Guido maintains this story right until the end when, in the chaos of shutting down the camp as the Americans approach, he tells his son to stay in a sweatbox until everybody has left, this being the final competition before the tank is his. Guido tries to find Dora, but is caught and executed by a Nazi soldier. As he is marched off to be executed, he maintains the fiction of the game by deliberately marching in an exaggerated goose-step.
The next morning, Giosuè emerges from the sweatbox as the camp is occupied by an American armored division. They let him ride in the tank until, later that day, he sees Dora in the crowd of people streaming out of the camp. In the film, Giosuè is four and a half years old; however, both the beginning and ending of the film are narrated by an older Giosuè recalling his father's story of sacrifice for his family