Kings of the Road

KINGS OF THE ROAD is about a friendship between two men: Bruno, aka “King of the Road” (Rüdiger Vogler), who repairs film projectors and travels along the inner-German border in his truck, and the psychologist Robert, aka “Kamikaze” (Hanns Zischler), who is fleeing from his own past. When Robert drives his old VW straight into the Elbe river, he is fished out by Bruno. This is the beginning of their shared journey through a German no–man’s–land, a journey that leads them from the Lüneburg Heath to the Bavarian Forest.

Wenders began the film without a script. Instead, there was a route that he had scouted out beforehand: all of the little towns along the Wall that still contained a movie theater in this era of cinematic mass extinction. The old moving van with the film projectors in the back becomes a metaphor of the history of film—it is no coincidence that the film is dedicated to Fritz Lang.

This “men’s story” also treats the themes of the absence of women, of loneliness, and of post-war Germany. At one point, Robert says to Bruno: “The Yankees have colonized our subconscious.”


West Germany 1975
Length: 175 min, 4784 m
Format: 35mm black and white; 1:1.66
Language: German

4K Restoration 2014, 4K DCP

Festivals & Awards

1976 • Cannes International Filmfestival: FIPRESCI-Prize
1976 • Chicago International Film Festival: Gold Hugo (Best Film)

Cast and crew

Production: Wim Wenders Produktion (München) Director: Wim Wenders Producer: Wim Wenders Screenplay: Wim Wenders Director of Photography: Robby Müller, Martin Schäfer Editor: Peter Przygodda Sound: Martin Müller, Bruno Bollhalder Cast: Rüdiger Vogler, Hanns Zischler, Lisa Kreuzer, Rudolf Schündler, Marquard Bohm, Hans Dieter Traier, Franziska Stömmer, Peter Kaiser, Patrick Kreuzer, Michael Wiedemann

Script: Gretl Zeilinger, Brigitte Thoms Assistant Director: Martin Hennig Music: Improved Sound Limited, Axel Linstädt In Cooperation with: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne) Re-recording Mixer: Paul Schöler Technic: Hans Dreher, Volker von der Heydt Set Design: Heidi Lüdi, Bernd Hirskorn Truck: Michael Rabl Songs: Chris Montez, Chrispian St. Peters, Heinz, Roger Miller Production Manager: Michael Wiedemann Location Manager: Heinz Badewitz Primary Distribution: Filmverlag der Autoren GmbH und Co. Vertriebs KG (Munich) Shooting: 01.07.1975 – 31.10.1975 between Lüneburg and Hof, along the border to East Germany First Release (DE): 04.03.1976, Berlin World Sales: HanWay Films

Blu-ray & DVD

DVD – Restored Version (USA)
The Road Trilogy, The Criterion Collection
Language/Sound: German (5.1 Dolby Digital)
Subtitles: English
Image Format: 1,66:1


BluRay – Restored Version (DE)
Die frühen Jahre Box, Arthaus/Studiocanal
Language/Sound: German (5.1 Dolby Digital)
Image Format: 1,66:1


DVD&BR– Restored Version (IT)
Ripley’s Home Video
Language/Sound: German, Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: Italian
Image Format: 1,66:1


Bac Films
Language/Sound: German (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: French
Image Format: 1,77:1


Axiom Films
Language/Sound: German
Subtitles: English
Image Format: 1,78:1

Book to the film

Im Lauf der Zeit
Wim Wenders, Fritz Müller-Scherz
Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1976
338 pages, Softcover

Out of print

Press Sheet (PDF)

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