Bruno Ganz (German: [ˈbruːno ˈɡant͡s]; born 22 March 1941) is a Swiss actor, who has been a prominent figure in German language film and television for over fifty years. He has collaborated several times with filmmaker Wim Wenders, first as Jonathan Zimmerman in The American Friend (1977) and again as Damiel the Angel in both Wings of Desire (1987) and Faraway, So Close! (1993).
Ganz is internationally renowned for portraying Adolf Hitler in the Academy Award-nominated film Downfall (2004). He has also had prominent supporting roles in several English language films, including The Boys From Brazil (1978), Strapless (1989), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), The Reader (2008), Unknown (2011) and Remember (2015).
On stage, Ganz portrayed Dr. Heinrich Faust in Peter Stein's staging of Faust, Part One and Faust, Part Two in 2000.
Bruno Ganz was born in Zürich, to a Swiss mechanic father and a northern Italian mother. He had decided to pursue an acting career by the time he entered university. He was equally drawn to stage and screen but initially enjoyed greater success on the stage.
In 1960, Ganz landed his first film role, in Der Herr mit der schwarzen Melone (The Gentleman in the Black Derby). Despite the support of lead actor Gustav Knuth, his cinematic debut was not particularly successful and it was only many years later that his career in film got off the ground. Ganz made his theatrical debut the following year and devoted himself primarily to the stage for almost two decades thereafter. In 1970, he helped found the Berliner Schaubühne ensemble and two years later performed in the Salzburg Festival premier of Thomas Bernhard's Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige, under the direction of Claus Peymann.
The German magazine Theater heute (Theater Today) solidified Ganz’s reputation as a stage actor by pronouncing him Schauspieler des Jahres (Actor of the Year) in 1973. One of Ganz's most physically demanding stage portrayals was the title character in Peter Stein’s 2000 production of Goethe's Faust (Parts I and II), as he suffered injuries during rehearsals and his assumption of the role was delayed.
Ganz made his film breakthrough in a major part in the 1976 film Sommergäste, launching a widely recognized film career in both Europe and the U.S. He has worked with directors Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Éric Rohmer, and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. In 1977, he co-starred with Dennis Hopper in Wenders's American Friend, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game. In 1979, he starred opposite Klaus Kinski in Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night).
Ganz played a professor opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in the thriller The Boys from Brazil (1978), about Nazi fugitives.
In 1987, Ganz then became known for his role in Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire, as the angel Damiel.
Ganz is best known for portraying Adolf Hitler in Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004). Ganz did four months of research on Hitler in preparation for the role. His performance, which was almost universally critically acclaimed, became the basis for a series of "Hitler Rant" parody videos on YouTube. In 2014, popular culture website Watchmojo.com named his performance as the best portrayal of a real-life 'bad guy' of all time, beating out competition from Forest Whitaker and Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning portrayals of Idi Amin and Aileen Wuornos, respectively.
Ganz appeared in The Reader and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, which were both nominated for the 81st Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film).
Ganz has also served as a speaker in classical music works, including a recording of Luigi Nono's Il canto sospeso with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Bruno Ganz is separated from his wife Sabine, whom he married in 1965; they have a son named Daniel.
