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Bonhoeffer - Agent of Grace [VHS]

By Eric Till (Director)
Our Price $ 16.96  
Retail Value $ 19.95  
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Item Number 145561  
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Discontinued - Out Of Print
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Item Specifications...

Record Label   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Format   Full Screen / Full length / Closed-captio
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.3" Width: 4.2" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  VHS Video
Release Date   Jul 1, 2000
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800632753  
EAN  9780800632755  
UPC  727985003030  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
His resistance to Nazi Germany made him a modern hero. His execution in 1945 made him a Christian martyr. A true story of love, courage, and sacrifice, this dramatized presentation tells the story of Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who spoke out against Nazi oppression---and paid the ultimate price for his beliefs.

Buy Bonhoeffer - Agent of Grace [VHS] by Eric Till from our VHS store - isbn: 9780800632755 & 0800632753 upc: 727985003030

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Docudrama Suffers from Vagueness  May 4, 2002
This docudrama about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's wrestling with putting his Christian faith into action while living in a Nazi context suffers because it marginalizes Bonhoeffer's faith and instead plays up the politics of the German resistance movement to which he belonged. It falls far short of the power of the movie ROMERO, although Bonhoeffer's story is no less powerful than that of Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered by the El Salvadorian fascists during mass for his outspoken commitment to Christ incarnate in the people of El Salvador.

Bonhoeffer also made clear that Christ was incarnate in the German Church--and acting in accordance with that belief brought him to join the German resistance movement, hoping to overthrow the evils of the Nazi regime. This video, however, neglects Bonhoeffer's struggle with the ethical dilemma this posed and focuses on the details of that resistance. While it does pose some nice anectdotes about Bonhoeffer's impact on other prisoners, and how his faith and prayers helped them go calmly to their deaths, it falls short of HANGED ON A TWISTED CROSS, a documentary about Bonhoeffer.

Three stars. No more. Don't waste your time on this one until you've seen HANGED ON A TWISTED CROSS and ROMERO. Both are far more powerful movies that proclaim a Christ Incarnate in the immediate present, rather than muddying the water with obscure political machinations gone awry.


Bonhoeffer "Agent of Grace"  Feb 24, 2002
What can one say? This is the story of a upper class German who decided to revoke the Nazi's. A true story that demonstrates what courage can provoke in people. Although Bonhoeffer dies for his believes, he lives eternally in the human fabric. He was and is an asset. A must see film for students of German resistance.
haunting  Feb 15, 2002
This made-for-TV movie quietly made an appearance on PBS several years ago and then disappeared, but may now be kicking around on the
shelf at your local library, or just maybe at your video store. You'd do well to look and see if you can find it, because in its unassuming way it
is a powerful exploration of the particular duty of good people when evil prevails and a testament to the life and death of one remarkable man.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a leading Protestant theologian who returned home to Germany from the United States when World War II began,
writing to Reinhold Niebuhr :

I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany.

Once home, though a pacifist, he reluctantly became involved in various anti-Nazi activities, eventually even participating in a plot to
assassinate Hitler, which obviously failed. He justified this course of action because :

I believe it is worse to be evil than to do evil.

Bonhoeffer was arrested on April 5, 1943, but when authorities could not determine how deeply involved he was, they simply held him without
charges or trial and it seemed possible he eventually might be released. During his time in prison, he wrote a series of remarkable, often
heartbreaking, letters. If Anne Frank affects us with her innocence and our sense of a life unlived, Bonhoffer first saddens us with the hopeful
tone of his early letters and then awes us by the serenity with which he faces the prospect of his own death.

The film tells this whole story, but does so in rather scattershot fashion. Unless you know the story ahead of time, it is often difficult to tell
precisely what is going on and how all the characters and situations relate to one another. There are also a few unfortunate liberties taken with
the story--liberties that do not make the film more understandable but less--the most perplexing of which is the decision to make Bonhoeffer's
teenage fiancé seem quite ditzy. This makes it hard to imagine what Bonhoffer saw in her, other than youth, beauty, and availability, and, I
thought, gave their relationship an almost creepy quality. From what I've been able to find in reading about them, she was actually quite

At any rate, the film is more than redeemed by its final scenes, leading up to Bonhoeffer's execution. In October 1944, the Nazis finally
uncovered evidence that revealed the extent of Bonhoeffer's involvement in subterfuge and he was at last tried and sentenced to death. He was
hanged on April 9, 1945, just a month before Germany surrendered (May 8th). A doctor at Flossenburg prison, who witnessed the execution,
described it thus :

Through the half-open door in one room of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling
on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and
so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps
to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor,
I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.

We do not get all of this in the movie, but we do see Bonhoeffer walking naked to the gallows. I hope that I can say precisely what I mean
here, without giving offense, but in the concentration camp footage we were shown in school there was something dehumanized about the
victims--first, because they appear in black and white; second, because they are so emaciated as to be barely recognizable as fellow humans;
third, because there are just so mind-numbingly many of them. But in this scene, Ulrich Tukur, playing Bonhoeffer, is obviously and achingly
human--pale, doughy, naked, and defenseless. Yet he carries himself with a poise and a calm that cows the vile Nazi prosecutor who has come
to sate his own bloodthirst. More than that though, the viewer too is humbled by the dignity and serenity that is portrayed here.

The writer Andrew Delbanco has said that, "belief is really not an option for thinking people today." Never mind anything else about this
provocative statement; consider just this aspect : Dietrich Bonhoeffer went to face death "certain that God heard his prayer" and so died a man
at peace. His life and his death still speak to us today. How will those who believe in nothing, who are certain of nothing, face their imminent
deaths? Who will wish to tell the tale of their futile rage against the dying of the light?

Likewise, consider the other phrase the doctor used : "entirely submissive to the will of God". Bonhoeffer's faith assured him that even his
death, especially his death, served God's purposes. If, for the faithless, Man is the measure of all things, then what purpose can a man's death
serve? Is it not always, necessarily a catastrophe beyond redemption? What have men who believe in their own sufficiency really gained in
freeing themselves from submission to God's will, if in exchange their lives become meaningless and their inevitable deaths disastrous?

Without being blasphemous or overdramatic here, there are obvious parallels to the life of Christ in Bonhoeffer's march toward death and they
add to our sense of him as the quintessential modern martyr. None of this is meant to suggest that Bonhoeffer is any more deserving of honor
than the tens of millions of totalitarianism's other 20th Century victims, but as it happens we know more of his life and death, and of his
struggle to remain true to himself and his God in the face of overwhelming evil, than we know of most of the others, and that the record he
managed to leave behind convinces us that his struggle, his life, and his death are worthy of memory. In one of the many bitter ironies that
litter Bonhoeffer's biography, he began his book, Ethics, with the foreboding line :

When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die.

The manner in which Dietrich Bonhoeffer heeded this call, despite, or because of, his understanding of how it must end, makes, despite some
weaknesses, for an extraordinarily powerful and moving film. I am haunted by its final images.


A Worthy Biography  Aug 30, 2000
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, author of Ethics, The Cost of Discipleship, and Life Together (to name but a few) embodied the commitment that the Christian makes to incarnate grace and peace. The paradox of his life, a pacifist who engages in an attempt to assasinate Adolf Hitler, is presented well leaving the moral ambiguities of his decision to the viewer to contemplate. What I found most useful was the human story of Bonhoeffer, presenting this modern Lutheran martyr in a human light as a pastor and friend. This biography will serve well as an introduction to Bonhoeffer the man and will hopefully inspire the viewer to read Bonhoeffer's works.

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