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The Tin Drum (The Criterion Collection) (1980)

David Bennent , Mario Adorf , Gary Don Rhodes , Volker Schlöndorff  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler, Katharina Thalbach, Daniel Olbrychski
  • Directors: Gary Don Rhodes, Volker Schlöndorff
  • Writers: Gary Don Rhodes, Volker Schlöndorff, Franz Seitz, Günter Grass, Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2004
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001VO38S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,462 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Tin Drum (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer with restored image and sound plus new & improved subtitle translation
  • Audio commentary by director and cowriter Volker Schlondorff
  • Isolated music track by Maurice Jarre
  • Rare deleted scenes with director's commentary
  • Volker Schlondorff Remembers The Tin Drum, a 21-minute audio/video montage
  • A collection of video interviews from the 1979 film festival circuit
  • "The Platform", a rare 1987 German recording of Gunther Grass reading an excerpt from his novel The Tin Drum
  • Reprinted excerpt of the screenplay's original, unfilmed ending
  • Banned in Oklahoma, a documentary by Gary D. Rhodes following the child pornography lawsuit revolving around The Tin Drum
  • Production sketches, designs, and promotional art, liner notes
  • Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Based on the classic novel by Gunter Grass, this drama of a young boy who beats a tin drum to combat his feelings of desperation and anger during the rise of the Third Reich is as dark and disturbing as it is utterly compelling. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book and DVD both worth having June 2, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I read the book two weeks ago and have just viewed the Criterion Collection DVD. I found the book to be complex, rich, insightful, puzzling, and surreal. I loved it. This film comes as close as any film could to the spirit of the novel and still be under 3 hours long.
Oskar is born to three parents who, like the Gdansk they live in, represent 3 ethnic groups: Pole, Kashubian, and German. He is fully conscious at birth and is presented with two paths for his life - one as a shopkeeper and one as a musician. While the people of 1930's Gdansk/Danzig feel forced to choose ethnic sides and mundane occupations, Oskar rejects the "stupid" adult world. He stops growing and learns to assert some control over adults through his drumming and vocal talents.
One of my favorite sections of the book is when he musically subverts a large Nazi rally. Not only was this well done in the movie but was worked into a bonus feature that had Grass reading the book chapter while we watch the corresponding section of the film. The words of the spoken German as well as the subtitled English translation have a lot of power and poetry - this feature is a very rare treat.
You also experience in the film something Schl?ndorff confirms in interviews: it is hard to imagine this film existing without David Bennent. His voice and eyes carry so much of this film. The short interview feature with Bennent is delightful.
I thought the bonus feature on the Oklahoma censorship was interesting and somewhat balanced in that it portrayed the zealousness on both sides. However, I would have preferred to see more of Grass or material on the creative efforts of the film.
On a more serious note, I find Oskar's indictment of society very compelling.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! November 23, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I saw this movie back in 1983. I was only 9 years old but the movie to this day left an indelible impression on me. It was sad, yet humorous. Some parts make you go a little bug-eyed but that's all part of the surrealism of this movie. The young actor who played Oskar was amazing. Obviously you could tell he was just a child but I could actually see him as an adult as the movie goes on. I'm not in the habit of seeing foreign language films. In fact, I can honestly say that I've seen only a handful of them. This was my first German language film and I can safely say it was my favorite. Buy this video. You will not regret it. Its that amazing.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Allegory of Germany December 21, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Schlondorff brought a superb cast together to tell the story of Oskar, who ceases to grow beyond his three year old size; a symbolic representation of Germany in the twentieth century. Oskar's mother is courted by a German and a Pole. Gunther Grass's allegorical solution to the wrenching of national borders and ethnic shuffling brought about by World War I is to show the mother, unable to choose between her lovers, choosing them both. One becomes the father of Oskar. Which one? Does it matter? Thus Oskar arrives amidst the confusion of the twenties, only to witness the degradation of the homeland by revolution, runaway inflation and finally, the steady growth of National Socialism through the thirties. Oskar mirrors the turmoil of Germany's struggle of the twentieth century, unable to free itself from its own dream of Teutonic superiority, unable to find peace in the national soul. View this work with an eye to the inadequacies of your own country and begin to see Gunter Grass's dilemma with his.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Totally Recommended Piece Of Work June 18, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I've watched the Tin Drum several times, and have learned new things with each viewing. I own the VHS and the DVD version. The DVD is superior because it offers a behind the scenes feature, and also a Director's Commentary from Director Volker Schlondorff which is very good. The story deals with a little boy named Oskar who decides on his third birthday after receiving a tin drum, to stop physically growing. There's much more to the plot, but that's just the gist of it. Fine acting by the entire cast also. A movie that should be seen.