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The Third Generation (1979)

Die dritte Generation (original title)
A mogul merrily funds terrorists to boost his computer sales, by panicking West German government and industry c. 1980, as the third generation of Western European left-wing activists forms... See full summary »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Harry Baer ... Rudolf Mann
Hark Bohm Hark Bohm ... Gerhard Gast
Margit Carstensen ... Petra Vielhaber
Eddie Constantine ... P. J. Lurz
Jürgen Draeger ... Hans Vielhaber
Raúl Gimenez Raúl Gimenez ... Paul
Claus Holm ... Opa Gast
Günther Kaufmann ... Franz Walsch
Udo Kier ... Edgar Gast
Bulle Ogier ... Hilde Krieger
Lilo Pempeit Lilo Pempeit ... Mutter Gast
Hanna Schygulla ... Susanne Gast
Volker Spengler ... August
Y Sa Lo Y Sa Lo ... Ilse Hoffmann
Vitus Zeplichal Vitus Zeplichal ... Bernhard von Stein


A mogul merrily funds terrorists to boost his computer sales, by panicking West German government and industry c. 1980, as the third generation of Western European left-wing activists forms, after crippling of the violent Red Army Faction. Released in 1979, largely unavailable until 2004. International kapitalist PJ Lurz's secretary is a gang member, while her Polizeikommissar father-in-law/lover hired Lurz' corporate security force. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama


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West Germany


German | English | French

Release Date:

9 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Third Generation See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany


Box Office


DEM800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A film projectionist in Hamburg was beaten unconscious while screening this film and a theater in Frankfurt was besieged by youths attempting to use acid to destroy the print. See more »


Petra Vielhaber: I'd like to be called Michaela Angela Martinez.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Eine Komödie in 6 Teilen / um Gesellschaftsspiele / voll Spannung, Erregung und Logik / Grausamkeit und Wahnsinn / ähnlich den Märchen / die man Kindern erzählt / ihr Leben zum Tod ertragen zu helfen. See more »


References Solaris (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

The World as Will and Idea...
28 September 2008 | by artihcus022See all my reviews

Along with In A Year of 13 Moons, this is the only other Fassbinder film on which the director/writer/producer also served as director of photography. Like that film it features bold striking compositions and rich colours that are perfectly saturated and stylized to the right amount. The Third Generation was made in 1979 two years after the German Autumn, the crackdown of the Baader-Meinhof gang. Despite it's topicality however Fassbinder's film is about the future about the world of tomorrow as exemplified by it's evocation of science-fiction masterpieces like Solaris mentioned and cited in this film, the casting of the star of Alphaville, Eddie Constantine as the head of a computer business organization and the constant presence of technology in this film, either off-screen(speakers and recording equipment) or on-screen(TV screens and later guns and bombs). The score by Peer Raben is appropriately electronic.

The story of The Third Generation is hard to summarize or describe and most people won't understand one bit of this film when they see it for the first time. See it twice and thrice and then it adds up. The story is just as fragmented as the personalities and lives of it's characters. The terrorist cell at the center of the film is a group of mostly middle-class misfits and apathetic junkies who are a mass of unresolved tensions and contradictions. Bulle Ogier's a stern history teacher(crucially introduced to us discussing the 1848 revolution in Prussia) but she's also a would-be feminist who submits to becoming a sex toy of Paul the "leader" of the group. Hanna Schygulla is your average bubbly corporate secretary but she's also carrying out a sado-masochistic affair with her father-in-law. Most of these "terrorists" activities for the first half are relegated to living in an apartment of a drug addicted young girl, later joined by her former boyfriend and his friend. Their activities here are confined to juvenile games and irritating each other out of their skulls later extended to breaking-and-entering and bank robbery. The sole murder committed by them is revenge acted out by a submissive over the dominant.

The actions of the police, the business interests, the government bureaucracy however is that of self-justification, of ruthless exercise of power and repression whose machinery ultimately incorporates these terrorists willingly and unwillingly.

The relation of this film to our current-day hell-hole needs little elaboration. This is a film for the 21st Century, the children of the third generation, one just as compromised and confused as it's forebears.

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