The Blue Angel (1930)
"Der blaue Engel" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Music  |  3 January 1931 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 9,992 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 82 user | 78 critic | 9 from

An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Gerron ...
Zauberkünstler Kiepert / The Magician
Guste Kiepert / The Magician's Wife
Mazeppa / The Strongman
Reinhold Bernt ...
Der Clown / The Clown
Eduard von Winterstein ...
Schuldirektor / The Director of School (as Eduard V. Winterstein)
Hans Roth ...
Hausmeister / The Caretaker of the Secondary School
Rolf Müller ...
Gymnasiast Angst / Pupil
Gymnasiast Lohmann / Pupil (as Rolant Varno)
Carl Balhaus ...
Gymnasiast Ertzum / Pupil (as Karl Balhaus)
Robert Klein-Lörk ...
Gymnasiast Goldstaub / Pupil
Charles Puffy ...
Wirt / Innkeeper (as Karl Huszar-Puffy)
Kapitän / Captain
Gerhard Bienert ...
Polizist / Policeman


Germany 1924. Middle aged Dr. Immanuel Rath is a literature professor at a boys college. Most of his students don't much like him, often calling him "unrath" - German for garbage. Dr. Rath learns that many of his boys often frequent a cabaret called Der blaue Engel - the Blue Angel - which he believes is corrupting their impressionable young minds. He heads to the Blue Angel himself to catch the boys in the act and shame them into not going again. Over several visits, Rath is able to catch the boys, but in the process he also understands what attracts the boys, namely the headlining performer Lola Lola. Rath falls under Lola's spell, he who falls in love with her - and she seemingly with him - so much so that he wants to marry her and give up his teaching career to be with her on her travels from cabaret to cabaret. Their relationship ends up not being what either envisioned, the question being how they will both deal with their disintegrating relationship and the reasons behind that ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

3 January 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Blue Angel  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,451 (USA) (13 July 2001)


$77,982 (USA) (7 December 2001)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print) | (cut) | (English)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Many actresses from the stage and screen were considered for the role of Lola Lola. Early contenders were Gloria Swanson, Phyllis Haver, Louise Brooks, Brigitte Helm, Lya De Putti, Lucie Mannheim, Trude Hesterberg, 'Kathe Haack' and Lotte Lenya. Leni Riefenstahl later claimed to have been considered for the role, but her claim is dubious. Director Josef von Sternberg chose Marlene Dietrich, with whom he was by then having a love affair. See more »


Schuldirektor: There's a lot I can understand. But to risk one's entire future for that kind of woman?
See more »


Referenced in Le choc (1982) See more »


Ich bin die fesche Lola
Written by Friedrich Hollaender
Performed by Marlene Dietrich
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the Truly Great Films!
18 August 2003 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews


THE BLUE ANGEL is one of the great films of all time, simply because

everything works.

Marlene Dietrich is amazing, probably never as good again, as her Lola

is the quintessential woman mixed with Circe, Delilah and all things

different and apart. As she leads men to their doom she sings honestly

that she "just can't help it," yet men follow her willingly. Emil

Jannings as Professor Rath gives what, in my estimation, is the greatest

performance by an actor on film, first as a martinet, then a man finding

first love, then a devoted married man, then a cuckold, a clown and,

finally a broken, destroyed man. (The moment where he wakes in Lola's

bed and finds delight in Lola's doll is one of the great miniatures in

any film.) To see Kurt Gerron's powerful, nuanced performance as the

leader of the rag tag cabaret troop is heartbreaking when you know that

the perished ina gas chamber only a few years later.) Director Josef Von

Sternberg leads the proceedings through staid classrooms, down twisting

expressionist streets, to the tawdry inside of "The Blue Angel", and

finally, through the labyrinth of Rath's life leading inexorably to his

downfall. Symbolism, from a dead canary to the noose like collars

clowns wear, abound. And oh the songs by Freidrich Hollander! (Kander

and Ebb must have watched this film many times before writing CABARET as

so many parts of that production...including the gift of a

pineapple..are seen here.)

I have seen this film again and again and every time it is fresh as it

was the first time, and, I would suppose, as it was in 1929. What a

great, great film!!!

34 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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