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"I see your public speaking has improved, it seems I've created a monster. A strangely persuasive monster." ― Joseph Goebbels joking with Fredrick Zoller[source]

Dr. Joseph Goebbels was a major antagonist in Quentin Tarantino's 6th film, Inglourious Basterds. He was the Propaganda Minister of Nazi Germany, and Adolf Hitler's number two man.


Joseph Goebbels was born in Rheydt, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire. After joining the Nazi Party, he quickly rose to up the power ladder and became Propaganda Minister for the NSDAP. Near the end of WWII, he produced "Stolz der Nation", a war film exploiting Fredrick Zoller's recent heroic acts as a German sniper.



Joseph Goebbels is first seen at a restaurant in Paris, together with his translator Francesca Mondino and Fredrick Zoller. He talks about how only because of the offspring of the slaves, America can be competitive athletically and concludes that American Olympic Gold can be measured in Negro sweat. Zoller then presents Emmanuelle Mimieux to him, who shakes her hand. He teases Shosanna, telling her that she's annoyed him, as when he arrived in France, to have lunch with his star, he discovers that he's now the toast of Paris and now he must find time for him. Under Zoller's persuasion, he agreed to move the film's premiere to Mimieux's cinema. Near the end of the meeting, colonel Hans Landa arrives, and Goebbels greets him. When Landa wants to withhold Shosanna to ask her a few questions, Zoller demands to know why, on a rude tone, which intrigues Landa. Goebbels tells Landa to be more relaxed, as the young soldier is simply smitten about the girl and worried for her due to the colonel's reputation.

After the film screening, Goebbels is full of joy and tells Shosanna he likes the simplicity of her cinema, but adds that he could bring some art pieces from the Louvre to decorate the place. After Goebbels asks Shosanna if she liked "Lucky Kids", she replies that she liked Lilian Harvey, which causes Goebbels to throw a tantrum and shouts that her name should never be spoken in his presence again. He and the rest of the Nazi party leave the cinema, leaving Shosanna and Marcel alone in the cinema.


Although Goebbels is not seen, it's implied that Adolf Hitler talks to him during the flashback, especially since Hitler talks about Zoller's deeds, and Goebbels is the person responsible for his rise to fame.


Goebbels is seen at the film premiere, along with Francesca Mondino, Zoller and Emil Jannings. Here, he shows Zoller Janning's ring, the greatest artistic honor he ever game. Goebbels then friendly bats on Zoller's chest saying that he might get one too. When Shosanna arrives at their group, he complements her, along with Jannings about her cinema. He is later seen inside the Auditorium, in his opera box with Francesca laughing. When everybody takes their place, Landa informs him that the Führer will arrive shortly. Goebbels thanks him for the info and Landa leaves (not before leaving Aldo Raine's bomb under his chair). After the film begins, he is looking at his work, and laughs every time Hitler does. When Zoller asks permission to leave, Goebbels agrees, but tells him that they'll meet after the film. When Hitler complements his film, by calling it "the finest film yet", he is deeply impressed, and begins to cry. When Shosanna's film appears, he is shocked by what happens and shouts for the projector to be turned off. He tells Hitler that this was not in his film. When Marcel ignites the nitrate film bundle, he and Hitler freeze in terror when he sees the screen bursting in flames. When the duo try to escape, Donny Donowitz and Omar Ulmer violently open the door and start shooting Goebbels, Hitler and Francesca with machine guns, then they shoot from the box at the terrified Nazis, and Shosanna laughs in the film playing over the smoke, then Donowitz shoots Hitler's face destroying it, finally the bombs explode and the entire cinema is blown up, killing all the Nazis inside for good.


Joseph Goebbels is a huge supporter of the National Socialism philosophy. He is seen as a mannered man, skilled in words and appears to be a womanizer. However, he will throw a tantrum when reminded of sensitive topics, such as mentioning the name Lilian Harvey. In the extended restaurant scene, Emmanuelle mentioned that her cinema only had old classic German films and not one of Goebbels'. Private Zoller spoke up for her, stating that Emmanuelle was a "formidable film critic", which caused Goebbels to angrily yell at her that he had outlawed film criticism. This is probably on Quentin Tarantino's intention to show that Goebbels was in fact insecure about the quality of his films.

Goebbels seems to take great joy from his job, and will be moved to tears when his boss, Adolf Hitler, praises his films. He also made several racial insensitive jokes towards black people, saying that "American Olympic gold can be measured in Negro sweat".

Behind the scenes

He was potrayed by Sylvester Groth. This is the second time Groth has played Joseph Goebbels (the first being My Führer). Martin Wuttke (who plays Adolf Hitler) previously played Goebbels in Rosenstrasse.


  • In the film, his title card identifies him as "The number two man in Hitler's Third Reich". In reality, this point is debatable. Some may argue that Heinrich Himmler (who's missing from the film) was Hitler's number two. Other candidates include Martin Bormann (Who is present and killed at the cinema), or Karl Dönitz (another not present). Dönitz was named Hitler's successor as Staatsoberhaupt (Head of State) after he committed suicide, with the title of Reichspräsident (President) and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and was the Grand Admiral of the Kriegsmarine in 1943 until the end of the war.
    • However, since the film is set in an alternate universe, it is possible that there are plausible, yet unrevealed, reasons for their absences.
  • Goebbels's affair with Francesca Mondino bears a similarity with his affair with the real life Czech actress Lída Baarová.
  • In a deleted scene which takes place in the Maurice restaurant, Goebbels is shown to be angry when he hears that Emmanuelle's cinema only shows classical German films and none of his, moreso when Zoller tells him that she's also a "formidable film critic". Tarantino intended this exchange to show that Goebbels is either unsure of the quality of his films or he's offended that his films aren't on par with German classical cinema.
  • When Francesca mentions former UFA actress Lilian Harvey, Goebbels throws a tantrum and screams never to mention that name in his presence. Lilian Harvey had to flee Nazi Germany in 1939 after helping Jewish choreographer Jens Keith to escape to Switzerland.
    • A song from the soundtrack of Lucky Kids sang by the same Lilian Harvey is part of the soundtrack of Inglourious Basterds.
  • In real life, Goebbels was married with Magda Goebbels and had 6 children. In the film, he wears a ring, but it's not implied in any way that he's married, nor that his affair with Francesca would be adultery.
  • Real life Joseph Goebbels had his right foot deformed inwards and shorter than his left one due to a congenital deformity, which caused him to limp. While in the movie he's seen mostly standing still, in the few scenes where he moves he walks normally.
    • He was also short in height (1.65 m), while the actor portraying him, Sylvester Groth, is much taller than him (1.76 m).
  • Wilfried Hochholdinger, who plays private Ludwig in the film, previously portrayed Joseph Goebbels in two different films, Joe and Max (2002) and Speer und er (2005).