Down 7,226 this week

The 3 Penny Opera (1931)
"Die 3 Groschen-Oper" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Musical  |  19 October 1956 (East Germany)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,332 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 30 critic

In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the 'king of the beggars'.


(as G.W. Pabst)


(text by) (as Brecht) , (adaptation) (as Balazs) , 2 more credits »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 34 titles
created 09 Oct 2011
a list of 38 titles
created 03 Dec 2012
a list of 45 titles
created 14 Jun 2013
a list of 22 titles
created 03 Jun 2014
a list of 28 titles
created 7 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The 3 Penny Opera (1931)

The 3 Penny Opera (1931) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The 3 Penny Opera.
1 win. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Fritz Kampers, Gustav Diessl, Hans-Joachim Möbis
Pandora's Box (1929)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The rise and inevitable fall of an amoral but naive young woman whose insouciant eroticism inspires lust and violence in those around her.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Thymiane is a beautiful young girl who is not having a storybook life. Her governess, Elizabeth, is thrown out of her home when she is pregnant, only to be later found drown. That same day,... See full summary »

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Louise Brooks, Josef Rovenský, Fritz Rasp
Comedy | Crime | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Albert Préjean, Florelle, Gaston Modot
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Edwin, a taxi driver, lives with Annie, a neurasthenic model. They plan to spend Sunday at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang, an officer, gentleman, antiquarian, gigolo, at the moment a ... See full summary »

Directors: Curt Siodmak, Robert Siodmak, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Erwin Splettstößer, Brigitte Borchert, Wolfgang von Waltershausen
Comradeship (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Plea against war and for friendship between peoples, through the story of french miners rescued by german colleagues after a firedamp explosion.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Alexander Granach, Fritz Kampers, Ernst Busch
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

At an all-girls boarding school, Manuela falls in love with a teacher, to terrific consequences.

Directors: Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich
Stars: Dorothea Wieck, Hertha Thiele, Emilia Unda
Le Million (1931)
Musical | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An impoverished painter and his rival engage in a race across Paris to recover a jacket concealing a winning lottery ticket.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Annabella, René Lefèvre, Jean-Louis Allibert
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Albert is smitten for Pola but ends up wrongly committed in jail, in the meantime her affections are sort after by his friend, and on his release both love and friendship must be tested.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Albert Préjean, Pola Illéry, Edmond T. Gréville
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron
Wings (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A fascinating and human portrayal of a once-famous fighter pilot and loyal Stalinist named Nadezhda Petrovna. Now a 41-year-old provincial schoolmistress, she has so internalized the ... See full summary »

Director: Larisa Shepitko
Stars: Mayya Bulgakova, Sergey Nikonenko, Zhanna Bolotova
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Director: Wolfgang Staudte
Stars: Curd Jürgens, Hildegard Knef, Gert Fröbe


Complete credited cast:
Rudolf Forster ...
Carola Neher ...
Reinhold Schünzel ...
Fritz Rasp ...
Jenny (as Lotte Lenja)
Hermann Thimig ...
Ernst Busch ...
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Smith, the Jailer (as Wladimir Sokolow)
Paul Kemp ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member
Gustav Püttjer ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member
Oskar Höcker ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member
Krafft-Raschig ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member (as Kraft Raschig)
Herbert Grünbaum ...
Sylvia Torf ...
Whorehouse owner


In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the 'king of the beggars'. Written by Brian rawnsley <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 October 1956 (East Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The 3 Penny Opera  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (censored) | (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was banned by the Nazi Party in 1933 and prints of the film were destroyed. The film was restored and reconstructed in the 1960s. See more »


Version of Three Penny Opera (1963) See more »


Die Dreigroschenoper
Composed by Kurt Weill
Libretto by Bertolt Brecht
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Outbrechts Brecht
16 September 2012 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

You have to appreciate this is from a time when a battle was being fought over the soul of Germany from the streets to the screen. That was true when Brecht wrote the play, and even more so three years later in this film incarnation. On one side you had Pabst, socially-conscious, humanist, and on the opposite end Riefenstahl's visions of mystical , sensuous and heaven-defying purity (and all that prefigures).

And I write this from a country that experiences an eerily similar situation almost a century later, is ravaged by recession, well-to-do people of three years ago are now sleeping in benches, and that horror and despair has brought actual neo-Nazis in the parliament and racial hate in the streets. So, this hits unexpectedly close to home, and makes me lament that we don't have talents of Pabst's calibre.

Ingenious moments in this extremely cynical vision of a world ruled by money include a 'king of beggars' who runs a powerful beggar-union of fake beggars, and a crook who is sprung from prison only to discover he is president of a London bank.

Pabst plays free and loose with Brecht's text, drops several musical numbers, and makes at least two powerful additions of his own: his ire is aimed at both left and right, with the beggar-union clearly standing in for socialists (their slogans include "give to be given back") who exploit the despair of the people for petty gains, and goes on to show a public riot (only threatened in Brecht) that ends not in triumphant Soviet-revolution but failure and obscurity.

The guy (with his team of close collaborators) was a genius, just not necessarily in this field.

Individual scenes are superb, but the whole feels sluggish and protracted. Scenes open several moments before we need the information and end several moments later. And for a film like this, you need a Marx Bros - Dr. Strangelove madcap rhythm to keep the zap of ferocious energy from dissipating.

But you just need to look at the opening to see what these guys were capable of, what astounding visual language they had refined.

The sparsity works because they're not going for comedic effect yet. It could be the opening to any type of film, say a melodrama. We are introduced to our crook through a public show in the Italian manner, sung and pointing to illustrated panels of the action (our film), and go on to meet him as he courts and swiftly convinces a young girl to marriage. All of that happens in a matter of minutes, no more than four scenes tops. There is a minimum of dialogue. The courting - a dance of seduction - happens in a dance club, and is actually shown as other couples dancing. We don't hear what he says to her, only lips moving. We only find out later (maybe) when she sings about it.

Pabst was the master of allusive filmmaking in the late silent era. You just can't afford to miss his Diary of a Lost Girl.

These days, Eisenstein is the backbone of MTV. You can see Riefenstahl's mark all over the coverage of sports and public events. Expressionism has been made cute and pop. Unlike them, this mode of using a scene to portray unseen bits of narrative that would have been wholly ordinary if simply shown is still new and untapped.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Songs? WillBarks
Discuss The 3 Penny Opera (1931) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: