Skip to main content

KINGS OF THE ROAD

Germany, 1976 (MIFF 1976)

Director: Wim Wenders

Two men cross the middle of Germany, from Luneburg to Hof along the East German frontier. Bruno travels in a moving van that he uses to camp in; he is a projectionist and repairs movie equipment. Along the Elbe he meets Robert, a child psychologist who, in a moment of sleepiness, has driven his car into the river. As Robert struggles ashore, Bruno offers him a towel and they strike up a friendship that lasts throughout their journey across Germany. Robert is running away from his troubles with women; he has split up with his wife and left her in Genoa. He calls her constantly on the telephone, apparently to reassure himself that she has not committed suicide. Bruno believes that a man ought to be able to live alone, but none-the-fess, he hopes that he might perhaps live with a woman. The two men travel from one small town to another across the wide, open spaces of North Germany, until Robert is finally able to come to a decision.

Wender's film continues the thematic developments of his two earlier pictures, Alice in the Cities (1973) and Wrong Movement (1974). Each of them takes up questions of personal escape and identity crises that mirror the past and present problems of Germany.

The magic of Kings of the Road lies in the cinematic conception. This is an American ‘road picture' in its most elemental form. It has the flavour of a Howard Hawks pic in the relationship of the two men to one another in an easy, unquestioning manner, but there are lines out to Fritz Lang and John Ford also in the tone and atmosphere of certain scenes.'

Holl, Variety

'The direction is, if not invisible, then transparent; the photography in gleaming black-and-white, is plain but powerful, both realistic and evocative. In short, the film has just those qualities that Wenders admires so much in John Ford.'

Richard Roud, Guardian

See also...

THE AMERICAN FRIEND

Wim Wenders' new film is a crime thriller, based on a novel 'Ripley's Game' by Patricia Highsmith, who wrote the book on which Strangers on a Train was based. Once again an innocent man is asked to ... More »

WRONG MOVEMENT

Young Wilhelm Meister is on the way: from Bonn, past a castle on the Rhine, through a suburb of Frankfurt and on to the great mountain, the Zugspitze. He is escaping from boredom and dullness, and he ... More »

THE STATE OF THINGS

"Portugal, in February 1981." A Young German film director, Fritz, and his team from Hollywood are working on a science fiction film, a remake of Allan Dwan's' 'The Most Dangerous Man". ... For a ... More »

THE GOALKEEPER'S FEAR OF THE PENALTY KICK

Joseph Bioch is the goal-keeper, and in the film's opening sequence he fails to save a penalty kick. He departs suddenly from the ground and we follow his actions through a series of short scenes. He ... More »

WRONG MOVEMENT

Young Wilhelm Meister is on the way: from Bonn, past a castle on the Rhine, through a suburb of Frankfurt and on to the great mountain, the Zugspitze. He is escaping from boredom and dullness, and he ... More »

ALICE IN THE CITIES

German director Wim Wenders was represented at iast year's festival by The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty Kick. His later film, Alice in the Cities, is a chronologically ordered film about an ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director