Lili Marleen (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lili Marleen (1981)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Lili Marleen Photos

Movie Info

Inspired a song that was extremely popular with the German soldiers during WW II, this fictional story begins in 1938 while Wilkie Bunterberg (Hanna Schygulla), a third-tier cabaret singer, performs in a Zurich nightclub. It is her boyfriend, a Swiss Jew who also turns out to be a resistance fighter who pens her the famous song Lili Marleen. She sings it in Germany and it becomes a hit with the German troops. As a result, Hitler himself invites her to perform for him. This does not set well with the songwriter's powerful who, upon learning that Marleen has become a famed singer in Germany, seek to have her barred from Switzerland. This does not stop the songwriter from loving her though and desperate to see her one last time, he sneaks into Berlin for a tryst. Unfortuantely he is arrested and she gets blacklisted. They do not see each other again until after the war. By this time, their lives have changed considerably. This is not considered among the best of Fassbinder's best films. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi


Hanna Schygulla
as Wilkie Bunterberg
Giancarlo Giannini
as Robert Mendelsson
Mel Ferrer
as David Mendelsson
Erik Schumann
as von Strehlow
Hark Bohm
as Tascher
Karin Baal
as Anna Lederer
Udo Kier
as Drewitz
Adrian Hoven
as Ginsberg
Rudolf Lenz
as Dr. Glaubrecht
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
as Guenter Weissenborn Rainer
Roger Fritz
as Kauffmann
Brigitte Mira
as Neighbor
Herb Andress
as Reintgen
Michael McLernon
as Swiss officer
Harry Baer
as Norbert Schultze
Dirk Galuba
as 4th SD man
Sonja Neudorfer
as Mrs. Buerli
Juergen Draeger
as Journalist
Toni Netzle
as Mrs. Prosel
View All

Critic Reviews for Lili Marleen

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (6)

Fassbinder's energy and imagination, in tandem creating strong, visceral images, justify and vindicate his excesses. He is, simply, one of very few directors in the world today who seems to be pouring everything he has into his medium.

April 26, 2018 | Full Review…

Fassbinder repeatedly depicts the song comforting lonely soldiers and then accompanying scenes of carnage. The devastating effect boomerangs.

August 4, 2015 | Full Review…

What is new for a Fassbinder work is that the film is far more entertaining to watch than it is interesting to speculate about. That means it's a disappointment.

September 18, 2006 | Rating: 2/5

It has a wicked sense of humor, displayed in Fassbinder's two favorite opposites, understatement and hyperbole.

June 3, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The meanings are banal and the pace is heavy, but Fassbinder's use of color -- as throughout his late period -- is superb.

June 3, 2006

Elaborate proof that the devil really does have all the best tunes.

June 3, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Lili Marleen

One may wonder why Fassbinder decided to indulge himself in an unimpressive, seemingly underdeveloped Hollywood-like movie made only for entertainment, and it loses its way in the last act to the point of even including a completely pointless self-reference.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Lili Marleen Quotes

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