Independence Day (1996)

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German title Independence Day
Original title Independence Day
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1996
length Theatrical
Version: 138 minutes, Extended Version: 147 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Roland Emmerich
script Roland Emmerich,
Dean Devlin
production Dean Devlin
music David Arnold
camera Karl Walter Lindenlaub
cut David Brenner

Successor  →
Independence Day: return

Independence Day is an American science fiction film directed by Roland Emmerich from 1996 . The film is about an attack by aliens on earth and its defense by humans. The main characters are Jeff Goldblum , Will Smith and Bill Pullman . The film opened in German cinemas on September 19, 1996. The sequel Independence Day: Recurrence came to US theaters on June 24, 2016.


Two days before the US Independence Day - the Independence Day on July 4 - swings a giant alien spacecraft into an orbit one. It has a diameter of over 550 kilometers and corresponds to about a quarter of the mass of the moon . Soon around three dozen smaller ships, in the form of flying saucers with a diameter of around 30 kilometers each, break away from it and position themselves over many of the world's major cities . The satellite reception is disturbed all over the world, panic and uncertainty break out.

US President Thomas Whitmore hopes to establish peaceful relations with the strangers, but satellite technician David Levinson discovers that the satellite interference is caused by a secret code, a countdown of the aliens, with which they coordinate their invasion . Just in time, he can warn his ex-wife Constance "Connie" Spano, who is Whitmore's press secretary, and the president and flee with them in Air Force One before Washington, DC , and the White House are reduced to rubble - as well as other metropolises, e.g. B. Berlin , Los Angeles and New York City . The first lady is seriously injured in the attack on LA . After that, the alien spaceships systematically destroy other capital cities and military facilities around the world. Attempts to get at the attackers with conventional and nuclear weapons fail because of their superior shield technology .

The aim of the Air Force One is the secret base Area 51 , which actually exists, to the surprise of the President. A few more actors will soon arrive here: Steven Hiller, a callous pilot of the United States Marine Corps , who was shot down in a dogfight with flocking alien fighter ships but was able to capture one of their pilots, his girlfriend and her son, who were with found the First Lady on their escape from LA, as well as Russell Casse, a traumatized and alcohol-addicted Vietnam veteran of the US Air Force , who escaped the disaster with his stepchildren just in time. He has an unfinished business with the aliens because he says he was kidnapped by them ten years earlier for experiments. Scientists and the military under the leadership of Whitmore are now preparing to counterattack in Area 51 . It turns out that in the Roswell incident more than 50 years ago, a crashed fighter ship of the attackers was recovered, which has since been researched without the scientists under the direction of Dr. To reveal his secrets to Okun; only when the mother ship arrived, its energy supply started up again. The President looks at the trapped alien who is communicating with him via thought transmission. Whitmore learns that the invaders intend to destroy mankind and then exploit the planet's resources, just as they have already done many times on other planets like the migratory locusts . When the alien Dr. Okun turns off and tries to mentally take over the president , he is shot.

Inspired by a remark by his father, Levinson and Hiller developed a plan: In order to be able to destroy the invasion fleet, the mother ship was to be infected with a computer virus, which was passed on to all daughter ships via the communication network and would then cause the protective shields of all daughter ships to fail. While Hiller and Levinson set off on the morning of July 4th with the reactivated alien fighter ship for the mother ship, President Whitmore is organizing a worldwide air strike that is to begin at the same time as the collapse of the protective shields. After his wife died in his arms the previous evening, the president, himself a former fighter pilot, took part in the air battle with Russell Casse after a fiery speech to his people.

