The American Friend
Directed by Wim Wenders • 1977 • Germany
Starring Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz
Wim Wenders pays loving homage to rough-and-tumble Hollywood film noir with THE AMERICAN FRIEND, a loose adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel “Ripley’s Game.” Dennis Hopper oozes quirky menace as an amoral American art dealer who entangles a terminally ill German everyman, played by Bruno Ganz, in a seedy criminal underworld as revenge for a personal slight, but when the two become embroiled in an ever-deepening murder plot, they form an unlikely bond. Filmed on location in Hamburg and Paris, with some scenes shot in grimy, late-seventies New York City, Wenders’ international breakout is a stripped-down crime story that mixes West German and American film flavors, and it features cameos by filmmakers Jean Eustache, Samuel Fuller, and Nicholas Ray.