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Der amerikanische Freund
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The American Friend (1977) More at IMDbPro »Der amerikanische Freund (original title)

The American Friend -- Open-ended Trailer from Anchor Bay Entertainment


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Up 80% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
24 June 1977 (West Germany) See more »
Tom Ripley, who deals in forged art, suggests a picture framer he knows would make a good hit man. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
7 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The karmic friend See more (52 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Dennis Hopper ... Tom Ripley

Bruno Ganz ... Jonathan Zimmermann
Lisa Kreuzer ... Marianne Zimmermann

Gérard Blain ... Raoul Minot

Nicholas Ray ... Derwatt

Samuel Fuller ... Der Amerikaner
Peter Lilienthal ... Marcangelo

Daniel Schmid ... Igraham
Sandy Whitelaw ... Arzt in Paris
Jean Eustache ... Freundlicher Mann

Lou Castel ... Rodolphe
Andreas Dedecke ... Daniel
David Blue ... Allan Winter
Stefan Lennert ... Auktionator
Rudolf Schündler ... Gantner
Gerty Molzen ... Alte Dame
Heinz Joachim Klein ... Dr. Gabriel
Heinrich Marmann ... Herr im zug
Satya De La Manitou ... Angie
Axel Schiessler ... Lippo
Adolf Hansen ... Schaffner
Rosemarie Heinikel ... Mona
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Enzo Robutti ... Falling man (uncredited)

Wim Wenders ... Figure Wrapped in Plaster Bandages in Ambulance (uncredited)

Directed by
Wim Wenders 
Writing credits
Patricia Highsmith (novel "Ripley's Game")

Wim Wenders 

Produced by
Renée Gundelach .... supervising producer
Margaret Ménégoz .... line producer
Joachim von Mengershausen .... producer: WDR
Wim Wenders .... producer
Original Music by
Jürgen Knieper 
Cinematography by
Robby Müller 
Film Editing by
Peter Przygodda 
Art Direction by
Heidi Lüdi 
Toni Lüdi 
Costume Design by
Isolde Nist 
Makeup Department
Evelyn Döhring .... makeup artist
Hannelore Uhrmacher .... makeup artist
Production Management
Pierre Cottrell .... production manager
Harald Kügler .... unit manager
Michael Wiedemann .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Emmanuel Clot .... assistant director
Fritz Müller-Scherz .... assistant director
Philippe Schwartz .... first assistant director
Art Department
Peter Braun .... props
Luigi De Luca .... props
Bernhard Frey .... props
Eckerhard Voggenreiter .... props
Sound Department
Milan Bor .... sound mixer
Jochen Bärwald .... assistant sound
Max Galinsky .... sound mixer
Peter Kaiser .... sound
Maryte Kavaliauskas .... sound assistant
Jens-Uwe Laddey .... assistant sound
Martin Müller .... sound mixer
Special Effects by
Theo Nischwitz .... special effects
Klaus Schichan .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Jean-François Casi .... crane operator: Louma crane
Marc Casi .... crane operator: Louma crane
Wolfgang Dell .... lighting technician
Hans Dreher .... grip
Ernst Harinko .... lighting technician
Ekkehard Heinrich .... lighting technician
Edward Lachman .... assistant camera
Jean-Marie Lavalou .... crane operator: Louma crane
Jean-Claude Le Bras .... electrician (as Jean-Claude LeBras)
Robert Morsch .... electrician
Tassilo Peik .... lighting technician
Viktor Sauermann .... lighting technician
Martin Schäfer .... assistant camera
Jacques Steyn .... assistant camera
Hans Volkmann .... lighting technician
Andreas Willim .... electrician
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Renate Zimmermann .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Gisela Bock .... assistant editor
Ingrid Träutlein-Peer .... assistant editor
Barbara von Weitershausen .... assistant editor
Location Management
Heinz Badewitz .... location manager
Pat Kirck .... location manager: New York
Philippe Schwartz .... location manager: Paris
Other crew
Claude Bertonazzi .... production administrator
Anne Povel .... bookkeeper
Harald Vogel .... production assistant
Gretl Zeilinger .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Sickert  art direction & title (as Sickerts)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Der amerikanische Freund" - West Germany (original title)
See more »
125 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:18 | Australia:M | Brazil:14 | Finland:K-16 | France:12 | Netherlands:16 (original rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:12 | UK:15 (original video rating) | UK:A (theatrical rating) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