Hiller and Levinson actually manage to enter the mother ship unmolested, where they watch the preparations for the deployment of a huge alien invasion force. After they dock, they transmit the virus by radio. As planned, after a while the protective shields of all the alien daughter ships fail and the rockets of the terrestrial warplanes are finally having an effect. When a flying saucer also attacks Area 51 , Russell Casse sacrifices himself by steering his fighter jet with his last missile, which cannot be fired, directly into the primary weapon of the alien spaceship, which then explodes. In the meantime, Hiller and Levinson were discovered in the mothership and left behind an atom bomb with a delay detonator, only to set off on an adventurous chase back to Earth. The bomb destroys the mother ship, while fighter pilots all over the world manage to shoot down all the alien battleships.

At the end of the film, Hiller's and Levinson's families drive with the President to meet the two pilots and watch the wreckage of the mother ship burn up in the atmosphere as people around the world celebrate their victory over the downed alien ships.

Roles with synchronization

The list contains the main roles in the film.

  • President Thomas J. Whitmore ( Bill Pullman ): President of the United States and former Gulf War fighter pilot . He regains his appreciation when he drives the resistance against the aliens and leads the fight himself as a pilot.
  • Captain Steven "Steve" Hiller ( Will Smith ): Fighter pilot who can operate and fly the alien aircraft bunkered in Area 51.
  • David Levinson ( Jeff Goldblum ): As a technical genius, he succeeds in decoding a satellite signal from the aliens and successfully infects the mother ship with a computer virus.
  • First Lady Marilyn Whitmore ( Mary McDonnell ): Was critically injured and later dies in Area 51.
  • Jasmine Dubrow ( Vivica A. Fox ): Striptease dancer with the son and girlfriend of Steve Hiller. She marries Steve before his mission against the alien mothership at the end of the film.
  • Russell Casse ( Randy Quaid ): Vietnam War veteran who keeps afloat as an agricultural aviator. Initially ridiculed by his surroundings for believing in aliens, at the end of the film he turns into the central hero of the fight against the aliens.
  • General William Gray ( Robert Loggia ): Loyal US Army Chief of Staff and instructor to the President during his military service. He organizes the decisive battle against the aliens.
  • Dr. Brackish Okun ( Brent Spiner ): Scientific Director at Area 51. Acts as the medium in the only direct attempt at arbitration between the President and an alien just before the decisive battle and is in a coma after an attack by the alien.

The following table lists the German speakers for the most important roles.

actor German speaker role
Will Smith Leon Boden Captain Steven Hiller
Jeff Goldblum Arne Elsholtz David Levinson
Bill Pullman Detlef Bierstedt President Thomas Whitmore
Margaret Colin Liane Rudolph Constance Spano
Robert Loggia Jochen Schröder General William Gray
Judd Hirsch Klaus Sunshine Julius Levinson
Vivica A. Fox Anke Reitzenstein Jasmine Dubrow
James Rebhorn Lothar Blumhagen Albert Nimziki
Randy Quaid Jürgen Kluckert Russel Casse
Mary McDonnell Beate Menner First Lady Marilyn Whitmore
James Duval Simon hunter Miguel Casse
Brent Spiner Michael Pan Dr. Brackish Okun
Adam Baldwin Andreas Hosang Major Mitchell
Harvey Fierstein Tommi Piper Marty Gilbert
Harry Connick Jr. Tobias Master Captain Jimmy Wilder
Lisa Jakub Sonja Spuhl Alicia Casse
Giuseppe Andrews Tobias Nath Troy Casse
Kiersten Warren Ranja Bonalana Tiffany
Bill Smitrovich Friedrich Georg Beckhaus Lt. Colonel Watson
Ross Bagley Carsten Otto Dylan Dubrow
Mae Whitman Julia Kaufmann Patricia Whitmore
John Storey Bernd Schramm Dr. Isaacs


The film launch of ID4 (so the preliminary title) was accompanied by a marketing campaign of unprecedented proportions, which contributed significantly to the success of the film. The campaign was initiated by a commercial that was broadcast during the Super Bowl . Although the film launch in the USA was planned for July 3, 1996, due to the enormous interest in many cinemas it was shown one day earlier, on the same day as the film action begins. The film opened in Germany on September 19.


