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Fox and His Friends (1975)
"Faustrecht der Freiheit" (original title)

 -  Drama | Crime | Romance  -  2 February 1976 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,613 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 25 critic

Franz "Fox" Biberkopf is a working-class guy, at loose ends when his lover is arrested and the police shutter their carnival booth. In need of cash for his weekly lottery purchase, Fox lets... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Chatel ...
...
Karlheinz Böhm ...
Max (as Karl-Heinz Böhm)
Adrian Hoven ...
Wolf Thiess, Eugen's father
Christiane Maybach ...
Hedwig
Harry Baer ...
Philip (as Harry Bär)
Hans Zander ...
Barman Springer
Kurt Raab ...
Wodka-Peter
Rudolf Lenz ...
Attorney Dr. Siebenkäss
Karl Scheydt ...
Klaus
Peter Kern ...
Florist 'Fatty' Schmidt
Karl-Heinz Staudenmeyer ...
Krapp (as Karl Heinz Staudenmeier)
Walter Sedlmayr ...
Car dealer
Bruce Low ...
Doctor
Marquard Bohm ...
American Soldier (as Marquart Bohm)
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Storyline

Franz "Fox" Biberkopf is a working-class guy, at loose ends when his lover is arrested and the police shutter their carnival booth. In need of cash for his weekly lottery purchase, Fox lets himself be picked up by an elegant older man named Max. At Max's, he meets two younger gay men who have expensive tastes and images to uphold. The next day, Fox wins 500,000 marks in the lottery, and Max's friends suddenly become Fox's friends, especially Eugen, the heir to a bookbinding firm that's short of cash. Eugen's polish beguiles Fox, and the fleecing begins. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

friend | lottery | lover | gay | carnival | See All (125) »

Genres:

Drama | Crime | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

2 February 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fox and His Friends  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 450,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The normally overweight Rainer Werner Fassbinder dieted strenuously to lose weight in order to play the role of Fox, which included a full-frontal nude scene. See more »

Quotes

Max: There are drunks lying everywhere! The state should do something. It's the same everywhere. In Helsinki recently, there were so many drunks lying around even though it's hard to get alcohol in Finland.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.10 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Bird On A Wire
Written by Leonard Cohen
Performed by Leonard Cohen
Courtesy of Sony/ATV Music
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User Reviews

 
A Tale of Deceit, Power, and Victimization: Fassbinder at his Best!
6 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Rainer Werner Fassbinder has long been honored as the 'bad boy' in European cinema, a writer/director/actor who repeatedly has taken chances and because of his brutal honesty has succeeded in making a stream of important films. FOX AND HIS FRIENDS dates back to 1975 and remains one of Fassbinder's most successful films. As with all of his films, Fassbinder deals with the homosexual subculture in Germany but his main message goes far beyond the characters he creates: the examination of how people manipulate people for personal gain and the destruction that produces is a recurring problem and one that this film certainly explores.

'Fox' - a nickname of Franz Bieberkopf - (acted with consummate skill by Fassbinder himself) is a lower class gay carny kid whose lover is arrested, leaving the carnival to collapse and leaving Fox without support. Enter handsome Max (Karlheinz Böhm), a wealthy antiques dealer, who picks up Fox, helps him buy the requisite 'lottery ticket' on which Fox bases his hopes for financial survival (!) via manipulative means, and takes him home, introducing Fox to his gay friends who regard Fox as scum but show obvious physical attraction to his rawness. Surprisingly Fox wins the lottery and suddenly has 500,000 DMs and with his new money, Max's friends abruptly see a target for obtaining that money. One of the friends named Eugen (Peter Chatel) takes Fox in as a lover and talks him into investing in Eugen's family business of bookbinding. Eugen's father Wolf (Adrian Hoven) and mother (Ulla Jacobsson) tolerate their son's life with a low class wretch, ridiculing his manners and lack of culture and education, but willingly take his money to salvage their business.

With a lover and a business and a role model to make him suave, Fox dons fancy clothes, banters with his old friends in a tawdry club, and makes the pretenses that at last he is secure and happy. But in time Fox is blamed for problems at the business and when his funds have been depleted on expensive vacations and apartments by the smarmy self-centered Eugen, Fox realizes that now without money he has no 'fancy friends', no lover, no security and his life becomes unbearable: the ending to the film is a tragedy beyond description.

Some would say the film is mannered in ways that depict stereotypes of the gay world (effeminate men, transvestites, opportunists, hustlers, etc), but Fassbinder is completely honest in his attempt to recreate a subculture of a specific time in Germany. And the characters are well written and well acted allowing us to look at Fassbinder's greater picture of depravity between social class antipathies. In many ways this is a difficult film to watch, but Fassbinder wisely places the main character whom he enacts in a place where his foibles and lack of higher class knowledge can be at once very humorous as well as pitiable. FOX AND HIS FRIENDS has some minor flaws but it has already become a classic in gay cinema repertoire. In German with English subtitles. Grady Harp


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