"Making this film was like an intense fight for the survival of memory itself." —Marcel Ophuls
A brilliant and epic Academy Award-winning examination of the Nazi SS officer Klaus Barbie, the infamous “Butcher of Lyon”, HOTEL TERMINUS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF KLAUS BARBIE weaves together forty years of footage and interviews culled from over 120 hours of discussion with former Nazis, American intelligence officers, South American government officials, victims of Nazi atrocities and witnesses. Barbie, while Gestapo chief in Lyon, tortured and murdered resistance fighters, including Jean Moulin, Jewish men, women and children, and had thousands deported to death camps.
After the war he was protected by and worked with the U.S. Army and American intelligence officers, and then allowed to hide in Bolivia, where he lived peacefully for 30 years as a business man under the moniker Klaus Altmann. Only in 1987 was he brought to trial in a French courtroom in Lyon for crimes against humanity thanks to the efforts of Serge and Beate Klarsfeld.
"A film of transcendent greatness, probity and resonances you'll never forget." —Jay Carr, The Boston Globe
Winner of Best Documentary, 1988 Academy Awards
International Critics Prize, 1988 Cannes Film Festival
1988 New York Film Festival
"Another monumental Ophuls work. ‘Hotel Terminus’ emerges ultimately not as a study of one person, place or event, but as a contemplation of the human condition." —Vincent Canby, The New York Times
"Ophuls’ film is an attempt to hold on to him [Barbie], to retrieve him from forgetfulness. The light Ophuls shines on his subject... fixes him forever in our minds." —Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"A real-life detective story. Entertaining and engrossing." —Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"The brilliance of Ophuls’s editing lies in its capacity to pose uncomfortable questions for the viewer- or, to put it another way, in its capacity to force the viewer into uncomfortable subject positions in relation to the material. Never- or at least, never for long- do we have a chance, in this film, to bask in righteous indignation or moral superiority, not even toward a villain like Barbie." —Susan Rubin Suleiman, Crises of Memory and the Second World War
"Essential historical viewing." —MSN Canada
"Marcel Ophuls has crafted a singularly engrossing documentary, one that, thanks to the tenacity of its director, utilizes every one of its 267 minutes to perfection." —DVD Infatuation