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2,528 Ratings

The Tin Drum

Die Blechtrommel

Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
West Germany, France, 1979
Drama, History, War


Oskar is an unusual boy. Refusing to leave the womb until promised a tin drum by his mother, he vows on his third birthday to never grow up. Miraculously, he gets his wish. As the Nazis rise to power, Oskar wills himself to remain a child, screaming in protest at the chaos surrounding him.

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The Tin Drum Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1979 | Winner: Palme d'Or

Academy Awards

1980 | Winner: Best Foreign Language Film

National Board of Review

1980 | 2 wins including: Best Foreign Language Film

Schlöndorff has expressed the hope that the term director’s cut will soon be forgotten and that this longer version will simply become the standard. In whatever version it is shown, however, The Tin Drum is surely its director’s masterpiece—a truly disarming film that, taking its cue from William Blake, could be called an essay on both innocence and experience, on childlike idealism and a very adult depravity.
January 15, 2013
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Schlöndorff’s, and Grass’s, great feat is having Oskar emerge as a creature all his own. He doesn’t succumb to political euphoria, worshipping Hitler, but instead uses his musical gift to confound a youth orchestra at a Nazi fête so that an orderly lineup of military salutes is soon swaying and prancing to a new beat.
September 19, 2012
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Schlöndorff stumbled onto an amazing kid to play Oskar, and his thousand-yard stare does a reasonable job of filling the gaps. Actually casting a 3-year-old would have been impossible, but David Bennent, who was 12 when the movie was shot but looks significantly younger (he apparently suffered from a medical condition that temporarily stunted his growth), adroitly captures a 3-year-old’s solipsistic conviction that the entire world is his personal playground.
February 06, 2013
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