Although the film's special effects received unanimous praise, Independence Day also received some criticism. In addition to the sometimes poor performance of some actors, the in many ways implausible plot was criticized. For many critics, it seemed unrealistic that the alien and advanced technology of the aliens would be outwitted by a simple computer virus. Among other things, it was also heavily criticized that the film should have stolen many elements and scenes from other films.

Outside of the United States, the film was largely criticized for its excessive patriotism . The fact that the whole world will be saved by US-Americans, and that even on their national holiday, gave the film the stamp of a typical blockbuster for the average American consumer. Several scenes (such as a scene during the President's address to his fighter pilots, in which he swears them to the upcoming fight) are strongly "Americanized".

  • recognizes in the film a
    … furious and fresh mixture of “ War of the Worlds ”, “ Star Wars ” and “ Close Encounters of the Third Kind ” with the best ingredients from “ Top Gun ”, “ The stuff heroes are made of "And other airy screen adventures of the last decade, as well as eerily beautiful reminiscences of the great communist fear metaphors of the fifties such as" Tarantula . "
  • , on the other hand, is more critical:
    In contrast to the content, the form is very modern, but remains within the conventions of action films. The special effects, which are very good, and the high speed of the pictures hardly let the viewer catch their breath. Which leads to the fact that every now and then one forgets the stupidity of the plot.
  • Dagbladet , a Norwegian newspaper, is more positive:
    the effects and the scenes of the film are brilliant, the actors refreshing and the pictures enormous. The script, however, is utter nonsense. But Roland Emmerich's latest trick is worth a trip to the cinema.

The film met with both great approval and fierce rejection from critics and viewers. However, the success of the film proved Emmerich to be right, as Independence Day grossed over $ 800 million worldwide on an estimated $ 75 million budget. This puts it in 84th place (as of August 8, 2020) in the list of the most successful films of all time .


Harald Lesch responded to a viewer question on a five-minute program called How realistic is the depiction of the large mother ships in Independence Day? of the series sci_xpert - Lesch's Universe of the pay-TV special-interest channel Syfy , that the spaceships shown in the film, due to their volume , would generate such enormous air pressure in the earth's atmosphere through air displacement that the big cities below would simply burst. A large mother ship with a quarter of the lunar mass in a geostationary orbit at an altitude of about 36,000 km, i.e. a tenth of the earth-moon distance, orbiting the earth would trigger ebb and flow . According to Lesch, the size of the mother ship would already be possible and also necessary if you want to stay in space for a long time and have to care for so many living things on board.


  • 1996: Golden canvas : with one and two stars
  • 1997: Oscar : two nominations, of which the for Best Visual Effects won
  • 1997: BMI Film & TV Award : Won (David Arnold)
  • 1997: Grammy : Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television (David Arnold) won
  • 1997: MTV Movie Awards : five nominations, including one for Best Kiss (Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox)
  • 1997: Saturn Award : Won in the categories of best science fiction film , best director and best special effects as well as eight other nominations.
  • The film also won the Joe Eszterhas Award, which was presented once in 1996
  • The German Film and Media Evaluation FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the title valuable.


The book for the film Independence Day - The Day We Fight Back by Stephen Molstad was published in 1997. The prelude to the film was also published in 1997 (in Germany 1998) under the title Silent Zone - Independence Day (German title: What happened in Area 51? ) by the same author. It tells the story of the scientist Brackish Okun. A third book by the author, which was not published in Germany, appeared in 1999 under the title Independence Day - War in the desert and continues the story of surviving aliens in the Middle East.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Independence Day. In: German synchronous index , accessed on January 27, 2013 .
  2. Independence Day on .
  3. Independence Day on .
  4. Top Lifetime big things. Box Office Mojo, accessed August 8, 2020 .
  5. Sci Xpert - Lesch's Universe - How realistic is the depiction of the large mother ships in Independence Day? , YouTube .