Captain of Kopenick (1956): Oscar Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

1956: Best Foreign Language Feature Oscar: Year 1

In the first year of the Best Foreign-Language Oscar category, the five nominees were: Fellini’s “La Strada” from Italy, which won, “The Captain of Kopenick,” from the Federal Republic of Germany, “Gervais” from France, “Harp of Burma” from Japan, and “Qivitoq,” from Denmark.


Based on the stage work by the famous playwright Karl Zuckmayer, “The Captain of Kopenick” is a mildly entertaining satire, directed by Helmut Kautner, which centers on an unemployed man who impersonates an army officer, leading to a military takeover of city hall in Kopenick, a suburb of Berlin.


There is no doubt that politics, and not just artistic merit, played a part in nominating this film in the post-WWII era.

The Captain from Köpenick
Der Hauptmann von Köpenick
The Captain From Koepenick - half sheet.jpg

Zuckmayer’s play was based on the true story of Wilhelm Voigt, a German impostor, who masqueraded as a Prussian military officer in 1906 and became famous as the Captain from Köpenick.

It was shot by Real Film at the Wandsbek Studios in Hamburg. The film’s sets were designed by the art director Albrecht Becker and Herbert Kirchhoff.

Release date: August 16, 1956
Running time 93 minutes