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Effi Briest (1974)

Fontane Effi Briest (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, History | 16 June 1977 (USA)
In the nineteenth century, seventeen year old Effi Briest is married to the older Baron von Instetten and moves into a house, that she believes has a ghost, in a small isolated Baltic town.... See full summary »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Hanna Schygulla ... Effi Briest
Wolfgang Schenck ... Instetten
Ulli Lommel ... Major Crampas
Lilo Pempeit Lilo Pempeit ... Frau Briest
Herbert Steinmetz Herbert Steinmetz ... Herr Briest
Ursula Strätz Ursula Strätz ... Roswitha
Irm Hermann ... Johanna
Karlheinz Böhm ... Wüllersdorf (as Karl-Heinz Böhm)
Karl Scheydt ... Kruse
Barbara Lass ... Polnische Köchin
Rudolf Lenz Rudolf Lenz ... Geheimrat Rummschüttel
Andrea Schober ... Annie von Instetten
Eva Mattes ... Hulda
Theo Tecklenburg Theo Tecklenburg ... Pastor Niemeyer
An Dorthe Braker An Dorthe Braker ... Frau Pasche (as Anndorthe Braker)


In the nineteenth century, seventeen year old Effi Briest is married to the older Baron von Instetten and moves into a house, that she believes has a ghost, in a small isolated Baltic town. She soon bears a daughter, Annie, and hires the lapsed Catholic Roswitha to look after her. Effi is lonely when her husband is away on business, so she spends time riding and walking along the shore with Major Crampas. Instetten is promoted to Ministerial Councillor and the family moves to Berlin, where Effi enjoys the social life. Six years later, the Baron is given letters from Crampas to Effi that convince him that they had an affair. He feels obliged to challenge Crampas to a duel and banish Effi from the house. Written by Will Gilbert

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Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


The complete title of the film is one of the longest titles (if not the longest) in film history: "Fontane Effi Briest oder viele, die eine Ahnung haben von ihren Möglichkeiten und ihren Bedürfnissen und trotzdem das herrschende System in ihrem Kopf akzeptieren durch ihre Taten und es somit festigen und durchaus bestätigen" See more »


Effi Briest: One's associations are connected not only with one's personal experiences, but also with what one has heard or happens to know.
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Featured in Century of Cinema: Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995) See more »


Havanaise in E major, Op. 83
Composed by Camille Saint-Saëns
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User Reviews

A Woman's Heart
15 June 2008 | by zolaaarSee all my reviews

Maybe Theodor Fontane does not belong to the outstanding writers of world literature (he would be too provincial for the whole wide world perhaps), but nevertheless, his poetic realism and his sophisticated powers of observation lead his stories to a deep, often radical criticism of social conventions.

That's probably the reason why Fassbinder adopted Fontane's most famous novel "Effi Briest" - to tell the story from the writer's very point of view, as far as possible and to make the social mechanisms of oppression and the assimilation of the individual to that obvious. His concern is already pointed out in the exceptionally long title of the film, which I can imagine is the longest in history and translates something like this: Fontane – Effi Briest or: Many who have a notion of their abilities and needs and nevertheless accept the current regime in their minds through their deeds and therefore stabilize and pretty much affirm it

The atmosphere of coldness, of distance (which is, thanks to Fassbinder, at times really excruciating), of alienation is thematised through the cinematic techniques: mirror shots of the actors with a sometimes very blurred camera, misalignment of the camera by statues, flowers or curtains, cross-fades of dialogues and blindingly white fade-outs which sometimes abruptly interrupts a scene. In this sense, Fassbinder tightened Fontane's criticism to a maximum, but he wouldn't be Fassbinder otherwise.

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West Germany



Release Date:

16 June 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Effi Briest See more »


Box Office


DEM750,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,623, 16 February 2003

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Tango Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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