Directed by Peter Thorwarth, Netflix’s ‘Blood & Gold’ is a German action comedy movie about a gold treasure hunt by the Nazi SS. It features Robert Maaser, Marie Hacke, and Alexander Scheer, among others. Deserter Private Heinrich goes up against The SS in pursuit of reuniting with his young daughter. Along the way, a local farm woman named Elsa aids him, and together they find themselves caught in the middle of a hidden gold hunt in the small village of Sonnenberg.
The war drama movie is set in 1945 Nazi Germany and explores the antisemitic and totalitarian dictatorial conditions of the time. It employs a confined environment within a small village. By doing so, the film focuses on the anti-nationalist sentiments felt by some citizens of Nazi Germany toward the end of Hitler’s reign. Due to the historical references and settings, viewers might wonder about the story’s basis in real-world history. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about the origin of ‘Blood & Gold.’
Is Blood & Gold a True Story?
No, ‘Blood & Gold’ is not based on a true story. The film’s vaster historical setting is based on real-world events during World War II. However, the specific plotlines depicted about a Jewish treasure hunt in Sonnenberg, Germany, are not based on actual incidents. The story arcs explored by the film are works of fiction penned by screenwriter Stefan Barth. Likewise, the story was brought to life by director Peter Thorwarth, known for 2021’s action film, ‘Blood Red Sky,’ and his work as a writer on 2008’s ‘The Wave.’
Although ‘Blood & Gold’ is Thorwarth’s first attempt at a Western story, it’s a genre that has long captivated the filmmaker. “[For me,] the comedies with Bud Spencer and Terence Hill were the introduction to spaghetti westerns, and later the classics,” said Thorwarth while discussing his interest in the Western genre in an interview. As such, he could have been influenced by movies like 1979’s ‘I’m for the Hippopotamus’ and 1974’s ‘Watch Out, We’re Mad!’ Genre influences aside, the base premise of Nazi gold hunting presented by ‘Blood & Gold’ does take inspiration from real life.
The concept of Nazi military officers and soldiers financially robbing Jewish people imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps has a firm basis in history. According to a New York Times article from December 1997, Swiss historians of the time claimed the amount of stolen gold possessed by Nazi Germany to be around $146 million at 1945 prices. Therefore, even though there wasn’t any recorded treasure hunt raid in Sonnenberg by The SS in 1945, the fictionalized idea of the same isn’t entirely unfounded in history. Besides, viewers may relate to the film’s emotional narrative and character arcs due to their deep roots in reality.
‘Blood & Gold’ primarily revolves around Hienrich’s love for his daughter, Lottchen, and Elsa’s love for her brother, Paule. Throughout the film, Heinrich and Elsa risk their lives to reunite with their family. Along the way, they bond and repeatedly return to save each other’s life. As such, the film focuses on themes of love and perseverance regardless of adverse situations. The friendship between Heinrich and Elsa is hurried and instantaneous, but it’s based on trust and respect.
Additionally, both characters are pitched as enemies to the Nazis and portray outright hatred towards them. Therefore, they are easy to relate to, and the audience is compelled to sympathize with their tale. Similarly, the antagonists featured in the story are Nazi officers of the SS organization. The film also lightly dabbles into the more outright antisemitic sentiments found in Germany and depicts them in a harsh light through such characters. As such, they carry an inherently sinister air around them that the audience quickly catches on to.
As the story progresses, so does the viewers’ dislike for unsavory characters like Dörfler, Sonja, and Colonel Von Starnfeld. Ultimately, ‘Blood & Gold’ is not based on a true story. Since it is a historical fiction film, it borrows some realities and settings from real life. The film emanates classic Western tropes and reflects the real-world circumstances of the time. Nevertheless, the characters or the events do not have any real-life basis behind them.
Read More: Where Was Netflix’s Blood & Gold Filmed?