7.8/10
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Fox and His Friends (1975)

Faustrecht der Freiheit (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 2 February 1976 (USA)
A young West German working-class man wins the lottery and initiates a relationship with a man above his social standing.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Max (as Karl-Heinz Böhm)
...
Wolf Thiess, Eugen's father
...
Hedwig
...
Philip (as Harry Bär)
Hans Zander ...
Barman Springer
...
Wodka-Peter
Rudolf Lenz ...
Attorney Dr. Siebenkäss
Karl Scheydt ...
Klaus
Peter Kern ...
Florist 'Fatty' Schmidt
Karl-Heinz Staudenmeyer ...
Krapp (as Karl Heinz Staudenmeier)
Walter Sedlmayr ...
Car dealer
Bruce Low ...
Doctor
Marquard Bohm ...
American Soldier (as Marquart Bohm)
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Storyline

Working class and middle-upper class worlds come together in this interesting look at class conflict within the gay world from the German director Reiner Werner Fassbinder. Fassbinder plays Fox, he is working class, a former circus performer who wins the lottery of DM 500,000. His life starts to look up and doesn't have to struggle financially. Fox can now have the life and things that he has always wanted. He begins a new relationship with Eugen, creates a business partnership, and his life is looking bright. While he wants to climb up the social ladder, it isn't without turmoil, and being torn between his old working class roots, and the shiny new facade of middle class consciousness. Written by Nathan Niessen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Survival of the fittest.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

2 February 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fox and His Friends  »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 450,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Franz Bieberkopf: [repeated lines Fox says to Eugen] I love you!
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Connections

Featured in Fassbinder (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques
Written by Georges Moustaki
Performed by Georges Moustaki
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User Reviews

 
A Tale of Deceit, Power, and Victimization: Fassbinder at his Best!
6 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

Rainer Werner Fassbinder has long been honored as the 'bad boy' in European cinema, a writer/director/actor who repeatedly has taken chances and because of his brutal honesty has succeeded in making a stream of important films. FOX AND HIS FRIENDS dates back to 1975 and remains one of Fassbinder's most successful films. As with all of his films, Fassbinder deals with the homosexual subculture in Germany but his main message goes far beyond the characters he creates: the examination of how people manipulate people for personal gain and the destruction that produces is a recurring problem and one that this film certainly explores.

'Fox' - a nickname of Franz Bieberkopf - (acted with consummate skill by Fassbinder himself) is a lower class gay carny kid whose lover is arrested, leaving the carnival to collapse and leaving Fox without support. Enter handsome Max (Karlheinz Böhm), a wealthy antiques dealer, who picks up Fox, helps him buy the requisite 'lottery ticket' on which Fox bases his hopes for financial survival (!) via manipulative means, and takes him home, introducing Fox to his gay friends who regard Fox as scum but show obvious physical attraction to his rawness. Surprisingly Fox wins the lottery and suddenly has 500,000 DMs and with his new money, Max's friends abruptly see a target for obtaining that money. One of the friends named Eugen (Peter Chatel) takes Fox in as a lover and talks him into investing in Eugen's family business of bookbinding. Eugen's father Wolf (Adrian Hoven) and mother (Ulla Jacobsson) tolerate their son's life with a low class wretch, ridiculing his manners and lack of culture and education, but willingly take his money to salvage their business.

With a lover and a business and a role model to make him suave, Fox dons fancy clothes, banters with his old friends in a tawdry club, and makes the pretenses that at last he is secure and happy. But in time Fox is blamed for problems at the business and when his funds have been depleted on expensive vacations and apartments by the smarmy self-centered Eugen, Fox realizes that now without money he has no 'fancy friends', no lover, no security and his life becomes unbearable: the ending to the film is a tragedy beyond description.

Some would say the film is mannered in ways that depict stereotypes of the gay world (effeminate men, transvestites, opportunists, hustlers, etc), but Fassbinder is completely honest in his attempt to recreate a subculture of a specific time in Germany. And the characters are well written and well acted allowing us to look at Fassbinder's greater picture of depravity between social class antipathies. In many ways this is a difficult film to watch, but Fassbinder wisely places the main character whom he enacts in a place where his foibles and lack of higher class knowledge can be at once very humorous as well as pitiable. FOX AND HIS FRIENDS has some minor flaws but it has already become a classic in gay cinema repertoire. In German with English subtitles. Grady Harp


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