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Kings of the Road (1976)

Im Lauf der Zeit (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | January 1977 (USA)
A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.


Wim Wenders


Wim Wenders

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Rüdiger Vogler ... Bruno Winter
Hanns Zischler ... Robert Lander
Lisa Kreuzer ... Pauline, cashier
Rudolf Schündler ... Robert's Father
Marquard Bohm ... Man Who Lost His Wife
Hans Dieter Trayer Hans Dieter Trayer ... Paul, garage owner (as Dieter Traier)
Franziska Stömmer Franziska Stömmer ... Cinema owner
Patric Kreuzer Patric Kreuzer ... Little boy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wim Wenders ... Spectator at Pauline's Theater


Near the Eastern borders with the West Germany, Bruno, a solitary permanent citizen of the road and film projection equipment repairman, witnesses the sad sight of a VW beetle car storming straight into the River Elbe. However, after a while, the depressed driver, Robert, will instinctively accept an offer for a lift in Bruno's repair van, and just like that, an impromptu relationship will begin in the background of the gloomy German countryside, visiting dilapidated movie theatres for maintenance, one small town after another. No one really knows how long is the road that stretches out ahead of them, after all, the only thing that matters is one's commitment to a precious ideal. Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dieser männer bringen was ins rollen. See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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West Germany


German | English

Release Date:

January 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kings of the Road See more »


Box Office


DEM 680,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shot in sequence, with the exception of the prologue. See more »


The VW beetle driven into the Elbe river is not visible anymore when Robert reaches the waterside. Later after Bruno hands over an espresso to Robert, the beetle is shown as finally sinking. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits provide the aspect ratio and other technical specifications of the film to come. See more »


References Nachts im grünen Kakadu (1957) See more »


King of the Road
Written by Roger Miller
Performed by Roger Miller
See more »

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User Reviews

Cinematographic elements impressive and essential
23 October 2016 | by lukerisherSee all my reviews

Robby Muller is the Cinematographer for the 1976 movie "Kings Of The Road" Robby shows himself as a stylistic and unique film maker. This movie is not only in German, but otherwise very heavily based on emotional concept instead of a hard, concrete story line. The dialogue is a minimum, the shots tell the story, the theme are vague and abstract. At it's core the movie is looking at two characters, one is a projector repairman and the other a depressed man who recently divorced his wife. The two characters meet and travel together and form a relationship as one deal with depression and both simply live as humans. The elements of film and cinematography the Muller used were essential in making this story. In this film one of the most interesting things is the use of cinematic motifs. Similar shots and themes were repeated throughout the film. This created the effect of themes in the story being re enforced and portraying the same theme gave emotional significance to the moment. Because so much of the film is based on non dialogue or explicit story, but more based on emotional elements this way of using similar shots to link emotions to the views understanding of the story was extremely effective. For example one cinematic theme that Muller uses is a specific shot of the truck door with a shaving brush and shaving cream propped on it, when one of the characters opens the door the shaving setup falls. This shot is repeated several times throughout the film and in every scene it's used, it's used to show the characters starting a part of their journey. It's used when they first meet, used when one leave, used when they meet a different character. It's significance is clear as a gateway shot and the view understands this and associates this shots with a new leg of the story. The recurring shots help develop the viewers association build the story which is essential because the story is hard to grasp for the most part. One of the most unique characteristics of the film is the choice to make it black and white. The film was stylized with this black and white effect and also how this black and white effect affected the shadows and other lighting elements as well. The use reinforced the films overall themes of dealing with human depression. The black and white was a cleaner way to expose the humanness of the story. The lack of color was more effective for telling this story dealing with depression. The side effect of the black and white was that it created higher contrast and deeper shadows which made the overall scene more depressing in part. Similarly much of the film was shot at darker times of the day and night. The lighting was either natural or low lit industrial areas. When inside the scene most likely had a signal lamp or light on and the characters were partially lit. When outside the scene was mostly sunlit and the shot was wide, this was used to invoke a different theme of the largeness of the world in contrast with the minuscule characters. The lighting in the film matched the themes and message of the film overall. Through camera work Muller used a collection of three or four shot throughout the majority of the movie. These include a moving medium shot of the character, widescreen full shot of the landscape (especially including the truck), and a close up static shot of a character's face. These shots are recurring and the way they are used and inter-layer shows a lot about the themes of the movie. In a film dealing with human existence and a mixture of human depression and hope the use of the wide shots and the close ups create the big picture view contrasted with intimate human realities. The moving shots show the environment around them. For example because of the lack of dialogue and story line one of the most character developing moments in the film is the projector repairman buying a hot dog and coke and walking back to the van. In the shot choices we see the extreme view of the world, intimate view of the individuals, and the moving shots of how they interact with the world. These shots basically narrate the story more than any other element. Overall the film is very interesting. The film is stripped of many things such as color, dialogue, and an action packed story line, as a result, the cinematography shows through clearly and noticeably. The majority of the storytelling is told through cinematographic elements and Robby Muller utilizes them well to tell a fairly abstract story.

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