The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun) (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun) (1979)

The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun) (1979)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun) Photos

Movie Info

The film that elevated German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder from domestic approbation to international acclaim, The Marriage of Maria Braun stars the director's on-and-off favorite actress Hanna Schygulla in the title role. During the allied siege of Germany in the last year of the war, Maria's new husband (Klaus Löwitsch) is shipped off to the Russian front before the marriage is consummated. As she struggles to survive wartime deprivations, Maria haunts the local train station, seeking out information concerning her husband. When it appears that she's a widow, Maria takes a job as a barmaid and befriends a black soldier (George Byrd) from the occupying allied troops, who sees to it that Maria's family receives vital food and supplies. The opportunistic Maria eventually takes a job with a wealthy importer (Ivan Desny), building herself up to a position of power and indispensability. Though she sleeps with her employer, Maria still carries a torch for her husband. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Hanna Schygulla
as Maria Braun
Klaus Lowitsch
as Hermann Braun
Ivan Desny
as Oswald
Hark Bohm
as Senkenberg
Liselotte Eder
as Frau Ehmcke
Claus Holm
as Doctor
Sonja Neudorfer
as Red Cross Nurse
Volker Spengler
as Conductor
Hannes Kaetner
as Justice of the Peace
Bruce Low
as American GI
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun)

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3)

Fassbinder himself was cruel and distant to those around him, particularly those who loved him, and in Maria Braun, he created an indelible monster who is perversely fascinating.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The Marriage of Maria Braun is both an epic comedy and a romantic ballad, two not especially friendly forms that become seamlessly one in the sweet, tough, brilliantly complex performance of Hanna Schygulla.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

Though Fassbinder takes a more open attitude toward his characters, letting them exist as fully developed psychological specimens, his deadly irony continues to operate on the level of mise-en-scene.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This movie -- emotionally absorbing, visually breathtaking and intellectually demanding -- is a masterpiece.

August 3, 2015 | Full Review…
People Magazine

The stark atmosphere, icy performances, and poignant revelations make it one of the most important films to emerge from Germany in the 1970s, and one of Fassbinder's best.

September 18, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
TV Guide

The film's epic structure and period detail has always pleased critics, but Fassbinder avoids the usual trappings of the genre and manages a raw intimacy throughout.

June 24, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for The Marriage of Maria Braun (Die Ehe der Maria Braun)

Hanna Schygulla shines as a fascinating character who grows from a desperate, devoted wife into a cynical, relentless beauty - a reflection of the decadence of postwar Germany in this always compelling character study, the first film of Fassbinder's so-called BRD Trilogy.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

An incredible character study.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer


with a bravura performance from hanna schygulla and shot by michael ballhaus, who became scorsese's cinematographer, this is an absolutely stunning film for 1979, and the one that made fassbinder an international star, a mere 3 years before his death. on the surface it's the story of an independent woman who does what she has to to get ahead in the chaos of post war germany. on another level it's political allegory about germany itself and it's place in history. funny and highly entertaining, fassbinder's aim was to make a german hollywood film and he references some of his favorites, especially curtiz' 'mildred pierce'. really fascinating work.

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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