- 1973 "Actor of the Year" in German magazine Theater heute (Theatre Today)
- 1976 German Film Awards in gold for dramatic performances in The Marquise of O
- 1979 Deutscher Darstellerpreis (Chaplin-Shoe)
- 1991 Hans-Reinhart-Ring, given by the Swiss Society for Theatre Culture
- 1996 Iffland-Ring
- 1998: Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France)
- 1999: Grimme-Preis for Towards the End of the Night
- 1999: Bremer Filmpreis
- 2000 Swiss Film Prize
- 2000: Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France)
- 2000 David di Donatello Award for Bread and Tulips
- 2001 Berliner Filmpreis (Berlin Film Awards)
- 2001: Swiss Film Prize
- 2004: Bambi for Downfall
- 2004: SwissAward Division culture
- 2004: European Film Award
- 2004: Bavarian Film Awards, Best Actor
- 2005: Goldener Gong for Downfall
- 2005: Jupiter Prize for Downfall
- 2005: Austrian Decoration for Science and Art
- 2006: Kunstpreis der Stadt Zürich
- 2006 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
- 2006: Prize of Honour at the FilmArtFestival Mecklenburg-Pomerania
- 2007: Knight of the Légion d'honneur (France)
- 2008: 22nd International FilmFest Braunschweig - European Theatre Prize "Europa"
- 2010: Star on the Boulevard of the Stars in Berlin
- 2010: European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2011: Pardo alla Carriera at Locarno International Film Festival
- 2013: Actors award at the Festival des deutschen Films, Ludwigshafen
- 2014: Lifetime Achievement Award, Goldene Kamera
- 2015: Special Golden Camera 300 for lifetime achievement- Manaki Brothers Film Festival
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1713. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- "Prize Winner Bruno Ganz - Category "National Lifetime Achievement Award"". HÖRZU. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- Der Herr mit der schwarzen Melone (The Man in the Black Derby), 1960
- The Smooth Career 1967
- Sommergäste (Summer Guests), 1976
- Lumière, 1976
- Die Marquise von O... (The Marquise of O...), 1976
- Die Wildente (The Wild Duck), 1976
- Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend), 1977
- Die linkshändige Frau (The Left-Handed Woman), 1977
- The Boys from Brazil, 1978
- Messer im Kopf (Knife in the Head), 1978
- Schwarz und weiß wie Tage und Nächte, 1978
- Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu the Vampyre), 1979
- Retour à la bien-aimée (Return to the Beloved), 1979
- 5% de risque, 1980
- Der Erfinder (The Inventor), 1980
- Oggetti smarriti (Lost and Found / Lost Objects / An Italian Woman), 1980
- La Dame aux camélias (The Lady of the Camellias), 1980
- La provinciale, 1981
- Hands Up!, 1981
- Die Fälschung (Circle of Deceit), 1981
- Krieg und Frieden (War and Peace), 1982
- Killer aus Florida (Killer from Florida), 1983
- System ohne Schatten , 1983
- Dans la ville blanche (In the White City), 1983
- De ijssalon (Private Resistance), 1985
- Väter und Söhne – Eine deutsche Tragödie, 1986 (TV miniseries)
- Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire), 1987
- Bankomatt, 1989
- Strapless, 1989
- Tassilo, 1991 (TV series)
- Erfolg (Success), 1991
- La Domenica specialmente (Especially on Sunday), 1991
- The Last Days of Chez Nous, 1992
- Brandnacht (Night on Fire), 1992
- Prague, 1992
- In weiter Ferne, so nah! (Faraway, So Close!), 1993
- L'Absence (The Absence), 1994
- Saint-Ex, 1997
- Mia aioniotita kai mia mera (Eternity and a Day) 1998
- Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips), 2000
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust, 2001 TV
- Epsteins Nacht (Epstein's Night), 2002
- La forza del passato (The Power of the Past), 2002
- Behind Me - Bruno Ganz, 2002
- Luther, 2003
- The Manchurian Candidate, 2004
- Der Untergang (Downfall), 2004
- Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II, 2005
- Baruto no Gakuen (バルトの楽園; Ode an die Freude), 2006
- Vitus, 2007
- Youth Without Youth, 2007
- The Reader, 2008
- Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex), 2008
- Η Σκόνη του Χρόνου (The Dust of Time), 2008
- Satte Farben vor Schwarz (Colours in the Dark), 2010
- Das Ende ist mein Anfang (The End Is My Beginning), 2010
- Unknown, 2011
- Night Train to Lisbon, 2013
- Michael Kohlhaas, 2013
- The Counselor, 2013
- In Order of Disappearance, 2014
- Amnesia, 2015
- Remember, 2015
- Heidi, 2015
- Un Juif pour l'exemple, 2016
- The Party (2017)