The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In Volker Schlöndorff's award-winning adaptation of Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass' allegorical novel, David Bennent plays Oskar, the young son of a German rural family, circa 1925. On his third birthday, Oskar receives a shiny new tin drum. At this point, rather than mature into one of the miserable specimens of grown-up humanity that he sees around him, he vows never to get any older or any bigger. Whenever the world around him becomes too much to bear, the boy begins to hammer on his drum; should anyone try to take the toy away from him, he emits an ear-piercing scream that literally shatters glass. As Germany goes to hell during the 1930s and '40s, the never-aging Oskar continues savagely beating his drum, serving as the angry conscience of a world gone mad. The intense and visceral Tin Drum was one of the most financially successful German films of the 1970s and won the 1979 Oscar for Best Foreign Film and the 1979 Golden Palm (which it shared with Apocalypse Now). In the late '90s, the film became the center of a censorship controversy when some U.S. videotapes were confiscated because of the film's supposed violation of a child pornography statute. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Mario Adorf
as Alfred Matzerath
Angela Winkler
as Agnes Matzerath
David Bennent
as Oskar Matzerath
Daniel Olbrychski
as Jan Bronski
Katharina Thalbach
as Maria Matzerath
Fritz Hakl
as Bebra midget
Mariella Oliveri
as Raswitha Raguna
Tina Engel
as The Young Anna Kollaiczek
Ernst Jacobi
as Gauleiter Lobsack
Ilse Page
as Gretchen Schemer
Otto Sander
as Meyn the Musician
Andrea Ferreol
as Lina Graff
Charles Aznavour
as Sigismund Markus
Roland Beubner
as Joseph Kollaiczek
Gerda Blisse
as Miss Spollenhauer
Werner Rehm
as Scheffler
Emil Feist
as Clown #1
Marek Walczewski
as Schugger-Leo
Henning Schlüter
as Dr. Hollatz
Bruno Thost
as Private Lankes
Berta Drews
as The Old Anna Kollaiczek
Helmut Brasch
as Old Heilandt
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Critic Reviews for The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (2)

Schlöndorff has a tendency to sketch the rest of the cast as simple grotesques or symbols of decadence that are unconvincingly humanized in the final third.

Full Review… | September 18, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

Walks a taut, high rope between doubles and split selves, docu-realism and surrealism, brutality and naïveté, sacred and profane, and history and myth, without falling into the safety net of childish fantasy. (It only falters in its final half-hour.)

Full Review… | July 11, 2013
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

If ever [the characters in] a film embodied Hannah Arendt's principle of "the banality of evil", it's The Tin Drum...

Full Review… | January 23, 2013

There are many themes running through The Tin Drum: resistance against an unkind world, the need for acceptance, the horrors of romance and war, and the final idea that growth is inevitable and unfortunately, necessary.

Full Review… | January 16, 2013

In Volker Schlöndorff's restored version of his 1979 classic, Oskar Matzerath emerges as a tragic anti-hero, whose lustful imagination and prodigious magical gifts can't shield him from the juggernaut of war.

Full Review… | September 18, 2012
Slant Magazine

The literal adaptation doesn't transfer that well to film.

Full Review… | January 30, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)

Well made but disturbing.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A little German boy decides to stop growing up at 3 and a half years old, then watches as Hitler rises to power. A classic comic nightmare about "little people's" acquiescence to Nazism.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer


Darkly humor, surrealism and controversial, Die Blechtrommel is a dazzing, entertaning and unique film that bring to us a great direction, just like the screenplay and David Bennent's performance. One of the best films that I ever saw and also one of the most shocking. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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