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Berlin Alexanderplatz 

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | TV Mini-Series (1980– )
In late-1920s Berlin, Franz Biberkopf is released from prison and vows to go straight; however he soon finds himself embroiled in the city's criminal underworld.
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1  
1980  
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Günter Lamprecht Günter Lamprecht ...  Franz Biberkopf 14 episodes, 1980
Claus Holm ...  Wirt / ... 12 episodes, 1980
Hanna Schygulla ...  Eva 12 episodes, 1980
Franz Buchrieser Franz Buchrieser ...  Gottfried Meck 11 episodes, 1980
Brigitte Mira ...  Frau Bast / ... 10 episodes, 1980
Roger Fritz Roger Fritz ...  Herbert / ... 9 episodes, 1980
Gottfried John ...  Reinhold Hoffmann 9 episodes, 1980
Barbara Sukowa ...  Mieze 7 episodes, 1980
Günther Kaufmann ...  Theo 7 episodes, 1980
Ivan Desny ...  Pums / ... 7 episodes, 1980
Volker Spengler ...  Bruno 7 episodes, 1980
Vitus Zeplichal Vitus Zeplichal ...  Rudi 7 episodes, 1980
Barbara Valentin ...  Ida 6 episodes, 1980
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Storyline

This mini-series is a 15-1/2 hour episodic exploration of the character of Franz Biberkopf, "hero" of Alfred Döblin's acclaimed novel, as well as the Alexanderplatz area of Berlin that he inhabits. Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | Italy

Language:

German

Release Date:

10 August 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Berlin Alexanderplatz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 13,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally Alexanderplatz was named Ochsenmarkrt (oxen market) and named after Tsar Alexander I who visited Berlin in 1805. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lili Marleen (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
15 1/2 Hours of Brilliant Magnificence:
2 May 2008 | by G_a_l_i_n_aSee all my reviews

It took me over four months to finish watching Berlin Alexanderplatz that Criterion released on seven discs. As with the other two my favorite TV Series (Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander" and "Scenes from the Marriage), Criterion deserves the highest praise for the quality of the set. I would receive a disc from Netflix, watch without stopping and then I would need a break - so intense and involving, and demanding it was. It has been said a lot about Werner Rainer Fassbinder's most opulent, magnificent, and controversial work based on the novel "Berlin Alexanderplatz" written by Alfred Döblin in 1929 that Fassbinder had known by heart and always wanted to adapt. In short, "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is a story of an ex-convict Franz Biberkopf and his attempts to lead a good honest life after he was released from the prison where he had spent four years for accidentally murdering his girlfriend in the fit of rage. Döblin's book is considered one of the most important German novels, which used the techniques similar to and is as influential as James Joyce's "Ulysses" and John Dos Passos' "Manhattan". As Joyce and Dos Passos, Doblin paints the portrait of the city that we could recognize and re-build in our imagination even if Berlin of the 1920s, the most modern city of its time does not exist anymore. Doblin also had shown how the city affects the life of a person and tears them apart.

There could be many reasons why Fassbinder felt so strongly about the novel and always dreamt about adapting it to the screen. He was certainly fascinated by the language of the book and he took it upon himself to narrate some of the most impressive pages as the comments to the action on the screen. Perhaps the young filmmaker was attracted to Doblin's non-judgmental approach in depicting marginality of criminal life, in accepting homosexuality and bisexuality as a part of life without neither glorifying nor demonizing them. The hero of Döblin'/Fassbinder's magnum opus is a deeply flawed man, a pimp, a thief, a murderer yet childishly naive and sympathetic who wants to start a new honest life (not pimping or joining the gang of thieves) but keeps forgetting that "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Fassbinder also could have seen the similarities in the political situations in Germany of 1970 and 1930.

I realize that 15 1/2 hours long "Berlin Alexanderplatz" can evoke very controversial emotions from the viewers but I believe it is impossible not to admit the brilliance and magnificence of the project and of the final product, which is without doubt a truly outstanding event in the history of the medium. Just to think that such enormous work had been finished in the course of 150 days, that Fassbinder took only three months to write the script, and how he'd envisioned the main players even before they could imagine they would participate in the project. It was incredibly interesting to watch the documentary about making BA. I found it symbolic that some parts of the film were shot using the earlier set decorations for Ingmar Bergman's "Serpent's Egg" which I like very much and don't agree that it was Bergman's mistake. I also see the influence Fellini might have had on Fassbinder - the scenes in the Red Light District could've came come from the Italian master's films who knew how to stage the "freak shows" and Barbara Sukowa's confession that she had looked at Fellini's "La Strada" to understand better the character of Mieze. Günter Lamprecht, Hanna Schygulla, and especially Gottfried John (who I believed had given the greatest performance in the film as one of the most mysterious villains ever on screen) all contributed their memories of the time they worked with Fassbinder on Berlin Alexanderplatz. I might have not perhaps "gotten" the whole complexity of the film and the novel it is based on but I feel greatness when I encounter it. Of all amazing 15+ hours, the final part, "My dream from the dream of Franz Biberkopf von Alfred Doeblin: An Epilogue" stands out even for Fassbinder. Rarely have I been so mesmerized and fascinated by what an artist's imagination is capable of as during the two final hours of the incredible filmmaking. The epilogue made me think that if ever a film director had lived who could have adapted to screen successfully "Divine Comedy", "The Book of Revelation", "Ulysses", and Goethe's Faust (the whole poem, not just a Margaret's affair) it was Rainer Werner Fassbinder. We lost our chance when he was gone and we would never see the likes of him again. Not often, I feel sorry that the film is over and I miss it as soon as I finish watching - it happened after the final scene of "Berlin Alexanderplatz" was over.


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