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The American Friend (1977)
"Der amerikanische Freund" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,885 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 38 critic

Tom Ripley, who deals in forged art, suggests a picture framer he knows would make a good hit man.

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Title: The American Friend (1977)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Lisa Kreuzer ...
Gérard Blain ...
Raoul Minot
Nicholas Ray ...
Samuel Fuller ...
Der Amerikaner
Peter Lilienthal ...
Marcangelo
...
Igraham
Sandy Whitelaw ...
Arzt in Paris
Jean Eustache ...
Freundlicher Mann
...
Rodolphe
Andreas Dedecke ...
David Blue ...
Allan Winter
Stefan Lennert ...
Auktionator
Rudolf Schündler ...
Gantner
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Storyline

Tom Ripley has a sweet deal with an art forger. The forger creates the paintings; Tom sells them. But another criminal business associate wants Tom to go in for an even riskier enterprise: murder. Tom suggests his associate ask a local picture framer instead. That man has a fatal disease, or so it's rumored. More, he has a wife and kid that surely he wouldn't want to leave penniless. Let this picture framer be a hit man, and no one will suspect. The terminally ill craftsman may agree to the misdeed, and several more, but he'll end up needing Tom Ripley in a pinch. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

24 June 1977 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The American Friend  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though primarily based on the Patricia Highsmith novel "Ripley's Game," the film also uses elements, uncredited, of "Ripley Under Ground," which was later adapted to film in 2005 as Ripley Under Ground (2005). Specifically, Ripley's involvement in an art forgery scheme, and the Derwatt character. In the film, Derwatt has seemingly faked his own death and "forges" his own paintings, which Ripley then sells. In "Ripley Under Ground," Derwatt dies before the story begins, and Ripley and his accomplices conspire to trick the public into thinking he's still alive while a Derwatt admirer forges new paintings in his name. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Derwatt: Who is it?
Tom Ripley: It's Ripley.
Derwatt: The door is open.
See more »

Connections

References Easy Rider (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
The Kinks
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User Reviews

 
Another "classic" that should be debunked
25 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I consider myself to be a Wim Wenders fan - sort of. I liked Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas. But The American Friend, despite some great location and architectural camera-work, is really a failed experiment. The problem is that Wenders seems unsure about whose point of view he is really taking. Dennis Hopper's Ripley is certainly more intriguing to him than Ganz's poor sad sack - and he tries to tell it from Ripley's point of view. But Wenders never really gets a handle on what makes the character tick - he's just Hopper doing crazy stuff. Ganz's character is really the soul of the movie - faced with uncertainties and painful decisions, and being at an existential loss to know how to live out his life. His story is the compelling one - and his character is the empathetic one. But we keep bouncing back to Ripley for unconvincing "character arcs" and increasingly more preposterous scenarios.

There are some exciting and suspenseful moments in the middle of the film, but the prolonged and (unintentionally?) comic climax left me disappointed and disengaged. I don't mind films that are ambiguous. In fact, I relish them. This film is seeks to be ambiguous and open ended, is actually crippled by inconsistencies, contradictions, and just plain undeveloped and vague scenarios.

Hopper is hyper-kinetic and is more amusing than threatening. Ganz is the counterpoint, with his quiet, soulful performance.


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