Why do we love movie Nazis?

 

Only at the movies (and in old “Hogan’s Heroes” reruns) is it ever permissible to enjoy the company of a Nazi. To be sure, the real Nazis were horrifying death merchants responsible for igniting World War II. But at the movies they become complex psychological portraits or loony B-movie villains or, weirder still, comic relief.

You can talk to psychologists all day about that last one and why we need harmless fictional versions of real-life boogeymen in order to cope with a sort of evil that most people can’t wrap their brains around, but for Hollywood the answer is pretty simple: bad guys, the baddest guys, mean movies people will pay good money to see.

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