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The Tin Drum (1979)

Die Blechtrommel (original title)
R | | Drama, War | 11 April 1980 (USA)
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In 1924, Oskar Matzerath is born in the Free City of Danzig. At age three, he falls down a flight of stairs and stops growing. In 1939, World War II breaks out.
Won 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mario Adorf ... Alfred Matzerath
Angela Winkler ... Agnes Matzerath
David Bennent ... Oskar Matzerath
Katharina Thalbach ... Maria Matzerath
Daniel Olbrychski ... Jan Bronski
Tina Engel Tina Engel ... Anna Koljaiczek (jung)
Berta Drews Berta Drews ... Anna Koljaiczek
Roland Teubner Roland Teubner ... Joseph Koljaiczek
Tadeusz Kunikowski Tadeusz Kunikowski ... Onkel Vinzenz
Andréa Ferréol ... Lina Greff (as Andréa Ferreol)
Heinz Bennent ... Greff
Ilse Pagé Ilse Pagé ... Gretchen Scheffler
Werner Rehm Werner Rehm ... Scheffler
Käte Jaenicke Käte Jaenicke ... Mutter Truczinski
Helmut Brasch Helmut Brasch ... Der Alte Heilandt (as Helmuth Brasch)
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Storyline

Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II. So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle-class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time. However, (almost) nobody listens to him, so the catastrophe goes on... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Academy Award Winner Best Foreign Language Film 1979 See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

German | Italian | Hebrew | Polish | Russian | Latin

Release Date:

11 April 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tin Drum See more »

Filming Locations:

Wedding, Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (1980 cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In June 1997, at the urging of a Christian fundamentalist group and after viewing only a few isolated scenes, an Oklahoma County District Court judge declared that this film contained child pornography (as defined by Oklahoma's obscenity laws) and as such was illegal. Without obtaining the necessary search warrants or court orders, police in Oklahoma City confiscated all copies of the film from libraries and rental outlets. They intimidated video store managers into supplying them with the addresses of those currently renting the movie, went to those homes, and confiscated those tapes as well. The local District Attorney declared that anyone possessing a copy of the movie would be arrested. Within weeks the D.A. was forced to back down on this statement, and by December most of the seized videos had been returned. By October of 1998, over the course of rulings in several related lawsuits, the U.S. federal courts found that the confiscation of the tapes had been unconstitutional, and ruled that the movie did not violate Oklahoma's state laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals closed the final case in May 2001, and the movie is once again available for rental in Oklahoma County. See more »

Goofs

While depicting the picnic scene on top of the bunker roof, in the background are clearly visible remains of the Mulberry harbor, Arromanches, France. This artificial harbor was set up days after the D-Day landing, yet the scene plays way before it. See more »

Quotes

Agnes Matzerath: Don't expect me to touch your eels.
Alfred Matzerath: Don't put on airs.
Agnes Matzerath: I'll never eat fish again. Certainly not eels.
Alfred Matzerath: You've always eaten them, and you knew where they came from!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2010, a director's cut was released in Germany which runs ca. 20 minutes longer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Der Todesking (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Strangely Beautiful
23 September 2003 | by Ymir4See all my reviews

"That day, thinking about the grown-up world and my own future, I decided to call a halt. To stop growing then and there and remain a three-year-old, a gnome, once and for all"

Goodness, what a marvel this film is! It is certainly the greatest film from Germany that I have seen yet. Winner of the 1979 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, "The Tin Drum" follows the life of a boy named Oskar. After seeing how ludicrous adults act, Oskar decides to stop his growth, and stay three years old forever by falling down the stairs. He succeeds, and the fall has stopped his growth. Aside from the hault of growth, the fall eqips him with two special powers that he regularly manifests. The lesser of these two powers, is repeatedly pounding his tin drum, which he absolutely refuses to let go of. Oskar's undeniable power is to let out a high pitched shriek that will shatter any glass he directs it at. Does it sound strange? Well, the film is much stranger, but also much more beautiful than my description.

The film follows our little Oscar over a period of around two decades, through World War II in Germany. We follow Oskar through his many sexual, emotional, tragic, funny, and beautiful exploits. An absolutely important credit must be given to actor David Bennett, who plays young Oskar. He portrays Oskar as an infant, as a three year-old, as a six year-old, as a twelve year-old, as a 16 year-old, as a 21 year-old...well, you get the picture. Bennett was only 11 at the time, and his performance is very impressive.

I haven't seen very many German films from the last thirty years, but most of the ones I have seen (the excellent "Vanishing," and the immensely mediocre "White Rose") haven't had very good scores. "The Tin Drum" has a very slight, but very servicable, score by the famous Maurice Jarre. The score has an emotional theme played in only a few scenes (notably, the ending), it also has an innocent little music box theme, and surprisingly a cool waltz for scenes involving members of the circus (a big part of the second-half of the film). A very good score. To my knowledge, it was released on LP when the film was released, and on a CD pressed in Japan sometime in the 90's. I read that the (sadly out of print) Kino DVD includes the isolated score as an extra.

It's an excellent film that I strongly connected with, but I can see many people not liking it, it is VERY strange, but I am somebody who has always found VERY strange things extremely beautiful, and "The Tin Drum" is no exception. Over-all, I consider this film a classic, and I'll once again state that it is certainly the greatest film from Germany that I have seen yet.


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