Wenders: The American Friend


The Main 3 Sun, Jan 17, 2016 7:30 PM
The Main 3 Tue, Jan 19, 2016 4:30 PM
The Main 3 Sat, Jan 23, 2016 4:30 PM
Ticket Prices
General Public:$8.50
Film Info
English Title:Wim Wenders Retrospective: The American Friend
Wim Wenders Retrospective
Release Year:1977
Runtime:126 min
Festivals & Awards:1977 German Critics Prize Winner
Country/Region:West Germany
Director:Wim Wenders
Producer:Joachim von Mengershausen
Wim Wenders
Cinematographer:Robby Müller
Editor:Peter Przygodda
Principal Cast:Bruno Ganz
Dennis Hopper
Gérard Blain
Screenwriter:Wim Wenders
Patricia Highsmith (Novel)


Jonathan Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz) believes that he will soon die of leukemia. The unscrupulous American Tom Ripley (Dennis Hopper) learns of this and exploits Zimmermann’s illness for his own purposes. He introduces Jonathan to the underworld figure Minot (Gérard Blain), who offers to hire the terminally ill man as a professional hit man. He is to be paid appropriately for his work and thus enabled to leave something behind for his wife (Lisa Kreuzer) and their child. What does he have to lose, since he is going to die anyway? A friendship develops between the two very different men, and this ultimately leads Ripley to intervene when Zimmermann proves incapable of carrying out an additional murder.

In 1977, The American Friend won the German Critics Prize as well as gold in two categories of the German Film Prize, and it is now considered a cult film. Wenders adapted Patricia Highsmith’s novel "Ripley’s Game" for the film. The cast of Wenders’s film includes not only the directors Hopper and Blain but also filmmakers in many of the supporting roles of gangsters, such as Hollywood legends Sam Fuller and Nicholas Ray, as well as Peter Lilienthal, Daniel Schmid, and Jean Eustache.

"Almost hypnotic. Extremely powerful." - Empire

"There's something cheerfully perverse about filming a thriller and then tossing out the parts that would help it make sense, but Wim Wenders has a certain success with the method." - Roger Ebert

"A Superb adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel." - Time Out


Wim Wenders is cinema’s preeminent poet of the open road, soulfully following the journeys of people as they search for themselves. During his over-forty-year career, Wenders has directed films in his native Germany and around the globe, making dramas both intense and whimsical, mysteries, fantasies, and documentaries. With this abbreviated retrospective of seven of his films—from early works of the New German Cinema (Alice in the Cities, Kings of the Road) to one of the art-house 1980s blockbuster that made him a household name (Paris, Texas) to the inquisitive nonfiction look at world culture (Buena Vista Social Club)—audiences can rediscover Wenders’s vast cinematic world.