7 user 9 critic

Decoder (1984)

A burger shop employee discovers that by changing the background music from pleasantly calming to industrial "noise" music, he can incite riots and a revolution against the looming power of the government.




Klaus Maeck (screenplay), Klaus Maeck (story) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
FM Einheit FM Einheit ... F.M.
William Rice William Rice ... Jaeger
Christiane Felscherinow Christiane Felscherinow ... Christiana
Britzhold Baron De Belle Britzhold Baron De Belle ... H-Burger Trainer
Matthias Fuchs ... H-Burger Manager
William S. Burroughs ... Old Man
Genesis P-Orridge ... High Priest
Slim Darko Slim Darko ... Pirate
Erwin Lieske Erwin Lieske ... Pirate
Mona Mur Mona Mur ... Pirate (as Sabine Bredy)
Sigurd Mueller Sigurd Mueller ... Pirate
Matthias Wein Matthias Wein ... Pirate
Peter Zoyt Peter Zoyt ... Pirate
Alexander Hacke ... Pirate (as Alexander von Borsig)
Jeff Moss Jeff Moss ... Pirate


A burger shop employee discovers that by changing the background music from pleasantly calming to industrial "noise" music, he can incite riots and a revolution against the looming power of the government.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


muzak is more than music


Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Most of this film was shot in 1982 in Hamburg, Germany. See more »


Featured in William S. Burroughs: Commissioner of Sewers (1991) See more »


Compressed Metal
Einstürzende Neubauten (as Einstuerzende Neubauten)
See more »

User Reviews

2 November 1999 | by J. SteedSee all my reviews

A film with the simple story subject of a man who wants to oppose the ever present muzak in a hamburger restaurant and other places deserves any credit it can get, surely if it has been made into this remarkable and very stylistic German cult films of the 80's. Inspired by W.S. Burroughs, who also has a cameo, the makers came up with a very tense, very good edited and very rhythmic film that invites the viewer not only to watch, but also to feel the poetry of the film.

There is the wonderful cinematography by Johanna Heer, giving in general the film a steal blue colour. Variations are made for the different characters and different situations. In an interview producer Klaus Maeck may have said that to him this style seemed to be exaggerated, I think that the film could not have done without this cinematographic style.

Then there is the very good music that accompanies the film, and adding to the rhythm of the film. The script, simple as it may be, is well written, although there are a couple of flaws, the main being that it takes too long. But do not expect a linear told story, this is not that kind of a film; you have to carefully study and interpret every image to know what is going on. This does not mean that the makers were not able to tell a story, it is part of the overall poetic style: the viewer has to go through this film.

Though the acting may not be of greatest importance as the filmed image is main story teller, some of the acting should have been much better. With all due respect to Christiane F., she never comes further than saying her lines. Bill Rice as the undercover agent is the best and seems to have walked out of a Raymond Chandler novel.

The riots you see are actual riots the makers made use of. The riots accompanied President Reagan's visit to Berlin. After seeing this film you probably will not enter any hamburger restaurant again, which to me may be the strongest reason to watch the film. I recommend this to the discriminating film buff. What a pity that this team never produced another one. (8/10)

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West Germany


German | English | Portuguese

Release Date:

19 February 1984 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Dekoder See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fett Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (color and black & white archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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