The Damned is a 1969 historical drama film directed and co-written by Luchino Visconti, and starring Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Berger, Helmut Griem, Umberto Orsini, Charlotte Rampling, Florinda Bolkan, Reinhard Kolldehoff and Albrecht Schönhals in his final film. Set in 1930s Germany, the film centers on the Essenbecks, a wealthy industrialist family who have begun doing business with the Nazi Party, and whose amoral and unstable heir, Martin (played by Berger in his breakthrough role), is embroiled in his family's machinations. It is loosely based on the Krupp family of steel industrialists from Essen.
In 1930s Germany, the Essenbecks are a wealthy and powerful industrialist family who have begun doing business with the newly elected Nazi Party. On the night of the Reichstag fire in early 1933, the family's conservative patriarch, Baron Joachim von Essenbeck, who represents the old aristocratic Germany and detests Adolf Hitler, is celebrating his birthday. The celebration features the family's children performing for the Baron, his family and guests on a makeshift stage. While grandnephew Günther performs a piece of music on his cello, grandson Martin performs a drag performance that is interrupted by news that the Reichstag has been burned.