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2,229 Ratings

The American Friend

Der amerikanische Freund

Directed by Wim Wenders
West Germany, France, 1977
Crime, Thriller, Drama


Jonathan Zimmerman, a picture framer who suffers from a fatal disease, crosses paths with Tom Ripley, who trafficks in forged artworks. Drawn into an underworld of shady gangsters, Zimmerman is tempted to commit murder for a sum of money that would ensure the welfare of his family after his death.

Our take

Wenders meets Highsmith! The New German Cinema master behind Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas tackles the famed mystery writer in this triumphant gem of a thriller, starring the reliably insane Dennis Hopper as the talented Mr. Ripley!

The American Friend Directed by Wim Wenders
Haunting, playful, and subtly daring, Wim Wenders’s The American Friend (1977) exemplifies the best of what can happen when one visionary takes as his inspiration the work of another, using it to explore and express his own obsessions.
January 12, 2016
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Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels are sickening in the best way—Tom Ripley is so charming, and so utterly without remorse, that wanting to see him succeed is a little like wanting to be caught cheating. Thus with Wenders’s adaptation, starring Dennis Hopper (not Matt Damon).
February 25, 2015
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Superb adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel Ripley’s Game, with Hopper as her amiably cynical hero, asked to find a non-professional for a killing or two, and – in echo of Strangers on a Train – drawing an innocent family man (Ganz) into the game by persuading him that the blood disease he is suffering from is not merely incurable but terminal. Good Highsmith, it’s even better Wenders.
January 01, 1980
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