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The American Friend (1977)

Der amerikanische Freund (original title)
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Tom Ripley, who deals in forged art, suggests a picture framer he knows would make a good hit man.

Director:

Wim Wenders

Writers:

Patricia Highsmith (novel), Wim Wenders
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6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Hopper ... Tom Ripley
Bruno Ganz ... Jonathan Zimmermann
Lisa Kreuzer ... Marianne Zimmermann
Gérard Blain ... Raoul Minot
Nicholas Ray ... Derwatt
Samuel Fuller ... Der Amerikaner
Peter Lilienthal Peter Lilienthal ... Marcangelo
Daniel Schmid ... Igraham
Sandy Whitelaw Sandy Whitelaw ... Arzt in Paris
Jean Eustache ... Freundlicher Mann
Lou Castel ... Rodolphe
Andreas Dedecke Andreas Dedecke ... Daniel
David Blue David Blue ... Allan Winter
Stefan Lennert Stefan Lennert ... Auktionator
Rudolf Schündler ... Gantner
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Storyline

Tom Ripley has a sweet deal with an art forger. The forger creates the paintings; Tom sells them. But another criminal business associate wants Tom to go in for an even riskier enterprise: murder. Tom suggests his associate ask a local picture framer instead. That man has a fatal disease, or so it's rumored. More, he has a wife and kid that surely he wouldn't want to leave penniless. Let this picture framer be a hit man, and no one will suspect. The terminally ill craftsman may agree to the misdeed, and several more, but he'll end up needing Tom Ripley in a pinch. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | France

Language:

German | English | French

Release Date:

28 September 1977 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The American Friend See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wim Wenders has said that unlike most films, in which most of the sound is re-recorded in a studio, 99.5% of the sound in the film was recorded on location. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Derwatt: Who is it?
Tom Ripley: It's Ripley.
Derwatt: The door is open.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The acting credits are divided into: the four leads, the rest of the cast, and the six directors who make guest appearances ("Als Gäste die Regisseure"). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Barcelona (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Much on My Mind
Written by Ray Davies
Performed by The Kinks
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User Reviews

 
Another "classic" that should be debunked
25 August 2005 | by vidripSee all my reviews

I consider myself to be a Wim Wenders fan - sort of. I liked Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas. But The American Friend, despite some great location and architectural camera-work, is really a failed experiment. The problem is that Wenders seems unsure about whose point of view he is really taking. Dennis Hopper's Ripley is certainly more intriguing to him than Ganz's poor sad sack - and he tries to tell it from Ripley's point of view. But Wenders never really gets a handle on what makes the character tick - he's just Hopper doing crazy stuff. Ganz's character is really the soul of the movie - faced with uncertainties and painful decisions, and being at an existential loss to know how to live out his life. His story is the compelling one - and his character is the empathetic one. But we keep bouncing back to Ripley for unconvincing "character arcs" and increasingly more preposterous scenarios.

There are some exciting and suspenseful moments in the middle of the film, but the prolonged and (unintentionally?) comic climax left me disappointed and disengaged. I don't mind films that are ambiguous. In fact, I relish them. This film is seeks to be ambiguous and open ended, is actually crippled by inconsistencies, contradictions, and just plain undeveloped and vague scenarios.

Hopper is hyper-kinetic and is more amusing than threatening. Ganz is the counterpoint, with his quiet, soulful performance.


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