In 1940, after their U-boat has been torpedoed and sunk in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, six Nazi crewmen led by Lt. Hirth (Portman) trek through northern Canada on their way to then-neutral American territory. As they venture cross-country, they have encounters with a Quebecois trapper (Olivier), a Christian commune leader (Walbrook), and a reclusive author living among Blackfoot Indians (Howard). As the Nazi team's number dwindle over time, so do their chances for escape.
Why we love it
Also known as "The Invaders," and co-scripted by Powell's longtime partner Emeric Pressburger, this clever, rousing anti-fascist war thriller was one of Britain's boldest and most memorable propaganda pictures. Portman in particular is mesmerizing as the wicked, hate-spouting Lt. Hirth; Walbrook, Howard, Massey, and Olivier (despite the heavy Quebecois accent) are also uniformly excellent. Much to his credit, Powell brings a documentary-like intensity to the sequences filmed in Indian and Hutterite communities. Absorbing on many levels, "Parallel" is a soul-stirring drama that recaptures a tumultuous time.