Side view of German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg,
and Cruise dressed for his portrayal
of the anti-Hitler Nazi.
Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung, Germany
Cruise: A Man of Courage and Hero to the German People
has always aggrieved me that it's nearly impossible to make people in foreign countries
aware of the fact that in Germany there were also people who risked their lives
to oppose the Nazi order. … With his decision to lend Graf von Stauffenberga face, Tom Cruise will
change the image that the world has of us Germans."
little over a year ago when he took over United Artists, that legendary studio
founded by Charlie Chaplin, people wondered what title he should receive: CEO?Chairman? President? But no title was as big
as the two words that for over 20 years have been so closely associated with
American cinema. No title seems as big as his name, and it's under that name
alone that he leads this studio: Tom Cruise.
other star must learn to cope with the ups and downs of the movie industry. For
him, though, there have only been ups since his breakthrough with Top Gun in 1986. If during these 20
years one of Cruise's films wasn't a blockbuster, it was due entirely to his
own deliberate decisions. Such was the case recently, with Lions for Lambs, a film with which he intended to wake up his
compatriots to the events in Iraq.
by chance over the past few months, I had the opportunity to experience how Tom
Cruise fights, how hard he works, and how much he must almost force matters to
obtain these achievements. Now Tom Cruise has taken on a subject that is very
near and dear to my heart, not least because my predecessor as publisher of the
Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung, Joachim Fest, spent many years working
very intensively on the subject: I speak of the German resistance to Hitler. It
has always aggrieved me that it's nearly impossible to make people in foreign
countries aware of the fact that in Germany there were also people who risked
their lives to oppose the Nazi order.
took an unconventional thinker to break through this prejudice. It required a world-class
superstar to get that message to audiences abroad. With his decision to lend
Graf von Stauffenberga face, Tom Cruise will change the image that
the world has of us Germans. To rescue the image of his country - especially
abroad - was one of the key motives Stauffenberg had for his deeds
[attempting to assassinate Hitler]. Because of Cruise’s courageous decision to
play this role, he has indirectly fulfilled Stauffenberg's
Based on his story, a huge audience will come to understand that one can oppose
inhumanity, and that a hero's courage and nobility are even more important than
the success of his deeds.
Burda publishing house chose to give Tom Cruise the
Bambi Courage award [the Bambi is one of Germany's top media awards
]. This too was a
brave decision, and it was one I believe not only to have been correct, but
almost mandatory. Tom Cruise knows that his courage is different from the kind
exhibited by historic figures like Stauffenberg. Hemingway once defined
courage as “grace under pressure.” Over the past few months I observed Tom
Cruise up close. Very few people work under greater pressure than he does and
are pulled in so many different directions. Hardly anyone is under such
sustained attack as Cruise. Given the circumstances, I know only a few people
who would remain as friendly, as focused and as dignified as he does. He is a
man of courage in the way that Hemingway described it. I am proud to be permitted
to award him the Bambi for Courage. Ladies and Gentlemen, Tom
Frank Schirrmacher gave this encomium for Tom Cruise on Thursday evening [Nov. 22] at the Bambi
Awards ceremony in Duesseldorf.