. 'A Hidden Life' also features late maestros Michael Nyqvist as Bishop Joseph Fliesser and Bruno Ganz as Judge Luebenboth. Both gave what would prove to be one of their final performances. 

Actor Michael Nyqvist poses for a portrait at the Variety Studio at Chivas House on May 19, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Getty)

Nyqvist was internationally recognized for his role as Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish adaptation of author Stieg Larsson's acclaimed 'Millennium' series that birthed 'The Girl with a Dragan Tattoo' film franchise. He also played the lead villains in 'Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol' (as Kurt Hendricks) and in 'John Wick' (as Viggo Tarasov). In 2004, he played the leading role in 'As It Is in Heaven', which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 77th Academy Awards.


(EXCLUSIVE ACCESS) Actor Bruno Ganz poses during a private photo session on August 26, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Getty)

Bruno Ganz was a Swiss actor who was known for his collaborations with the directors Werner Herzog, Éric Rohmer, Francis Ford Coppola and Wim Wenders. He earned widespread recognition with his roles as Jonathan Zimmerman in 'The American Friend' (1977), Jonathan Harker in 'Nosferatu the Vampyre' (1979) and Damiel the Angel in 'Wings of Desire' (1987).

Other actors in the film include Karin Neuhäuser, Tobias Moretti, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ulrich Matthes.  




The trailer starts with the voiceover of Franz Jägerstätter's wife, Franziska, nicknamed  Fani, recalling how she and her husband met and their "simple life" in the Edenic, alpine village of St. Radegund, Austria.

The scenes from their happy, idyllic life is interrupted by footage of the war breaking out across Europe. Franz Jägerstätter is shown visiting his priest and asking: "Our leaders, if they are evil, what does one do?" He is advised his dissident ideas will only be harmful for himself and his family and won't change a thing.

A man in his village comes over to give him a piece of his mind, calling him a "traitor to his nation, to his race". Jägerstätter voiceover, about God giving man free will and the choice to do what is right, is overlayed with scenes with him being captured, separated from his family and put in prison.

There he is beaten mercilessly by the guards as his voiceover continues: "I have to stand up to evil". The trailer ends with Jägerstätter in his prison cell remembering his village, his wife and her words to him: "Whatever you do, I'll be with you. Always."


Where to watch:

'A Hidden Life' is set to release in theaters December 13.

If you liked this, you'll love these:

'Inglourious Basterds', 'The Pianist', 'Europa Europa', 'Life is Beautiful', 'The Monuments Men', 'Schindler's List' and 'The Reader'.

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