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The American Friend (1977)

Der amerikanische Freund (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 28 September 1977 (France)
Trailer
3:22 | Trailer
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
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 ... 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
Learn more

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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

Taglines:

...transforms Patricia Highsmith's Ripley's Game into a gripping European noir.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was constantly being rewritten, on a daily basis. Dennis Hopper improvised much of his dialogue. He improvised Ripley's dialogue when he is speaking into the tape recorder, saying that "there is nothing to fear but fear itself," because this scene was being shot on December 7th, the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 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 Unique Congratulation (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
The Kinks
See more »

User Reviews

 
Wenders's Game
2 December 2008 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

Patricia Highsmith began infusing the world of film with creepy stories as early as 1951, with Hitchcock's masterpiece 'Strangers on a Train'. Her novels about the criminal character Ripley have been popular with several leading directors, and here Wenders has a go at her novel 'Ripley's Game'. It is not totally successful, and it is 'a real downer', with its gloom unalleviated. But it is yet another of Wenders's great films, just terribly depressing and leaving a sickly taste in the mouth. But of course that was what Highsmith aimed at, and Wenders duly executed. The main theme of the film is complicity, and the sub-text is the thin veneer of morality that lies across the surface of most respectable people, which can be more brittle than we imagine and under stress can reveal a spider's web of myriad cracks which quickly reduce the most smoothly groomed personality to a crinkled mass, like a shattered mirror which hangs on in its frame and refuses to drop. Here the shattered mirror is played by Bruno Ganz, a respectable and moral person leading a quiet life as a picture framer in Hamburg (a marvellously gloomy city). Lisa Kreuzer, who had made several Wenders films already, plays his silent and worried wife with deep intensity, and requires no lines of dialogue to convey her fears. Ganz believes he is dying, so he takes drastic measures to secure financial security for his wife and child. Ripley is played with subtlety and genius by Dennis Hopper, as an amiable American in a cowboy hat with a worm in his soul, but who beneath the criminal levels of his personality has an overwhelming and desperate craving for a real friend who is a nice person. We then see the complicity between these two opposites evolve through a harrowing tale of murder and corruption, with the pathetic Ganz becoming increasingly brazen and the brazen Hopper becoming increasingly pathetic, thus merging into one another. We see Hopper's essential loneliness when he is stripped psychologically naked by events. Ganz thinks he needs Hopper, but it is Hopper who really needs Ganz. Highsmith was intrigued by concealed needs, subliminal agendas, and dominance swops. This is a deep psychological melodrama between two men who in normal life would never even meet, much less end up as buddies. Wenders plunges in and gleefully excplores this moral maze with all the eagerness of a ferret in a rabbit hole. What fun he has! And film director Nicholas Ray is marvellous in his cameo as an aged painter of forgeries, living under an assumed name after having faked his own death. Everything about this film is morally dubious, and that is the point. After all, isn't most of life morally dubious? And aren't most people, when put to the test? Here, two unlike objects are struck together and both surprisingly turn out to be flints, producing fire and setting the kindling alight. Watch the blaze.


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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:

DEM3,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,978
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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