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The Buddenbrooks (1959)

Buddenbrooks - 1. Teil (original title)
First part of two of the saga of the troubled Buddenbrook family and their business in mid 19th century Germany.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hanns Lothar ...
Werner Hinz ...
Rudolf Platte ...
Herr Wenzel
Günther Lüders ...
Robert Graf ...
Wolfgang Wahl ...
Joseph Offenbach ...
Carsta Löck ...
Ellen Roedler ...


First part of the saga of a wealthy German family in the middle of the 19th century, based on the novel by Thomas Mann. Jean Buddenbrook is the strict and ambitious leader of the family and the head of the family business. He forces daughter Antonie into a marriage with a man she does not love, and when son Christian, an irresponsible playboy and womanizer, falls for the wrong kind of woman, he sends him abroad to England. Son Thomas is the only one of the children who has any interest in the family business, and when Jean dies unexpectedly, he takes over and extends the business, making his brother Christian, now back from England, a partner. Before long the brothers have a falling out. Antonie's marriage is on the rocks, her husband is in financial trouble, and Thomas refuses to help him.

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Release Date:

22 March 1960 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

The Buddenbrooks  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Version of I Buddenbrook (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Not too bad take on the story, but too many lengths
20 February 2017 | by (Berlin, Germany) – See all my reviews

"Buddenbrooks - 1. Teil" is a West German black-and-white film from 1959, so this one is almost 60 years old. It is probably the second earliest take on the famous work by writer Thomas Mann (after a 1923 film). More should follow in the future and the most recent is probably from 2008. But lets take a look at this one here. The director is Alfred Weidenmann, for whom it is neither among his earliest or latest career efforts (somewhere in the middle) and this is the first of two films actually. It seems to be really difficult to fit this one into one movie of 2 hours max actually. The cast includes many pretty well-known names of German actors from back in the day such as Pulver, Felmy, Dagover, Knuth, Hartmann or Leibelt. The cast was okay for the most part I guess, but honestly I never really gained much interest in the characters as I hoped I would. This film is slightly shorter than the sequel from the same year, but still runs for over 90 minutes. Compared to the second film, there is more focus in this one here on the romance aspect of the Buddenbrook daughter, and (naturally) more focus on the old Jean Buddenbrook, even if I still wish there could have been more focus on him still. He never felt like the memorable patriarch the way they wanted him to be, but still, I expected even less from the second film after his demise because the children (with an occasional exception of Tony) never really got me involved in their fates either. I have not read the work by Mann, but if it is quality-wise on par with this movie here, I also don't have a great deal of interest. Thumbs down from me. Not recommended as it drags quite a bit on several moments, even if it also has decent moments and is certainly not a failure.

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