The American Friend

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  • NR
  • 1977
  • 2 hr 7 min
  • 7.4  (18,152)
  • 79

The American Friend, released in 1977, is a psychological thriller directed by Wim Wenders. The film is based on the novel Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith and stars Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz, and Lisa Kreuzer. The plot centers around Tom Ripley (Hopper), a wealthy and elusive American art dealer living in Hamburg, Germany. Tom is approached by Jonathan Zimmermann (Ganz), a terminally ill picture framer who is desperate to provide for his family's financial future. Jonathan is offered an opportunity to become a hitman by French gangster Minot (Gérard Blain), but he lacks the nerve to carry out the murder. Tom, sensing an opportunity, recommends Jonathan for the job and the two become unlikely friends.

As Jonathan becomes embroiled in the world of crime, he begins to experience paranoia and guilt. His relationships with his wife and son are strained as he becomes more involved with Tom and the criminal underworld. The tension builds to a dramatic climax as the consequences of their actions catch up to them.

The American Friend is notable for its stylish direction and cinematography. Wim Wenders employs a 'neo-noir' aesthetic, using shadow and sharp edges to create an atmospheric and tense mood. The film is also noteworthy for its use of popular music, particularly the soundtrack provided by legendary singer-songwriter Tom Waits.

Dennis Hopper's performance as Tom Ripley has been hailed as a masterful portrayal of the character's psychopathic tendencies. Hopper imbues Tom with a charm and charisma that make him magnetic to those around him, while also conveying the character's underlying malevolence.

Bruno Ganz's performance as Jonathan Zimmerman is equally impressive. Ganz expertly conveys the character's descent into madness and paranoia, and his desperate attempts to reclaim his sense of self.

The American Friend is a captivating and intense thriller that explores themes of identity, morality, and the corrupting influence of crime. Its stylish direction, impressive performances, and haunting soundtrack make for an unforgettable cinematic experience.

The American Friend is a 1977 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 7 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4 and a MetaScore of 79.

The American Friend
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 7 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (18,152)
  • Metascore