The film is about a projection-equipment repair mechanic named Bruno Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) and a depressed hitchhiker Robert Lander (Hanns Zischler) who has just been through a break-up with his wife and a half-hearted suicide attempt. They travel along the Western side of the East-German border in a repair truck, visiting worn-out movie theaters. The movie contains many long shots without dialogue, including a gratuitous outdoor defecation scene, and it was filmed in black and white by long-time Wenders collaborator Robby Müller.
Film Critic Derek Malcolm ranked Kings of the Road 89 on his list of his 100 favourite movies. Malcolm says that Wenders "achieves a palpable sense of time, place and atmosphere, and of how everybody is affected by their tiny spot in history."