Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend) (1977) - Rotten Tomatoes

Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend)1977

Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend) (1977)



Critic Consensus: The American Friend is a slow burning existential thriller that does justice to the Patricia Highsmith source novel.

Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend) Photos

Movie Info

Hamburg denizen Jonathan (Lowell Ganz) is under the impression that he is dying from a blood disease. Jonathan's "American friend," displaced cowboy Ripley (Dennis Hopper), decides to use his illness to his advantage. Ripley introduces him to gangster Minot (Gerard Blain), who proposes to the dying man that he should become an professional mob assassin, assuring a large legacy for his wife and children. Since he is facing death anyway, what has he to lose? Ripley had originally intended to allow Jonathan to do the dirty work that he didn't feel like doing, but has second thoughts when he becomes friends with the doomed man. In the end, it is Ripley who is the loser, even though Jonathan turns out to be right about his days being numbered. Director Wim Wenders based his screenplay for American Friend on one of the many "doppelganger" crime novels by Patricia Highsmith.

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Bruno Ganz
as Jonathan Zimmermann
Dennis Hopper
as Tom Ripley
Lisa Kreuzer
as Marianne Zimmermann
Gérard Blain
as Raoul Minot
Nicholas Ray
as Prokasch, aka Derwatt
Samuel Fuller
as The American
Peter Lilienthal
as Marcangelo
Daniel Schmid
as Ingraham
Sandy Whitelaw
as Doctor in Paris
Jean Eustache
as Friendly Man
Lou Castel
as Rodolphe
Wim Wenders
as Bandaged Man
David Blue
as Allan Winter
Stefan Lennert
as Auctioneer
Gerty Molzen
as Old Lady
Adolf Hansen
as Schaffner
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Critic Reviews for Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend)

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6)

... only a filmmaker as humane as [director Wim Wenders] could recognize there's no way out of the story's moral corruption.

February 14, 2018 | Full Review…

An absorbing but rarefied, introspective variation on traditional thrilleer motifs, it's probably not the synthetis between the personal and traditional that Wenders needs but it's a fascinating compulsively watchable experiment.

May 5, 2017 | Full Review…

By refusing to explain Ripley, this gets closer to Highsmith's character than any other film version.

October 22, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Superb adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game, with Hopper as her amiably cynical hero.

February 9, 2006
Top Critic

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.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Gripping 1977 American thriller from Wim Wenders that turns back on itself with deadly European irony.

January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend)

Nice performances, but too slow for me. And unlike others, I didn't find much to savor here. A thriller/mystery this predictable coupled with such a sluggish pacing is not my cup of entertainment.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

beautifully shot and atmospheric thriller based on ripley's game with a great performance by bruno ganz. i admit i found it hard to imagine hopper as ripley but he was quite good too. and it seems to be making a statement about u.s vs. europe. don't trust the americans? hmm...

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

A brilliant art house noir by Wim Wenders, adapted from Patricia Highsmith's Ripley's Game. Bruno Ganz plays Jonathan Zimmermann, a picture framer with an incurable blood disease, whose precariousness of health is manipulated by Dennis Hopper's Tom Ripley, a sociopathic art dealer seeking to recruit a contract killer for a gangland associate. Eager to provide his wife and son with some financial security before his 'imminent' demise, Zimmermann is sucked into the criminal underworld. Wenders' presentation is dazzling enough to prevent us from scrutinising the rather implausible plot too closely. There are a couple of artsy digressions - unfortunate, because Robby Müller's stunning photography ensures that the film would have been just as aesthetically pleasing without them - but, happily, Wenders doesn't let them get in the way of the story. I could have done without some of Hopper's trademark nutty behaviour - he's Dennis Hopper, right! I'll buy the fact that he's crazy sight unseen - but it's fun to see him playing opposite Nicholas Ray, the director who gave him an early break with Rebel Without a Cause. Curiously, the protagonist here is called Zimmerman(n) and the film closes with Ripley mumbling the lyrics to Bob Dylan's I Pity the Poor Immigrant. Coincidence?

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

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