Valkyrie is a 2008 historical thriller film directed by Bryan Singer and starring Tom Cruise. The film is based on the 20 July plot of 1944 of German army officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler and marks the re-teaming of Singer and producer/screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie. Cruise will portray the leader of the plot, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.
Cruise's casting caused controversy among German politicians and members of Stauffenberg's family due to the actor's practice of Scientology, though German newspapers and filmmakers gave support to the film to spread global awareness of von Stauffenberg's attempted plot. The filmmakers of Valkyrie initially had difficulty setting up filming locations in Germany, but they were later given leeway to film in locations pertaining to the film's story, such as Berlin's historic Bendlerblock.
The film changed release dates from as early as June 27, 2008 to as late as February 14, 2009. The changing calendar and poor response to United Artists's initial marketing campaign drew criticism about the studio's viability. After a positive test screening, Valkyrie's release date was set to December 26, 2008. United Artists renewed its marketing campaign to reduce its focus on the star Tom Cruise and to play up director Bryan Singer's previous credentials.
During World War II, German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) is severely wounded in Africa and returns home to Nazi Germany. Stauffenberg helps conceive Operation Valkyrie, a plan approved by Adolf Hitler which, in order to manage turmoil within Germany, would implement a shadow government in the event of the Nazi Führer's death.
The Colonel eventually joins the German Resistance and becomes part of the July 20 plot, a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler and execute Valkyrie in order to take control of the country and make peace with the Allies. Stauffenberg finds himself taking on not only the responsibility of leading the coup, but also the task to assassinate...