TGM the Liberator





Production year



61 min




historical, compilation


documentarytheatrical distributionlong

Original title

TGM Osvoboditel

Czech title

TGM Osvoboditel

English title

TGM the Liberator


The editing documentary TGM the Liberator by Věra Chytilová was created shortly after November 1989 and had its grand premiere on the anniversary of Masaryk's birthday, on March 7, 1990. The director, handles the picture of the decisive figure of Czech modern history, the first president of the Czechoslovak Republic, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), with her distinctive style. The film was made at a time when the general awareness of Masaryk was very weak, so it had a significant didactic effect on the audience. However, it is not a traditional biographical sketch, but rather a distinctive artistic essay, in which the dominant role is played by the commentary delivered in a unique manner by Miroslav Macháček. The text is constructed as Masaryk's reminiscence of his private life and based on excerpts from his various works, lectures, and speeches. Carefully selected archival footage is also supplemented with dynamic shots of landscapes or Prague exteriors and settings. In brief segments Masaryk's granddaughters Herberta and Anna, as well as his great-grandson Tomáš Kotík, are interviewed. A part of the recording of one of Masaryk's Christmas radio speeches also appears. The musical dramaturgy of composer Jiří Šust plays a very important role, selecting various types of classical music as well as military marches; the musical background is almost omnipresent. Everything serves to emphasize the basic Masarykian premises concerning democracy, which must always be based on the morals of people, as well as Czech statehood.


T. G. Masaryk talks about his parents. He came from a poor family. His father was a coachman; he was a serf and remained a serf. His mother, who was a strong personality, made sure that her son could study. She was was religious. He was an latar boy during his childhood. He attended elementary school in Hodonín, then went to a secondary school. At the age of fourteen, his father sent him for studies to Vienna, where he stayed for a short time. Then he learned to be a smith. He worked as an apprentice at a local school. Then he studied at the German gymnasium in Brno. Because of his first love, he was expelled and moved to Vienna, where he graduated in philology and philosophy from the local university. He had to support himself with odd jobs. At that time, he was already intensively involved in religious, political, and national affairs. – In Leipzig, he experienced the fateful event of his life: he met Charlotte Garrigue, whom he married. After his graduation, he joined the newly established Czech university in Prague. He had trouble adapting to the humble surroundings. He founded the "Atheneum" review and published several documents. – Masaryk recalls his struggles in the Manuscripts Affair and later in the Hilsner Case. He used to go with his family to Bystřička in Slovakia for the summer to get to know the Slovaks better. He also dealt with foreign policy. At the beginning of World War I, he decided to oppose Austria-Hungary. He had to go abroad. He returned only after four years, so he never met his son Herbert (1880-1915), who died during that time, again. With Štefánik and Beneš, he founded the Czech National Council in Paris. He wanted to build on the history of the Czech state. Meanwhile, in Austria-Hungary, they imprisoned his daughter Alice and Hana Benešová as well as some politicians. – In exile, he devoted himself to the founding of Czech military units. He feared the Bolshevik revolution. The Czech legions had to undergo a long journey across Siberia after the revolution in Russia. – In America, Masaryk negotiated the post-war situation. – When the Czechoslovak Republic was founded, he became its first president. He had to attend many celebrations. In the Vladislav Hall, he took the presidential oath. According to him, the small Czech state could survive only as as democracy and only when it was open to the world. He contemplated what the president of such a state should be like and stated that he could be satisfied with his life. – He confides that he never wanted to be in the first row and always had to overcome the fear of being on a stage when speaking in public. – As president, he fulfilled his duties. He participated in various celebrations, demonstrations, military parades, and Sokol gatherings. In private, he used to go to Lány. He often appeared in public riding a horse. – Masaryk's granddaughters Herberta and Anna reminisce about their grandfather, and his great-grandson Tomáš Kotík speaks about the great-grandfather's legacy. – His radio Christmas message concludes with TGM's words: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will."


The film had its grand premiere on March 7, 1990, at the Kino Blaník cinema, and was simultaneously broadcast on television. It was re-released on May 1, 2018. At the renewed premiere in 2018, it was presented as a pre-film to Věra Chytilová's short student film Kočičina (1960).


Performed by

Charlotta Garriguová-Masaryková

Anna Masaryková

Herberta Masaryková

Edvard Beneš

císař František Josef I.

Crew and creators


Věra Chytilová

Commentary by

Věra Chytilová

Camera Operator

Ivan Jiránek, Jiří Rolínek, Oldřich Eichler (steadicam), Jiří Pechar (steadicam)

Assistant Film Editor

Růžena Hejsková

Sound Designer

Libor Sedláček

Production Manager

František Kopecký

Unit Production Manager

Petr Kellner


Josef Babůrek, prof. Dr. Josef Hanzal, Dr. Karel Kučera, prof. Dr. Milan Machovec, DrSc., doc. Dr. Jaroslav Opat, CSc., Dr. Miloš Pojar, Dr. Petr Voit, CSc.


Ludvika Bařtipánová, Michal Bregant, Karel Čáslavský, Jaromír Kallista, Věra Matrasová, Vladimír Opěla, Vladimír Ševčík, Josef Válek, Věra Viceníková


Music Composed by


Music Selected by

Jiří Šust


Praha, Nové Město (Praha), Mánes (Nové Město), Vltava (Praha), mosty (Vltava), Lány, zámek /i interiér/ (Lány), Brno, ulice (Brno), Hodonínsko

Production info

Original Title

TGM Osvoboditel

Czech Title

TGM Osvoboditel

English Title

TGM the Liberator




documentarytheatrical distribution


historical, compilation

Origin country




Production Year


Production specifications

start of filming 17 November 1989


gala premiere 7 March 1990 (kino Blaník, Praha)
distribution premiere 8 March 1990 /suitable for youths/ (kino Paříž, Praha)
renewed premiere 10 May 2018 /suitable for all ages without limit/ (kino Ponrepo, Praha)

Distribution slogan

In memory of the premiere of the film by director Věra Chytilová 7. 3. 1990. (1990) / no caption (2018)

Copyright Holders

Národní filmový archiv


Československý filmový ústav (původní 1990), Národní filmový archiv (obnovená 2018)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

61 min

Original length in metres

1 734 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm, DCP 2-D, BRD

Aspect ratio



colour, black & white



Sound system/format




Dialogue languages

Czech, commentary, English

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Intertitles languages


Opening/End credits languages