The film was constantly being rewritten, on a daily basis. Dennis Hopper improvised much of his dialogue. He improvised Ripley's dialogue when he is speaking into the tape recorder, saying that "there is nothing to fear but fear itself," because this scene was being shot on December 7th, the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.See more »
[first lines]
Derwatt:Who is it?
Tom Ripley:It's Ripley.
Derwatt:The door is open.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Easy Rider (1969)See more »
Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That GirlSee more »


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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
The karmic friend, 7 August 2011
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

I'm pretty sure by now that Wenders is not a filmmaker for me to adopt. He tends to process appearances too much, while grasping in the blind what lies behind them. So, what's left is a synthetic beauty of images framed around space and usually a moderately above-par wrap-around into narrative. Oh, surely he's one of the most talented cinematographers we have. I guess that's enough to appreciate in one filmmaker.

But all that is refuted by this film. I'm not sure how much it is that I bring to it, but no matter. It is one of the greatest narratives on karma.

It's all tied together between these two people; one who lives in emptiness, another - a frame artist, charged with restoring - who works in form. Together, these two figments, comprise the one consciousness. Indeed, Wenders often frames them as dual counterpoints that complete into one.

An artist is who he is, because he trusts the eye, the hand. Ripley is who he is, a hollow shell, because he trusts neither. So, we have the frame artist become framed inside an illusion operated by the other, a narrative that unfolds as gangster stuff around Europe. It's a wonderful film-within device; the movie illusion generated by the deceived mind's eye (he sees a telegram, but is it what he thinks?).

Wenders is such a distinctly Western filmmaker though. Notice the notions. Ripley is empty, but empty in the sense that something essentially vital is missing. And the artist is not replenished by his work in form but frustrated for ambition and money, again our Occidental idea where an artist's worth measures in success and not the joy of work itself. It is a world reeled in by craving for things that are not there, implying a dissatisfaction with what is.

Empty space is the balancing element, where we can flow into for release. It's magical in the two scenes of crime, extended wanderings in a subway and onboard a train, silent like Melville would have it. Le Samourai seems to be the inspiring visual text. It is about walls that enclose - whereupon we track and lose and find again, and life becomes this game of hide-and-seek,

The poignant revelation of karmic wheels? Near the end, when Ripley reveals why the scheme, why the hapless stooge was dangling on unseen strings the whole time. However far-fetched it may seem or paint Ripley in a diabolic light, it is all about sowing seeds. And for Ripley as well, who realizes only too late that what completes him (who can, forgive the literal word play, 'frame', thus contain, his emptiness) is the connection with the man whose fate he has already set in motion.

But the thing is this karmic connection that bounds these two together, the setting in motion. Having realized he values the connection, Ripley swoops - like the hand of god - inside the created narrative to assist him. Eventually, the connection is shown to wire them together across space, implying now a metaphysical communion.

It's this that may keep the film at a distance; although effective in the sequences that resemble a thriller, it is a film metaphysically heavy and long with silence. It is not comfortably bittersweet, nor quirky like other Wenders films. This is why I value it so as opposed to those others, because it is a lucid picture.

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How did she find Ripley's house? t_oskay
this movie is great!!! carlaisthe
Lynchian undertones? mancunia
hopper's best performance? teejay6682
Does anyone have the script? jacob-m-chase
what was the light-as-air square gold foil Bruno Ganz put on his hand tpc-9
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