Kings of the Road

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Kings of the Road
Kings of the road.jpg
Directed by Wim Wenders
Written by Wim Wenders
Starring Rüdiger Vogler
Hanns Zischler
Cinematography Robby Müller
Edited by Peter Przygodda
Distributed by Axiom Films (UK and Ireland)
Release dates
Running time
175 minutes[1]
Country West Germany
Language German

Kings of the Road (German: Im Lauf der Zeit) is a 1976 German road movie directed by Wim Wenders. It was the third part of Wenders' "Road Movie Trilogy" which included Alice in the Cities (1974) and The Wrong Move (1975). It was the unanimous winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.[2]


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 an outdoor defecation scene, and it was filmed in black and white by long-time Wenders collaborator Robby Müller.[1][3]



Kings of the Road was shot in black and white, wide-screen format, which is mentioned as part of the theme of the film in the titles. Wenders shot 49,000 meters of film and the final cut was 4,760 meters. The camera used was an ARRI 35 BL. The negative material from Kodak (Plus-X and Four-X) copied to Orwo positive.[4]

The songs that are played in Bruno's portable single-disc player are: The More I See You by Chris Montez, Just Like Eddy of Heinz and King of the Road by Roger Miller.

The cost of production was 730,800DM. The film was financed with a screenplay premium of the Federal Ministry of the Interior of 250,000DM.[4]

In his documentary, White Walls director Mike Schlömer shot footage along the inner-German border between Lüneburg and yard, where Wim Wenders shot footage.[5]

It was the first film Wenders made through his new production company Road Movies Produktion. He shot it in black and white because he thought that was "much more realistic and natural than color."[6]



In Germany, the Lexicon of International Film wrote that "Wim Wenders' film combines the captivating clarity and epic serenity of a classic Bildungsroman with the mythic qualities of American genre film…Directed in a craftmansly, impeccable style, space itself allows for the unfolding of characters, thoughts and landscapes."[7] Wolf Donner of Die Zeit said that ""Motions,sequences of confusingly beautiful and suggestive shots, highly poetic compositions and technical perfection make up the particular charm of this three-hour-long black-and-white film. [...] Scenes shot in a nocturnal mist, in the half-glow of the evening and morning, a profound depth of field, a variety of lenses, iridescent effects in the interaction of filters, natural and artificial light, long shots where entire landscapes seem illuminated: these formal qualities always simultaneously bring out the dual meaning of this itinerancy, the nowhereness of this trip, the between-space outside of ordinary reference to reality. The artisanly virtuosity of "Kings of the Road" will get cinephiles hooked."[8]

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."[3] It has been compared to Easy Rider and Two-Lane Blacktop and called the ultimate road movie.[9] Richard Combs wrote that "alienation is not really Wenders subject, although his lonely, self-obsessed heroes might suggest as much."[10]

Film festival[edit]

  • FIPRESCI Prize at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival (Winner)[2]
  • Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival (Nominated)[1]

Home video[edit]

Kings of the Road was released in 2008 as a region 2 DVD with English subtitles, but has not been released as a region 1 DVD.[11] It was released in 1987 as a VHS tape.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Kings of the Road at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ a b "Festival de Cannes: Kings of the Road". Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  3. ^ a b Malcolm, Derek (26 October 2000). "Wim Wenders: Kings of the Road". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Fritz Müller-Scherz(Hrsg.): Im Lauf der Zeit, Frankfurt a.M.: Zweitausendeins, 1976 (Der komplette Film in 1256 Standbildern)
  5. ^ Mario Schrader Kleine Kinos ganz groß. Ein Streifzug durch 100 Jahre Kinogeschichte im Landkreis Helmstedt. BoD, 2009, S. 136 ff. ISBN 978-3839113950
  6. ^ Wakeman, John. World Film Directors, Volume 2, 1945-1985. New York: The H. W. Wilson Company. 1988. p. 1171.
  7. ^ Im Lauf der Zeit in Lexikon des Internationalen Films
  8. ^ Wolf Donner in Die Zeit March 5, 1976
  9. ^ Wakeman. p. 1171.
  10. ^ Wakeman. 1172.
  11. ^ Kings of the Road (DVD (region 2)). 2008. OCLC 276647247.  German with English subtitles.
  12. ^ Kings of the Road (VHS). 1987. OCLC 276647247.  German language with English subtitles.

External links[edit]