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Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)

TV Mini-Series  |  Not Rated  |   |  Drama
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In late-1920s Berlin, Franz Biberkopf is released from prison and vows to go straight; however he soon finds himself embroiled in the city's criminal underworld.

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Complete series cast summary:
Günter Lamprecht ...
 Franz Biberkopf (14 episodes, 1980)
Claus Holm ...
 Wirt / ... (12 episodes, 1980)
 Eva (12 episodes, 1980)
Franz Buchrieser ...
 Gottfried Meck (11 episodes, 1980)
Brigitte Mira ...
 Frau Bast / ... (10 episodes, 1980)
Roger Fritz ...
 Herbert / ... (9 episodes, 1980)
 Reinhold Hoffmann (9 episodes, 1980)
 Mieze (7 episodes, 1980)
 Theo (7 episodes, 1980)
Ivan Desny ...
 Pums / ... (7 episodes, 1980)
 Bruno (7 episodes, 1980)
Vitus Zeplichal ...
 Rudi (7 episodes, 1980)
Barbara Valentin ...
 Ida (6 episodes, 1980)


This film, which is basically the longest narrative film ever made, is a 15-1/2 hour episodic exploration of the character of Franz Biberkopf, "hero" of Alfred Döblin's acclaimed novel, as well as the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin that he inhabits. Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

10 August 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Berlin Alexanderplatz: Remastered  »

Box Office


DEM 13,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(14 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Released, fully, on DVD for the first time on October 2007. See more »


Referenced in The Critic: A Little Deb Will Do You (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Modernist Masterpiece
27 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This mega-movie is an expressionist, modernist masterpiece that combines the best of Wellesian cinema (expressionistic) with Godardian cinema (modernist). The (Godardian) voice-over snatches of random news items and medical health items (referenced in the prior 'review') are simply being faithful to Dobler's novel, which is a somewhat Germanic version of Joyce's Ulysses. But instead of the Joycian modernist take on the travels of Odysseus, Dobler's novel presented us with a modernist take on the Passion Play.

This film is not for simpletons. Just like a long, great novel… there will be stretches that will bore you a bit… and other stretches that are riveting and will break your heart.

Two major points:

1) Don't get too caught up with what some people see as a form of homo-eroticism between Franz Biberkopf and Reinhold. Although expressionistic, Fassbinder has presented the material with enough objectivity that different people will come away with different subtexts. Fassbinder has explained the film as a love story between Franz and Reinhold… but Fassbinder was bisexual.

Franz is a grown up naive child. One could easily see Franz's 'curiosity' about Reinhold as a longing for an absent father. Eva, the one constant in Franz's life, could represent his longing for an absent/replacement mother/big sister/protector. How else to explain Franz's reluctance to mate with her?

2) The two-hour epilogue contains an extended surrealistic pastiche that upsets 90% of the people who like the previous (more realistic) 13 hours.

Biberkopf's brain snaps like a twig! How better to explain the mixture of chemicals… the bad cocktail suddenly coursing through his head? It's brilliant in it's off-puttingness! Bad cocktails don't taste good! Some people don't understand how Lou Reed and Kraftwerk can be on the soundtrack when Franz (in insane delirium) is living in 1928:

People… that's what they call 'modernist'. That's what they call… 'expressionist'. Were you expecting Robert Flaherty in a Fassbinder film?

Epilogue: See the film. If THE DECALOGUE is the great cinematic short story collection… BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ is the great cinematic novel.

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