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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)


  • George Stevens, Director

  • Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Writers

  • Alfred Newman, Music

  • Millie Perkins as Anne Frank

  • Joseph Schildkraut as Otto Frank

  • Shelley Winters as Petronella van Daan

  • Richard Beymer as Peter van Daan

  • Gusti Huber as Edith Frank

  • Lou Jacobi as Hans van Daan

  • Diane Baker as Margot Frank

  • Douglas Spencer as Mr. Kraler

  • Dodie Heath as Miep

  • Ed Wynn as Albert Dussel


  • The Diary of Anne Frank was released on March 18, 1959.

  • The film was mostly positively received by critics at the time, and would be nominated for seven Academy Awards winning for Best Supporting Actress (Winters), Art Direction - B&W, and Cinematography - B&W.

  • Despite its critical success, the film would not even make back its own budget grossing only an estimated $2.3 million on a budget of $3.8 million.

  • In 2006, it was honored as the eighteenth most inspiring American film on the list of AFI's 100 Years…100 Cheers.

  • The Diary of Anne Frank currently holds an 81% rating among critics on RT, a 59 score on Metacritic, and a 3.7/5 on Letterboxd.

What is this movie about?/Elevator Pitch: Adolescence under extreme circumstances, and optimism in the face of adversity.

Plot Summary: "The Diary of Anne Frank" is a poignant film adaptation of the stage play based on the iconic diary written by Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who, along with her family and a few others, hid from the Nazis in an attic in Amsterdam during World War II.

The film portrays the daily struggles, fears, and hopes of the occupants as they try to evade discovery by the Nazis while enduring the harsh realities of confinement. Through Anne's eyes, viewers witness her coming of age amidst the turmoil of war, grappling with typical teenage issues while also confronting the atrocities of the Holocaust. The film, directed by Geroge Stevens, captures the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity, ultimately leaving a profound and lasting impact on audiences as they bear witness to one of the darkest chapters in history.

Did You Know:

  • Audrey Hepburn was first offered the role of Anne Frank, and Otto Frank was among those who nominated her. She refused it for three reasons. Firstly, she had decided to accept the role in Green Mansions (1959). Secondly, she had lived in occupied The Netherlands during the war and had seen the Nazis carry out street executions and watched as they herded Jews onto boxcars to carry them to concentration camps. She knew that making the film would bring back memories that were far too painful for her. However, thirdly, she was 30 and felt that she was too old to play a teenage character convincingly on screen.

  • Shelley Winters donated the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award she won for the role of Mrs. Van Daan to the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam in 1975 after promising Otto Frank that she would do so if she were to win the award. It remains on permanent display in the museum to this day.

  • Anne Frank created aliases for her roommates in the diary, feeling that some of her revelations would prove embarrassing and harmful to them should they survive the war. The "Van Daan" family was really named Van Pels, and the surname of Mr. "Dussel" the dentist was really Pfeffer.

  • 20th Century-Fox was filming most of its movies in the extra-large dimensions of CinemaScope in order to lure patrons out of their homes and away from their small televisions. However, George Stevens felt that the wide spectrum of CinemaScope took away from the claustrophobic feel that being confined in an attic for two years would produce. Therefore, in order to achieve the effect that he desired without defying the order to film in CinemaScope, the director added columns on each side of the set, supposedly to be the beams that were supporting the attic but were actually to narrow the width of the screen, thus producing the stifling feel he originally intended.

  • Millie Perkins, cast as the younger Anne, was older than both Diane Baker, who plays Margot and Richard Beymer, who plays Peter during the making of the movie.

Best Performance: George Stevens (Director)/Joseph Schildkraut (Otto)

Best Secondary Performance: Joseph Schildkraut (Otto)/Shelley Winters (Mrs. van Daan)

Most Charismatic Award: Millie Perkins (Anne)

Best Scene:

  • Returning to the Attic

  • First Burglary

  • Bombing Campaign

  • Hanukkah/Second Burglary

  • Food Theft/Invasion

  • In Peter's Room

  • Conclusion

Favorite Scene: Food Theft-Invasion/In Peter's Room

Most Indelible Moment: Conclusion

In Memorium:

  • Ahmed El-Shenawi, 75, Egyptian actor (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Midnight Express, The Element of Crime)

  • Malachy McCourt, 92, American actor (Ryan's Hope, Search for Tomorrow, Gods and Generals), author and politician

  • Eric Carmen, 74, American musician (Raspberries) and songwriter ("All by Myself", "Hungry Eyes")

  • Jerry Foley, 68, American television director (Late Show with David Letterman)

  • T. M. Stevens, 72, American bass guitarist (The Pretenders) also worked with Steve Vai, James Brown, and Bootsy Collins

  • Linda Balgord, 64, American stage actress and singer (The Pirate Queen, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera)

  • Steve Lawrence, 88, American singer ("Go Away Little Girl", "Footsteps") and actor (The Blues Brothers) Grammy and Emmy winner

  • Michael Culver, 85, English actor (The Empire Strikes Back, From Russia with Love, Thunderball)

  • Viscella Richards, 79, British actress (Black Snake, Zeta One)

  • Jean Allison, 94, American actress (Edge of Fury, Bad Company, Hardcore, and various TV credits)

  • Jim Beard, 63, American musician (keyboardist for Steely Dan)

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Anne Frank: I know it's terrible trying to have any faith when people are doing such horrible... But you know what I sometimes think? I think the world may be going through a phase, the way I was with mother. It'll pass. Maybe not hundreds of years, but someday. - I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart.

Anne Frank: You know the most wonderful part of thinking yourself outside. You can have it any way you like. You can have rows of roses and violets all blooming in the same season, isn't that wonderful!

Otto Frank: We don't need the Nazis to destroy us. We're destroying ourselves.

Otto Frank: For the past two years we have lived in fear. Now we can live in hope.

Otto Frank: Always remember this Anna, there are no walls, no bolts, no locks that anyone can put on your mind.

Anne Frank: I want to go on living even after I'm dead.

Anne Frank: We're not the only people that have had to suffer, there have always been people that've had to.

Anne Frank: I've never heard grownups quarrel before.

Mr. Hans Van Daan: It's not a quarrel, it's a discussion.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 5.5

Impact/Significance: 5.5

Novelty: 6.5

Classic-ness: 9

Rewatchability: 4

Audience Score: 8.25 (88% Google, 77% RT)

Total: 38.75

Remaining Questions:

  • Who betrayed the Frank family?

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