Is the movie The Captain (2018) based on a true story?

Olivia Thompson Olivia Thompson Jul 17, 2023 · 3 mins read
Is the movie The Captain (2018) based on a true story?
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Yes, the movie “The Captain” (2018) is based on a true story. It tells the story of a young German soldier, Willi Herold, who, during the final days of World War II, stumbles upon an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform. He puts on the uniform and assumes the role of a captain, eventually gathering a group of soldiers who follow his orders unquestioningly. The events depicted in the film are based on the real-life account of Willi Herold, a soldier who claimed to be a captain and committed various atrocities.

What is the true story behind the movie The Captain (2018)?

The movie “The Captain” is a historical drama film released in 2018, directed by Robert Schwentke. It tells the story of Willi Herold, a German Army deserter during World War II, who impersonated a Luftwaffe captain and assumed command of an abandoned camp.

The film is loosely based on real events that took place in April 1945. Willi Herold, a young private in the German Army, was on the run from military authorities after deserting. While wandering through the war-torn countryside, he stumbled upon an abandoned vehicle containing the uniform of a Luftwaffe captain. Seeing an opportunity to change his fate, Herold donned the uniform and assumed the identity of a high-ranking officer.

After dressing as a captain, Herold attracted a small group of soldiers who mistakenly took him for a legitimate officer. As they encountered more abandoned German troops on their way, Herold further exercised his newfound authority. He assembled a band of followers and occupied an abandoned camp, where they established a makeshift prison.

Under Herold’s command, the group began a series of violent and sadistic acts, terrorizing both German deserters and civilians. Herold’s power quickly corrupted him, leading to a series of merciless executions and inhumane acts. The atrocities committed by Herold and his followers escalated to the point where they massacred over a hundred German soldiers, falsely accused of desertion. This event became known as the “Wehrmachtstrafdivision” massacre.

The true story of Willi Herold’s impersonation and subsequent acts of brutality is recognized as a dark and disturbing chapter of the closing days of World War II. “The Captain” attempts to depict the events surrounding Herold’s actions, exploring themes of power, authority, manipulation, and the corruption of the human spirit.

Are there any books about the true story behind the movie The Captain (2018)?

Yes, there are books that explore the true story behind the movie “The Captain” (2018). The film is based on the life of German World War II army deserter Willi Herold, who assumed the identity of a Nazi captain. While there isn’t a specific book directly related to the movie, you can find several books that delve into the true events or similar stories. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. “The Devil’s Captain: Ernst Jünger in Nazi Paris, 1941-1944” by Allan Mitchell
  2. “The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq” by Joshua Key and Lawrence Hill
  3. “The Deserter: An Espionage Thriller” by Paul Almond
  4. “The Traitor’s Niche” by Ismail Kadare (Although not directly related to the movie, it explores themes of identity and impersonation in wartime.)

These books provide different perspectives on desertion, identity, and the consequences of war. Although they may not directly recount the specific events portrayed in the movie, they can shed light on similar stories and themes.

You can try an audible free trial and search for audiobook versions of those

Olivia Thompson
Written by Olivia Thompson
Making a difference, one step at a time.