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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

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 Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Much on My Mind
Written by Ray Davies
Performed by The Kinks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I want to tell you how incredible this film is..
7 June 2005 | by byrmcusytySee all my reviews

I want to tell you how incredibly joyous this film is...but I worry that I'll tell you the wrong way and sound ridiculous. So don't read any further. Just see the movie for yourself.

Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz are fantastic as the perverse Ripley and his randomly picked/stalked friend. I've never seen a buddy-buddy film where the bonding is done quite like this, unreal. Unreal how deep they go. No, really, it's that amazing.

Odd things that I liked: I like the way the two shift casually between English and German. I like the Bartok-ish music. The cinematography is great, and on the DVD commentary you will hear Wenders talk about Robby's inventiveness with gels. The train scene is one crisis after another but also contains some hilarious bits (the business with the tickets). Another powerful moment takes place later at Tom's house where they try to execute a reverse-ambush. Jonathan, pipe in hand, looking down sadly at the henchman he'd just sent down for good.

What else do I like without revealing too much of the plot? Gee, I guess I like everything about this film. This is one of those films (Je vous salue, Marie; Paris Texas; Lost in Translation; Chungking Express are others) that I LOVE so dearly that I hate myself for talking about it because it's inevitable that I will be wronging it with the inadequacy of my language (ie trying to capture something that is beyond words).


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