The rise of 'Downfall': a short history of a meme

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Quentin Tarantino is not the only one writing snappy dialogue for the upper echelons of the Third Reich. Like the director of Inglorious Basterds, YouTube wits have been twisting both the course of events and the Fuhrer’s choice of words practically since the release of Downfall in 2004.

With what may be the final, definitive version having just been released by Will Ferrel's comedy web site Funnyordie.com, we recap how the scene in which Hitler goes bonkers as he faces defeat has been re-subtitled to show him responding to recent news.

Watch the Fuhrer fume at news of...

1. Michael Jackson’s death

2. Noel and Liam’s split

3. Chelsea’s transfer ban

4. Newcastle’s relegation

5. Obama’s victory

6. Labour’s defeat in the Glasgow East by-election

7. Editing Giles Coren: The Fuhrer sympathises with Times journalist Giles Coren, whose complaint about the standards of sub-editing at the newspaper has become media folklore.

9. The fall of MySpace: unsurprisingly, the Fuhrer’s a fan; clearly, he’s behind the Facebooking times.



So, from politics to social networking, armchair directors the world over have used the footage to find hilarity in even the most obscure subjects, as Funnyordie's latest iteration shows. In it, Hitler vents his spleen against the latest ‘nerd bandwagon’; a wagon which, by following the news, has ended up having itself in its sights. But even as he rails against the internet as ‘just one self-referential circle jerk among poorly socialized losers’ he begins to realise - like the tens of thousands who’ve watched it online – that the iMovie geeks have opened an anachronistic yet amusing front in the fight against the Fuhrer: for three minutes, at least, he’s ‘no better than YouTube Fred, or that stupid f***ing hamster!’



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