This Oscar-winning documentary profiles Klaus Barbie, the notorious war criminal known as "The Butcher of Lyons." A Gestapo leader during the Nazi occupation of France, Barbie reveled in inflicting torture and was responsible for the death of thousands, operating out of a former train station dubbed "Hotel Terminus." In 1987, Barbie was extradited from Bolivia where he had lived in hiding for forty years, sometimes apparently working for the U.S. and other governments. In France, he was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity, and eventually died behind bars. Through a range of interviews, the movie examines moral issues of violence and complicity, placing Barbie's life story against a backdrop of international political intrigue.
This gripping film conveys how evil can hide in sheep's clothing. Telling the story of Barbie's rise to prominence under the Nazis, his prolonged exile, and his eventual exposure, "Terminus" depicts a man who appeared unthreatening and unremarkable, but who was possessed by a sadistic streak and a maniacal devotion to the Nazi cause. This long but engrossing film, in fact, suggests it was Barbie's seeming ordinariness that enabled him to elude the authorities for so many years. Out of this richly detailed, meticulously researched chronicle comes a profound meditation on war, violence, and the dark side of human nature.