The Marriage of Maria Braun

  • 15
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1978)
  • W Ger (SUB)
  • 115 min
The Marriage of Maria Braun
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Hanna Schygulla won the best actress prize at Berlin for her work in this romantic drama, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's most avowedly commercial film. The first instalment of his celebrated postwar trilogy, it owes much to the glossy 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk and works just as well as a soap opera as it does as a socio-political treatise. However, it's what lies beneath the surface that fascinates. The choices Maria makes to survive during her husband's prolonged absences clearly reflect those made by Germany in the post-Hitler era, and Fassbinder evidently disapproves of Maria's (and the nation's) notion of paradise postponed. Accessible, yet also complex and ambiguous.

Plot Summary

A German woman marries during the Second World War, only for her husband to be swiftly sent to the Russian front. Mistakenly believing him dead, she has an affair with an American soldier, whom she kills in the heat of the moment when her husband returns. He confesses to the crime and is imprisoned, while she strives to secure a future for them on his release. Drama, starring Hanna Schygulla and Klaus Lowitsch. In German and English.

Cast and crew


Maria Braun
Hanna Schygulla
Hermann Braun
Klaus Löwitsch
Karl Oswald
Ivan Desny
Willi Klenze
Gottfried John
Gisela Uhlen
George Byrd
Betti Klenze
Elisabeth Trissenaar
Günter Lamprecht


Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Other Information

German, English +subtitles
Contains sex scenes and nudity.
Available on video and DVD
Certificate 15