7.6/10
57,446
334 user 138 critic

Funny Games (1997)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 11 March 1998 (USA)
Two violent young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Director:

Michael Haneke

Writer:

Michael Haneke
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5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Susanne Lothar ... Anna
Ulrich Mühe ... Georg
Arno Frisch ... Paul
Frank Giering ... Peter
Stefan Clapczynski ... Schorschi
Doris Kunstmann ... Gerda
Christoph Bantzer Christoph Bantzer ... Fred
Wolfgang Glück Wolfgang Glück ... Robert
Susanne Meneghel Susanne Meneghel ... Gerdas Schwester
Monika Zallinger Monika Zallinger ... Eva
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Storyline

Two seemingly well-educated young men, who call each other Paul and Peter among other names, approach a family on vacation. They are, apparently, friends of the neighbors, and, at the beginning, their true intentions are not known, but soon, the family is imprisoned and tortured in its own house violently, which the viewers are forced mostly to imagine and to share a certain complicity with the criminals. It might be some kind of game with the lives of husband, wife, son, and dog, but why are they doing it? Written by Luis Canau <luis.canau@mail.EUnet.pt>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ein Alptraum. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Austria

Language:

German | French | Italian

Release Date:

11 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Funny Games See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ulrich Mühe and Susanne Lothar, who play the father and mother, were a couple in real life from this movie until Mühe's death in 2007. See more »

Goofs

While launching the sailboat, the son is seen (from a distance) wearing a swimsuit. Next, at the dock -and still in the boat- he is fully clothed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[subtitled version]
Anna: Björling... Suliotis?
Georg: Almost. Björling is easy.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Bonehead
Composed by John Zorn
Performed by Naked City (Grand Guignol)
Published by Union Jasroc
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Phony-baloney provocateur
5 June 1999 | by matt-201See all my reviews

A pair of polite, bland-ish German teenagers encounter a woman, her husband and son in a remote lakeside cottage, then spend the night terrorizing them with "funny games." The set-up is identical to that of Elia Kazan's THE VISITORS, both versions of DESPERATE HOURS, and many other claustrophobic thrillers; but the feeling of the picture is that of a hundred-minute-long extended dance remix of the ear-slicing in RESERVOIR DOGS. The writer-director Michael Haneke has one ace up his sleeve: the handsomer of the two sociopaths is given asides to the camera, on the order of, "You are on their side, aren't you?"

The point of all this, apparently, is that the audience is implicated in the action, because we, as pop-culture consumers, consume torture and protracted murder as entertainment. But there's a flaw in Haneke's logic: the only time we consume torture and protracted murder as entertainment is in recondite European art films like I STAND ALONE, MAN BITES DOG, and FUNNY GAMES.

This is the kind of picture that gets bluenose types all huffy, and prone to pronouncements on the order of, "This is the most repellent movie ever made!" I'll stay off that high horse--but I will say, a few hours after seeing the picture, that there is something singularly loathsome in the hypocrisy of Haneke's coating a suspenseless piece of fictional snuff porn in the sanctimony of its being a Statement on Violence and Media. Haneke makes the victims as dull and uncharacterized as the victors; removes just about any plausible means of escape or table-turning; and subtracts any reason for us to care about the outcome, except our desire not to witness hideous suffering. What's left--an orgy of S&M-like abuse--certainly does make the audience squirm. But so what? So would a videotape of anonymous torture, or the capture and abuse of an animal. FUNNY GAMES doesn't exist on a political or philosophical level (like I STAND ALONE); its attempts at mordant humor are collegiate (unlike MAN BITES DOG); it certainly doesn't hold up a mirror to a junk-food culture (like NATURAL BORN KILLERS). It's a wallow. And you know what side the filmmakers are on when one of the sadists terrifies a little kid by slipping on a CD in a neighbor's house the kid has escaped to, and the music is that well-known favorite of middle-aged bourgeois people on vacation...John Zorn and the Naked City.

This kind of Extreme Cinema has worked much better when practiced by artists in totally disreputable sub-pulp forms--like Lucio Fulci and Ruggero Deodato, whose sometimes almost unwatchable films engage in a spiritual wrestling match between the desire to go to the limits, and the conscience that watches over the mayhem. I was shocked to discover that Haneke is nearly sixty--this picture has the sensibility of a kid turned on by the autopsy pictures at Amok Books. As he sticks bamboo under our fingernails, your mind is so unoccupied it asks other questions. Like: Why would any sane family entertain for a minute two young strangers wearing fingerprint-proof gloves in the middle of summer? And: Is the actress playing the mother this terrible because no one else would take such a degrading role?


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