Valkyrie is a 2008 wartime political thriller film directed and co-produced by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander. The film is set in Nazi Germany during World War II and depicts the 20 July plot in 1944 by German army officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler and to use the Operation Valkyrie national emergency plan to take control of the country. The film was released by American studio United Artists and stars Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, one of the key plotters. The cast included Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp, and Tom Wilkinson.
Cruise's casting caused controversy among German politicians and members of the von Stauffenberg family due to the actor's practice of Scientology, which is viewed with suspicion in Germany. Because of this, the filmmakers initially had difficulty setting up filming locations in Germany, but they were later given access to film in locations, including Berlin's historic Bendlerblock. German newspapers and filmmakers supported the film and its intention to spread global awareness of von Stauffenberg's plot.
The film changed release dates several times, from as early as June 27, 2008, to as late as February 14, 2009. The changing calendar and poor response to United Artists' initial marketing campaign drew criticism about the studio's viability. After a positive test screening, Valkyrie's release in North America was ultimately changed to December 25, 2008. United Artists renewed its marketing campaign to reduce its focus on Cruise and to highlight Singer's credentials. The film received mixed reviews in the United States and in Germany, where it opened commercially on January 22, 2009.