GLADBECK: THE HOSTAGE CRISIS on Netflix is a new true-crime documentary from Germany. The 90-minute film is based exclusively on actual footage from 1988. It’s both brilliant and terrifying in crazy ways. Read our full Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis documentary review here!

GLADBECK: THE HOSTAGE CRISIS is a new Netflix documentary from Germany. It’s all about the true-crime of a bank robbery that took place in Germany in August of 1988. This documentary has a runtime of 91-minutes and it’s based exclusively on actual audio and footage from 1988. Mostly from the press and a bit from the police.


Check out American Murder: The Family Next Door on Netflix – also based solely on actual footage >

The robbery involved hostages and the hostage-taking situation ended up going on for 54 hours. Yes, 54 hours. While watching this documentary, I was absolutely appalled… and angry!

Continue reading our full Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis documentary review below. Find it on Netflix now.

You could not make this stuff up!

If the events that unfold in Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis had been shown in a fictional movie, I would be quick to claim that it’s unrealistic. But clearly, it really isn’t. This actually happened and we’re only shown actual footage from the press and surveillance cameras. Along with some audio from the police.

Somehow, real-life always manages to be even crazier (and scarier) than any fiction. Watching this latest true-crime documentary on Netflix made me grotesquely angry. So many errors are made – by the press, sure, but also by the police.

And yes, the press is all over this but it’s the police who should be keeping them far away from the situation. That’s their job; To contain and secure the crime scene. Instead, we see a hostage crisis continue over the course of three days… even with many more hostages along the way.

Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis – Review | Netflix

Will it ever change?

You get even angrier when you realize that not much has actually changed in the greater scope of things. The recent shooting in Uvalde seems to be just the latest example. The police are funded and (should be) capable, but they still seem unable to act in these situations when a criminal attacks innocent bystanders.

All while innocent bystanders (or misunderstood people with mental illnesses) are shot… just for the police to be on the safe side. It is grotesque and watching Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis just weeks after the Uvalde shooting makes my stomach turn.

I know, I know, the two situations have nothing in common. Except, they do to some extent. The events are decades apart and take place on different continents. And yet, in both instances, the police stay back and keep from getting involved, when it is their job to act.

Just as was the case with the Uvalde shooting, the outcome is fatal in both cases once the SWAT teams finally take action. Well, not to the criminals in the case of Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis. You’ll see… and be even more appalled at the sentences they received!

Watch Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis on Netflix now!

Volker Heise is the director of this documentary which is an extremely accomplished production. While based solely on actual footage taken as the events unfolded in August of 1988, the job of making it all come together as one story is very impressive.

It’s not an easy documentary to watch. Not because you see a lot of blood and physical violence, but rather due to the grotesque actions of the press (and public) and the equally appalling inaction of the police. Also, those poor people being held hostage are also held hostage on live television as the criminals are being interviewed.

Now, we all get to watch this as part of a documentary on Netflix. A true-crime story that serves as a reminder that things are crazy now, but were even crazier a few decades ago.

And yet, the cautionary tale of “how things were” is now coming across as; Will it ever change? And really, it doesn’t seem like it will. Not anytime soon anyway. Too many people have too much to gain from things staying exactly the same. Still, you absolutely have to watch Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis to understand how insane it all is!

Gladbeck: The Hostage Crisis is out on Netflix from June 8, 2022.


In August 1988, two armed bank robbers keep German police at bay for 54 hours during a hostage-taking drama that ends in a shootout and three deaths.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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