Otto - the film

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Original title Otto - the film
Otto the film.svg
Country of production Federal Republic of Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1985
length 85 minutes
Age rating FSK 0
Director Xaver Schwarzenberger ,
Otto Waalkes
script Otto Waalkes,
Bernd Eilert ,
Robert Gernhardt ,
Peter Knorr
production Horst Wendlandt
music Herb Geller
camera Xaver Schwarzenberger
cut Jutta Hering

Otto - The Film is a German comedy film from 1985 . The comedian Otto Waalkes appears in his first feature film, directed by Xaver Schwarzenberger .

To date, it is the third most successful German feature film since the beginning of the audience recordings in 1968. From the German premiere on July 19, 1985 to the end of the year, around 14.5 million (8.8 million in the Federal Republic of Germany, 5.7 million in the GDR) were seen ) Goers the movie.

The plot

The opening picture shows debris floating on the water. Otto suddenly appears from a toilet seat and shortly afterwards tells the audience his life story and the circumstances that led to this catastrophe.

Otto grows up in tranquil East Frisia under the wing of his sometimes very dominant mother. One day he decides to seek his fortune in the big city ( Hamburg ) and runs into the sleazy loan shark Shark there . After signing a dubious contract, he provides the blue-eyed Otto with 5,000  marks as start-up capital. Otto signs the contract without reading the fine print, as Shark said it was "bad for the eyes".

Equipped with an ancient, rickety station wagon and an attic apartment, Otto starts his company "OSSI" aka "Ottis Super-Service International", with which he wants to help other people as a supplier of ideas. So the first customer is not long in coming: an entrepreneur has problems with springboks that he wants to bring by ship from Africa to Germany. Against his concern that the animals might jump over the too low fence of his house, Otto immediately had the right concept ready: The springbok should be held on the ground with buckets full of cement . Otto wants to “get” the necessary building material on a construction site. At the same time, the jet set millionaire Ernesto and his fiancée Silvia are there to visit their future domicile. Silvia falls from the shell, but is caught by Otto, who thinks she is a cement sack. Otto, who thinks he has been caught, flees from the rescued woman. At home he faces new problems : the money shark Shark wants to collect the contractually agreed amount of 9,876.50 DM in the small print, which Otto of course does not have. Shark gives him a grace period to get the money. Furthermore, the aforementioned customer canceled the order.

Shortly thereafter, Silvia turns out to be the daughter of the somewhat unapproachable consul von Kohlen und Reibach, a wealthy aristocrat. Otto sees this as a chance to get the necessary debt and accepts the invitation to a meeting in the aristocratic mansion. In the further course Otto has several opportunities to get the necessary money, be it in the form of Ernesto's engagement ring or a valuable hunting trophy , all of which have the exact value of DM 9,876.50. But again and again he fails with his plan: Once his conscience announces itself in the form of angel and devil, then he is disturbed, and finally the consul herself wants to get rid of her daughter's annoying savior as quickly as possible. The most important reason, however, is that Otto fell in love with Silvia long ago and does not want to be seen as a thief in front of her. His wooing in the style of his clever book goes wrong, and finally he drinks his rescue gift, an expensive bottle of wine , with a noble clochard ( Johannes Heesters ) - not realizing that the wine was also worth 9,876.50 DM and he it Solution to his money problems with him all along.

Otto pulls himself up again and, after escaping from loan shark Shark, decides to start a new life with Silvia. He gets caught in a bank robbery by the mutually hating gangsters Sonnemann and Haenlein, who also divulge numerous personal information and steal exactly ten times the amount of money mentioned several times, namely 98,765 DM. He looks for Silvia and her mother in a hairdressing salon and finds out that both women want to fly with Ernesto to his second home in Rio de Janeiro . Otto secretly smuggled himself on board the flight, where he recognized Sonnemann and Haenlein among the passengers. His radio warning to Interpol backfires, the bank robbers hijack the plane and knock the crew unconscious. A little later, Otto can turn off the bank robbers himself and now flies the jumbo jet himself . In the general hustle and bustle, Otto and Silvia find each other, while Ernesto turns out to be a burned-down impostor named Harald. Otto then tries to land the aircraft on an aircraft carrier , which he takes to be Rio - which ends in a great orgy of destruction and explains the debris field from the beginning.

Otto and the other survivors of the crash save themselves on a lonely island populated by Carnival natives, where Otto and Silvia finally become a couple.


  • 1985
    • Golden screen for over 3 million moviegoers
    • Jupiter (Category: Best Film )
    • The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating "valuable".


"Quality work by a satirical professional team."

- Evening newspaper , Munich

“A firework of mostly amusing, sometimes carelessly cheeky gags, held together by the banal comedy story; technically solid. "

35 years after the film comedy "Otto - Der Film" opened in theaters, there was a debate in July 2020 about how racist a scene in the film is. Critics, including those from the Initiative Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland , accuse Otto of making culturally insensitive and even racist statements. Matthias Wendlandt, managing director of the production company, rejected the racism allegation made by the German press agency as a misunderstanding, which the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted among others . The “mere mention of certain terms” is not sufficient to prove the allegation. Otto himself declined an interview on the subject because of filming, according to his spokeswoman.


