Die 3groschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) (The Beggar's Opera) (1931)

Die 3groschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) (The Beggar's Opera)


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Movie Info

Filmmaker G.W. Pabst's adaptation of Bertoldt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera (Die Dreisgoschenoper) is every bit as good as the stage original, and sometimes even better. Filmed in both German and French versions with different casts (a planned English-language version was abandoned), Threepenny is most readily available today in its German incarnation. Rudolf Forster stars as robber captain MacHeath -- aka Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife -- who falls in love with Polly (Carola … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 29, 2005
Criterion Collection



as Mackie Messer

as Polly Peachum

as Jenny

as Jenny

as Mackie Messer

as Street-Singer

as Peachum

as Mrs. Peachum

as Peachum

as Smith the Jailer

as Tiger Brown

as [in French Version]

as Tiger Brown

as Mackie Messer's Gang...

as Mackie Messer's Gang...

as Mrs. Peachum

as Mackie's Gang

as Mackie Messer's Gang...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Die 3groschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) (The Beggar's Opera)

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A scathing social satire.

Full Review… | February 22, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's a lavish production and it shows in every frame, yet [director G.W.] Pabst is also true to Brecht's political commentary and social satire.

Full Review… | October 13, 2007
Turner Classic Movies Online

July 16, 2005

December 21, 2004

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for Die 3groschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) (The Beggar's Opera)


A milestone of cinema that is historically important but distractingly abstract and exaggerated.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


G.W. Pabst's version of "The Threepenny Opera" excited me in multiple ways. It's a fine example of an early musical. There's the intrigue of seeing this now-classic work filmed when it was still a fresh creation (the play debuted less than three years earlier). We also see the legendary Lotte Lenya in her prime, in what may be her definitive role. More importantly, this is an exceptionally well-made film for its time. The sets and costumes are wonderful, with the perfect mix of pretense and seediness, and the makeup is more natural than is often found in this era. But it's the camerawork which is most impressive -- there are all sorts of tracking shots and pivots which must have seemed quite daring and vanguard in 1931.

My expectations weren't particularly high for this film, and they were easily surpassed. The biggest minus is that the ending -- changed from the original book -- is somewhat weak and unsatisfying.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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