Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II. So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle-class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time. However, (almost) nobody listens to him, so the catastrophe goes on...Written by
David Bennent has a condition which cause him to grow very slowly. When he appeared in this film at age 11, he measured 1.14 meter (3' 9''), but he continued to grow to 1.55 m (5' 1''), and was still growing while well in his thirties. See more »
While the German soldiers besiege the Polish post office, a German soldier is seen firing an MG42 machine gun from his shoulder. The weapon itself was not in use by the German army before 1942, while the scene in the film takes place in 1939. Additionally, the weapon is not supposed to be fired standing as depicted, and the film shows the wrong sound and firing cadence for the weapon. See more »
Although reluctant to do so the BBFC were forced to remove 19 secs from UK cinema and video versions under the Protection of Children Act to remove a scene showing Oskar pressing his face against Maria's pubic region. The cuts were waived in 2003 when it was decided that the scene did not constitute an indecent image. See more »
It's been a while since I've seen this German film but I am still struck by key images in the film and the overall tone set forth casually against a backdrop of the chaos of Nazi Germany's rise and fall.
I do wonder how much of my love for this film is owed to the Gunter Grass novel on which it's based It's a quirky slab of magic realism to be sure, like the film, but I have no idea how closely it hews to the original.
The performances are nuanced and striking in places. The cinematography is appropriately dreary and the editing crisp and unadorned. The centerpiece though, is the performance by the child actor at the core of the film. How much is owed to his voice-over narrative, I don't know, but the man growing inside of the still-grown little boy was handled just beautifully.
It's a disturbing and strangely uplifting movie at once. I recommend it -- especially for those who have seen only black and white view of World War II and the typically American view of our adversaries in German.
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