  • Otto - According to the Guinness Book of Records , with over 14 million viewers, the film is still the most successful German-language film since the introduction of audience registration in 1968. In 2001 it was officially replaced by Der Schuh des Manitu with twelve million viewers , but this is owed only to the fact that Otto - The Film in the statistically recorded West Germany only attracted eleven million viewers. At the same time, however, it was shown in the GDR cinemas , so that it has the total number of visitors of the 14 million mentioned at the beginning and is thus still more successful than Der Schuh des Manitu . See also: List of the most successful films in Germany .
  • The film thrives on a partially loose series of gags from the Otto shows, which are connected to one another by means of a roughly sketched plot. These include the Jagdhorn -ABC by “Oberförster Pudlich”, the mimic performance of My Little Green Cactus by the Comedian Harmonists , the lullaby with the sheep (“Haaaraaald!”) And the parish priest.
  • Several well-known actors and personalities have guest appearances in the film. In addition to Gottfried John and Andreas Mannkopff as bank robbers, Johannes Heesters (as a homeless person), Klaus Dahlen , the voice actors Karl-Ulrich Meves and Eric Vaessen , Günther Kaufmann (as an African-American US soldier), Herbert Weissbach , Tilly Lauenstein and Karl Schönböck as "Baron Marckbiss" in some minor supporting roles. A special guest appearance, the former soccer - goalkeeper Wolfgang Kleff as a hairdresser and mirror image of Otto. Because of his resemblance to Waalkes, with whom he is close friends, he was nicknamed "Otto".
  • The Ernesto actor Sky du Mont also appeared in Der Schuh des Manitu and (T) Raumschiff Surprise - Period 1 and thus in the three most successful German films since the audience count began in 1980.
  • The scenes with the jumbo jet ( controlled roll , bag drop and landing on the aircraft carrier and subsequent destruction) come from the French comedy Ticket Into Chaos and were reused here. In addition, one copied a scene also contained in "Ticket into Chaos" (lead actor Coluche is attacked by gangsters in New York, who cut his clothes until they discover that he is good friends with an acquaintance of the crooks) 1: 1 for one other Waalkes strip, Otto - Der Ausserfriesische .
  • Waalkes and Cardinahl also acted as lovers in the fourth film in the series - Otto - The Love Film .
  • When Jessika Cardinahl got the role for the Otto film, she first thought, according to her own statements, that it was the Otto mail order .
  • The name of the family “von Kohlen und Reibach” is a play on words with the noble family von Bohlen and Halbach , and the name of “General Stussner” is an allusion to the former dictator of Paraguay, Alfredo Stroessner . In addition, the figure of the chamber singer Anneliese Grünenthaler is an allusion to Anneliese Rothenberger .
  • The name of the artist agency “Floppmann und Flau”, for which Otto performs in the retirement home, is an allusion to the concert agency Lippmann & Rau .
  • With some broadcasts on German television, scenes were removed at the end. For example, after a close-up of Otto in the cockpit, the field of debris was faded out. In contrast, the part where the jumbo jet touches down on the aircraft carrier and destroys everything is missing. In another scene, the survivors of the crash save themselves on the lonely island, shortly afterwards the scene changes to Otto and Silvia who are kissing. It was cut out how Elisabeth Wiedemann gave a speech to the survivors and informed them that they were the only civilized people on this island. Then a troop of natives, clad in matters of castaways who appears to Narrhallamarsch invade. The leader says in broken German “The fire extinguishers fly out of the cheese here!” Whereupon the survivors join the polonaise.
  • During the shooting of the film, Otto Waalkes was chosen for the show Do you understand fun? tricked: For the scene on the building in which Otto was supposed to jump into his car and drive away, a remote-controlled breaker was built into the starter of the car. As a result, the car would not start when Waalkes tried to start it, but would start without any problems when other people tried. Kurt Felix , the presenter of the entertainment program at the time, was brought into the action as a car mechanic and exposed the joke.
  • In a cemetery scene, both the German singer Heino and Michael Jackson's music video Thriller are parodied. In the scene, several Heinos emerge from their graves with guitars and begin to dance to a version of Schwarzbraun ist das Hazelnut in the style of the music from Thriller , moving like humanoid robots . At the end, the group marches away with goose-step .
  • The tap dance in front of the Greek restaurant in the pouring rain is an obvious homage to Gene Kelly .
  • As part of the signature of the loan agreement with Shark an aquarium will sound to the image with predatory fish the musical main theme of the film Jaws .
  • In the scene with Johannes Heesters as a tramp in the background the song sounds presence of Count Danilo - Da geh 'I Maxim - from the operetta The Merry Widow by Franz Lehar , which was by Heesters on Evergreen.
  • It was first broadcast on television on April 26, 1988 on ZDF and was the most-watched feature film of the year with 16.86 million viewers.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Otto - The film
  2. Otto - The Film. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed November 14, 2016 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  3. Patrick Bahners: Satire and Racism: The sharpest critics of the N-word . In: FAZ.NET . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed July 21, 2020]).
  4. Gregor Tholl, dpa: How racist is "Otto - the film"? July 14, 2020, accessed July 24, 2020 .
  5. ^ and .