Der Fuehrer's Face
Donald Duck series
File:Der Fuehrer's Face.jpg
Donald Duck in Der Fuehrer's Face.
Directed byJack Kinney
Produced byWalt Disney
Story byJoe Grant
Dick Huemer
Voices byClarence Nash
Music byOliver Wallace
Animation byBob Carlson
Les Clark
Bill Justice
Milt Neil
Charles Nicholas
John Sibley
Layouts byDon DaGradi
Andy Engman
StudioWalt Disney Pictures
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures Inc.
Release date(s)January 1, 1943 (USA)
Color processTechnicolor
Running time8 minutes
CountryUnited States
Preceded bySky Trooper
Followed byFall Out Fall In


Der Fuehrer's Face is a 1943 animated cartoon by the Walt Disney Studios, starring Donald Duck. It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1943 as an anti-Nazi propaganda movie for the American war effort. The film won the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film and was voted #22 of "the 50 Greatest Cartoons" of all time by members of the animation field.



A German oom-pah band composed of Axis leaders Hirohito on sousaphone, Göring on piccolo, Goebbels on trombone, and Mussolini on bass drum marches through a small German town, where everything, even the clouds and trees, are decorated with the swastika, singing the virtues of the Nazi doctrine. Passing by Donald's house (the features of which depict Hitler), they poke him out of bed with a bayonet to get ready for work. Because of wartime rationing, his breakfast consists of ersatz bread (50% sawdust), causing hiccups, coffee brewed from a single hoarded coffee bean, and a spray that tastes like bacon and eggs. The band shoves a copy of Mein Kampf in front of him for a moment of reading, then marches into his house, carrying the bass drum, and escorts him to a factory.

Upon arriving at the factory (at bayonet-point), Donald starts his 48-hour daily shift screwing caps onto artillery shells in an assembly line. Mixed in with the shells are portraits of the Führer, so he must perform the Hitler salute every time a portrait appears, all the while screwing the caps onto shells, much to Donald's disgust. Each new batch of shells is of a different size, ranging from minute shells to massive shells, as large as Donald if not larger. The pace of the assembly line intensifies (as in the classic comedy Modern Times), and Donald finds it increasingly hard to complete all the tasks. At the same time, he is bombarded with propaganda messages about the superiority of the Aryan race and the glory of working for The Führer.

After a "paid vacation" that consists of making swastika shapes with his body for a few seconds in front of a painted backdrop of the Alps, Donald is ordered to work overtime. He has a nervous breakdown with hallucinations of artillery shells everywhere, some of which sing and are the same shape of the marching band from the start, music and all. When the hallucinations clear, he finds himself in his bed — in the United States — and realizes the whole experience was a nightmare. Donald embraces a miniature Statue of Liberty, thankful for his American citizenship.

The short ends with a caricature of Hitler's angry face. After two sets of "Heils", a tomato is thrown at Hitler's face, morphing into words: The End



Before the film's release, the popular band Spike Jones and His City Slickers, noted for their parodies of hot songs of the time, released a version of Oliver Wallace's theme song, "Der Fuehrer's Face" (also known informally as "The Nazi Song"). Unlike the version in the cartoon, some Spike Jones versions contain the rude sound effect of an instrument he called the "birdaphone", a rubber razzer (aka the Bronx Cheer) with each "HEIL!" to show contempt for Hitler. The so-called "Bronx Cheer" was a well-known expression of disgust in that time period and was not deemed obscene or offensive. (The sheet music cover bears the image of a tomato splattering in Hitler's face.) Jones recorded two versions of the song at the request of RCA Victor Records which released the song on the Bluebird label - one with a trombone note after each "HEIL!" and the other with a razzer called a 'birdaphone'. The birdaphone version was the one released. The success of Jones' record prompted Disney to change the short's title, originally Donald Duck In Nutzi Land, to match the song.[citation needed]

Due to the propagandistic nature of the short, and the depiction of Donald Duck as a Nazi (albeit a reluctant one), Disney has kept it out of general circulation since its original release.[citation needed] Der Fuehrer's Face finally received an official U.S. video release in 2004, when it was included in the Walt Disney Treasures limited edition DVD set Walt Disney: On the Front Lines. It also appeared on another Walt Disney Treasures set: The Chronological Donald Volume Two, released in December 2005.

Other versionsEdit

Other referencesEdit

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Young, Jordan R. (2005). Spike Jones Off the Record: The Man Who Murdered Music. Albany: BearManor Media ISBN 1-59393-012-7 3rd edition.

External linksEdit

es:Der Fuehrer's Face fr:Der Fuehrer's Face id:Der Fuehrer's Face it:La faccia del Fuhrer lb:Der Fuehrer's Face ja:総統の顔 pl:Der Fuehrer's Face pt:Der Fuehrer's Face ru:Лицо Фюрера fi:Der Fuehrer's Face sv:Der Fuehrer's Face