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great book, a Great movie, but the book is better January 31, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This movie was fantastic. I read the book first and loved every word of it. The only reason the book is better than the movie is because, sad to say, is that the movie was only half the book. When I first got the movie and watched it, I couldnt wait until the pivetal point in the movie where the main character drastically changes, but when that part came it was the end of the movie. This would have been a GREAT GREAT movie classic if the director made a longer more fuller version or a second film that ended the full story of the book. But I must say the actor who played Oscar, the main character, was exactly as I envisioned. I highly recommend you buy the book first and then the movie, but both are a MUST to anyone who likes a bit of the strange.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars German History/Satire in a nutshell September 22, 2004
Format:DVD
The Tin Drum is based on Gunther Grass's Nobel winning novel. The whole setting revolves around the most tumultous period in recent German history, spanning from the late 19th century till the end of the second World War, Germany had seen boundaries and name drawn and redrawn numerous times. Not to mention the various follies of wars that had ravaged the country. Oskar, the perpetual 3 year old kid, who refused to grow after observing the immorality that adulthood has to offer. Oskar represented the conscience of the ordinary German of that era. Being impassive, and at the same time bitter and vulnerable and again embittered (especially after the armistice treaty), Oskar presented a whole range of emotions that reflects the public mood of that period.

The DVD presents a beautiful transfer and a Dolby Digital 5:1 audio track. It also comes with an enlightening audio commentary by the director and co-writer, even though at times the commentary may seem bland and screen specific. Nevertheless, it's insightful in the discussion of the production of the film. Another noteworthy extra feature in the 2nd disc is the documentary "Banned in Oklahoma", which chronicled the banning of the film in that state and its ensuing consequences to the country's values of freedom and liberty.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This was one of those hate the main character yet love the movie type...
Life as viewed by a selfish little boy during the Nazi war era. This was one of those hate the main character yet love the movie type of flicks.
Published 1 month ago by Ronald Hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked the novel, you must watch the movie - very good....
After reading the book, I really enjoyed the movie. I think if you had not read the book, the movie might be less appealing and some might find the movie a little strange (or a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by 21jackj
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloated And Pretentious
I've never seen a film more desperately in need of having 20+ minutes edited out. Too much is made of the gimmicks that this boy deliberately fell down stairs to stunt his growth,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Great movie and cast for this masterpiece based on Gunther Grass's novel. A disturbing and fascinating portrayal of the second world war from an original perspective.
Published 10 months ago by Nicolas Aznavour
3.0 out of 5 stars Baffling, Plot-laden curiosity..............
Well, even highly cultivated cinema lovers can be baffled by a product like this........
The film is filled with so much plot that you almost stop caring, because so much of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Raymond Louis Llompart
4.0 out of 5 stars A Sparkling Independent Film In It's Own Right, But. . . .
Perhaps I'm damaged goods having only finished the book less than a week ago after it sat on my bookshelf for about nine years. Read more
Published 12 months ago by tasdgs
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tin Drum DVD version
I'm into World War 2 and the whole third reich era. When I saw this movie was set in Germany during the Nazi's time in power I had to purchase this film. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Byron
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is weird
I had to read this book for one of my literature classes and this book is so bad I could not complete the book. I would not recommend this book to anyone. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Daniel Berry Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent interpretation of Gunter Grass's book, inspired casting. Catches the time period perfectly, put me off eels for life and horses heads.
Published 15 months ago by CSB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, Awesome Movie
A disturbing view of a disturbing time as seen through the eyes of a perpetual 3 year old. The imagery is at times bizarre (e.g. floating nuns), but a great piece of art.
Published 15 months ago by Weasely
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eel sex scene
Sorry to disappoint you, but there was never any such scene. Eels in a horse's head, yes.
Oct 11, 2010 by Richard Byers |  See all 2 posts
deleted scenes?
OK, I know this film (owned it for years, saw it went it was released), and I know the book really well. There is absolutely NO Live eel sex scene, and there never was, nor is such a thing in the book. You must be confusing it with other films you have in your collection. ALSO, the mother was... Read More
Dec 3, 2009 by W. T. Hoffman |  See all 7 posts
eel sex scene Be the first to reply
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