23 user 62 critic

Tenderness of the Wolves (1973)

Die Zärtlichkeit der Wölfe (original title)
Story of a gay serial killer who murders young boys so he can serve them as dinner to his circle of fellow cannibals.


Ulli Lommel


Kurt Raab
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kurt Raab ... Insp. Fritz Haarmann
Jeff Roden Jeff Roden ... Hans Grans
Margit Carstensen ... Frau Lindner
Ingrid Caven ... Dora
Wolfgang Schenck ... Kommissar Braun
Brigitte Mira ... Louise Engel
Rainer Hauer Rainer Hauer ... Kommissar Müller
Barbara Bertram Barbara Bertram ... Elli
Rainer Werner Fassbinder ... Wittowski
Heinrich Giskes Heinrich Giskes ... Lungis
Friedrich Karl Praetorius Friedrich Karl Praetorius ... Kurt Fromm
Karl von Liebezeit Karl von Liebezeit ... Herr Engel
Walter Kaltheuner Walter Kaltheuner ... Schuhmacher
El Hedi ben Salem ... Französischer Soldat
Rainer Will Rainer Will ... Opfer (as Reiner Will)


In 1925, in Germany, Fritz Haarmann is a homosexual, thief and sneak, having a special license from the police. He sells meat in the black market. He also kills boys and young men, drinking their blood, quarter-sewing their bodies and throwing away the parts in a river. Certainly what he sells in the black market is human meat. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Because of the limited budget, the story of Fritz Haarmann (1879-1925) is settled in the late 1940s. See more »


Waiting on the stations platform a train with 1970ies Bundesbahn-wagon (type "Silberlinge") leaves the station. The film is supposed to act in the 1920ies. See more »


Insp. Fritz Haarmann: Take my little life. I am not afraid of death through the axe of the hangman. It is my salvation. I am happy to give my death and my blood for atonement into God's arms and justice. It could've been 30, but also 40. I don't know. There are victims that you don't know about. But they are not the ones you're thinking of. They were the most beautiful ones I had.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Mein Tod und Blut gebe ich gern zur Sühne in Gottes Arme und Gerechtigkeit" Fritz Haarmann (I will gladly give my death and blood as a reparation into the arms of god and justice) See more »

User Reviews

Bizarre Tale of Murder and Cannibalism
20 October 2016 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Tenderness of the Wolves (1973)

*** (out of 4)

Homosexual serial killer Fritz Haarmann (Kurt Raab) stalks the young boys and men of Germany as he lures them back to his apartment. If they're lucky it's just a sexual thing but for dozens of young people they were lured back to Haarmann's apartment where they were murdered and eaten.

Ulli Lommel's TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES certainly isn't a film that's going to appeal to many for a number of reasons. For starters, if you're expecting a horror film then you're barking up the wrong tree. I guess you could call this a crime picture with horror elements but if you're wanting the gory kind of story then you'll be disappointed because this is one of the most laid back thrillers that you'll ever see. Of course, the subject matter itself is another thing that is going to keep most people away.

Lommel certainly deserves a lot of credit for not delivering your average crime picture but instead he goes for more of a bizarre atmosphere. What's so strange about this picture is that you're watching a monster who murders and eats children yet you don't ever really hate him. What I liked about the movie is that it's really not that judgmental on its subject as it doesn't try to make him a villain, a misunderstood psycho or anything else. Lommel basically just tells us the story and he really keeps all emotion out of the picture.

Technically speaking this is an extremely well-made movie. The camera-work is wonderful and there's no doubt that the director builds up a rather eerie atmosphere with ease. The subject matter is a very dark one yet Lommel never sends the material over-the-top or into a graphic area. It should go without saying but the biggest reason the film works so well is due to the performance by Raab. He's rather remarkable at how good he is in the role and not for a second do you ever feel as if you're watching an actor. You really do feel as if you're watching a troubled mind work his way into the trust of these victims.

TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES has a lot of similarities with Fritz Lang's M, another German movie about a serial killer. While this film doesn't reach the same levels of that one, this Lommel picture certainly deserves to be better known than it is.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 23 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



West Germany



Release Date:

12 July 1973 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Tenderness of the Wolves See more »


Box Office


DEM250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tango Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Everything That's New on Netflix in December

No need to waste time endlessly browsing—here's the entire lineup of new movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix this month.

See the full list

Recently Viewed