The State of Things (film)

The State of Things (film)
The State of Things

DVD release cover
Directed by Wim Wenders
Produced by Chris Sievernich
Written by Robert Kramer
Wim Wenders
Starring Patrick Bauchau
Allen Garfield
Music by Jürgen Knieper
Jim Jarmusch
Cinematography Henri Alekan
Fred Murphy
Martin Schaer
Editing by Peter Przygodda
Barbara Von Weitershausen
Distributed by Gray City (USA)
Release date(s) September, 1982 (premiere at VFF)
18 February 1983 (U.S.)
Running time 124 minutes
Country West Germany
United States
Language English

The State of Things (German: Der Stand der Dinge) is a 1982 road movie directed by Wim Wenders. It tells the story of a film director travelling from Portugal to Los Angeles in search of his missing producer.

The soundtrack includes original music from Jim Jarmusch, Jürgen Knieper, as well as tracks from Joe Ely, X and The Del-Byzanteens. Wenders' 1994 film Lisbon Story is partly a sequel to The State of Things.



A German film crew is in Portugal to shoot a black-and-white remake of Roger Corman's 1955 science fiction B movie Day the World Ended about the survivors of a nuclear holocaust. The remake is titled The Survivors. The production runs out of film and money and the director, Friedrich Munro (the name alludes to director legend Friedrich Murnau) played by Patrick Bauchau, who cannot reach his producer, Gordon, and so sets off to find him. The crew waits for Friedrich's return in an abandoned hotel. As they grow restless and bored, the film depicts some of their philosophical thoughts and emotional reactions, focusing on the themes of cinema, illusion and reality. Friedrich eventually manages to track the producer (Allen Garfield) in Los Angeles, who is in mortal danger because of money he owes to the Mafia.


  • Patrick Bauchau as Friedrich, the Director
  • Allen Garfield as Gordon, the Producer
  • Isabelle Weingarten as Anna
  • Rebecca Pauly as Joan
  • Jeffrey Kime as Mark
  • Geoffrey Carey as Robert
  • Camilla More as Julia
  • Alexandra Auder as Jane
  • Paul Getty Jr. as Dennis, the Writer
  • Viva as Kate
  • Samuel Fuller as Joe, the Cameraman
  • Roger Corman as the Lawyer
  • Janet Rasak as Karen
  • Artur Semedo as the Production Manager
  • Francisco Baião as the Soundman
  • Robert Kramer as the Camera operator
  • Monty Bane as Herbert
Cameo appearances
  • Samuel Fuller, a famous B movie director, plays a main role as Joe, the director of photography who, early in the film, informs the director Friedrich that they have just run out of film stock.
  • Roger Corman, the director of the original 1955 B movie being remade by the filmmakers in The State of Things, has a cameo role in the film as a Hollywood lawyer.


The bulk of the film was shot in Portugal, and the last quarter of it in Los Angeles. It was made by Wim Wenders Productions and five other production companies were involved. The lead cinematographer of The State of Things was Henri Alekan, the noted photographer of Jean Cocteau's 1946 motion picture Beauty and the Beast.

The origin of the film began during the filming of Wenders' 1981 Hammett for Francis Ford Coppola's then new American Zoetrope Studios. Coppola interrupted Wenders' production to make his own film One from the Heart, and during this unexpected sabbatical, Wenders went to Portugal and discovered a film crew running out of money; they were making The Territory (1981). Wenders borrowed the entire cast and crew to make The State of Things. He reportedly made a conditional deal to help with the completion of the film if the crew would agree to make a film of his own. This film turned out to be The State of Things; in that film, the unexpected halt in filming due to a producer's troubles parallels Wenders' own experience with Coppola. Ironically, The State of Things is an example of the "personal film" that Coppola himself passionately believed in but did not fully realize with One from the Heart. After completing The State of Things, Wenders returned to Los Angeles and completed Hammett.


The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival of 1982. In 1983 it won the German Film Prizes in Gold for Photography and in Silver for Production.


  • Left over film stock from The State of Things was used on the first third of Jim Jarmusch's 1984 black-and-white film Stranger Than Paradise.
  • In 1991, Wenders later made Until the End of the World, which also follows characters coping with the results of a nuclear blast. In 1994, he made Lisbon Story, in which the fictitious movie director in The State of Things, Friedrich Munro, reappears, having expatriated to Portugal.

External links

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