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The Tin Drum (1979)

Die Blechtrommel (original title)
R | | Drama, War | 11 April 1980 (USA)
1:29 | Trailer
In 1924, Oskar Matzerath is born in the Free City of Danzig. At age three, he falls down a flight of stairs and stops growing. In 1939, World War II breaks out.
Won 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mario Adorf ... Alfred Matzerath
Angela Winkler ... Agnes Matzerath
David Bennent ... Oskar Matzerath
Katharina Thalbach ... Maria Matzerath
Daniel Olbrychski ... Jan Bronski
Tina Engel Tina Engel ... Anna Koljaiczek (jung)
Berta Drews Berta Drews ... Anna Koljaiczek
Roland Teubner Roland Teubner ... Joseph Koljaiczek
Tadeusz Kunikowski Tadeusz Kunikowski ... Onkel Vinzenz
Andréa Ferréol ... Lina Greff (as Andréa Ferreol)
Heinz Bennent ... Greff
Ilse Pagé ... Gretchen Scheffler
Werner Rehm Werner Rehm ... Scheffler
Käte Jaenicke Käte Jaenicke ... Mutter Truczinski
Helmut Brasch Helmut Brasch ... Der Alte Heilandt (as Helmuth Brasch)


Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II. So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle-class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time. However, (almost) nobody listens to him, so the catastrophe goes on... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A savage, sweeping epic of society in chaos. [Video Australia] See more »


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The film was initially banned in Ireland. After an appeal, it was released theatrically, uncut, in 1981. See more »


In one scene at the table, Agnes holds a fork in her left hand. In the next shot, she holds the fork in her right hand. See more »


Maria Matzerath: [Oskar walks in secretly to find Alfred having sex with Maria] A little more. Just a little. But be careful
Alfred Matzerath: Don't worry
Maria Matzerath: Almost. Almost. Just a little more! But be careful!
[Oskar jumps on Alfred, interrupting their sexual act. Alfred gets up and slaps him before the upset Maria stops him]
Maria Matzerath: Alfred, stop it! Is it the kid's fault you're not careful?
Alfred Matzerath: Me? Who kept asking for more?
Maria Matzerath: I said, 'Be careful, it's coming soon.' But it never came at all!
Alfred Matzerath: Never enough. You're all the same
Maria Matzerath: In, out, finished. That's ...
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Alternate Versions

Although reluctant to do so the BBFC were forced to remove 19 secs from UK cinema and video versions under the Protection of Children Act to remove a scene showing Oskar pressing his face against Maria's pubic region. The cuts were waived in 2003 when it was decided that the scene did not constitute an indecent image. See more »


Referenced in Mindhunter: Episode #2.5 (2019) See more »

User Reviews

A strange, surrealist visit to war time Germany.
17 September 1998 | by Cormega-2See all my reviews

The Tin Drum is one of the strangest films that I have seen in a long time. Strange not necessarily being a bad thing. It contains a feel similar to that of other eastern european films. It follows the life of Oskar, a three year old German boy who refuses to stop playing the tin drum that he received for his birthday. After viewing how ludicrous adults act, Oskar decides to stop his growth, and stay three years old forever.

The Tin Drum has been banned in Oklahoma, and was the feature of some programs on censored films. The cause of this controversy is the fact that Oskar grows old, but never changes his toddler appearance. This plot line troubles some, especially when Oskar reaches puberty and becomes interested in the fairer sex.

Despite the controversies, The Tin Drum is a film that should not be missed. It is definetely one of the best films to come out of Germany in the past 20 years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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German | Italian | Hebrew | Polish | Russian | Latin

Release Date:

11 April 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tin Drum See more »

Filming Locations:

Wedding, Berlin, Germany See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (1980 cut) | (Director's Cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)


Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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