The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)1980

The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) (1980)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) Photos

Movie Info

In Volker Schlöndorff's award-winning adaptation of Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass' allegorical novel, David Bennent plays Oskar, the young son of a German rural family, circa 1925. On his third birthday, Oskar receives a shiny new tin drum. At this point, rather than mature into one of the miserable specimens of grown-up humanity that he sees around him, he vows never to get any older or any bigger. Whenever the world around him becomes too much to bear, the boy begins to hammer on his drum; should anyone try to take the toy away from him, he emits an ear-piercing scream that literally shatters glass. As Germany goes to hell during the 1930s and '40s, the never-aging Oskar continues savagely beating his drum, serving as the angry conscience of a world gone mad. The intense and visceral Tin Drum was one of the most financially successful German films of the 1970s and won the 1979 Oscar for Best Foreign Film and the 1979 Golden Palm (which it shared with Apocalypse Now). In the late '90s, the film became the center of a censorship controversy when some U.S. videotapes were confiscated because of the film's supposed violation of a child pornography statute. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Watch it now


Mario Adorf
as Alfredo
Andrea Ferreol
as Lina Greff
Mariella Oliveri
as Raswitha Raguna
Tina Engel
as The Young Anna Kollaiczek
Berta Drews
as The Old Anna Kollaiczek
Roland Teubner
as Joseph Kollaiczek
Ernst Jacobi
as Gauleiter Lobsack
Werner Rehm
as Scheffler the Baker
Ilse Page
as Gretchen Scheffler
Käte Jaenicke
as Mother Truczinski
Wigand Witting
as Herbert Truczinski
Marek Walczewski
as Schugger-Leo
Otto Sander
as Meyn the Musician
Emil Feist
as Circus Performer
Henning Schlüter
as Dr. Hollatz
Herbert Behrent
as Circus Performer
Bruno Thost
as Cpl. Lankes
Helmut Brasch
as Old Heilandt
Gerda Blisse
as Miss Spollenhauer
Joachim Hackethal
as Father Wiehnke
Zygmunt Huebner
as Dr. Michon
View All

News & Interviews for The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)

Critic Reviews for The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5)

The Tin Drum is, in fact, almost everything anybody could ask a film to be. It is strikingly original and continuously surprising.

April 22, 2019 | Full Review…

In Volker Schlöndorff's restored version of his 1979 classic, Oskar Matzerath emerges as a tragic anti-hero, whose lustful imagination and prodigious magical gifts can't shield him from the juggernaut of war.

September 18, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Schlöndorff has a tendency to sketch the rest of the cast as simple grotesques or symbols of decadence that are unconvincingly humanized in the final third.

September 18, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The difficulty with The Tin Drum [is that it's] either (a) an allegory about one person's protest against the inhumanity of the world, or (b) the story of an obnoxious little boy.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The story it tells is so outsized, bizarre, funny, and eccentric, the movie compels attention.

May 20, 2003 | Full Review…

The film is done with such grace and control that we quickly accept the singular perspective of this bizarre tale.

November 3, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)

Well made but disturbing.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A little German boy decides to stop growing up at 3 and a half years old, then watches as Hitler rises to power. A classic comic nightmare about "little people's" acquiescence to Nazism.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer


Darkly humor, surrealism and controversial, Die Blechtrommel is a dazzing, entertaning and unique film that bring to us a great direction, just like the screenplay and David Bennent's performance. One of the best films that I ever saw and also one of the most shocking. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features