Bagdad Cafe

 
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Product Description

Jasmin (Marianne S?gebrecht), a German tourist, has just walked off from her husband at the side of the road in the middle of the Mojave Desert; Brenda (CCH Pounder) has just kicked her husband out of the roadside cafe-motel they operate. When Jasmin arrives at the cafe, the two begin developing a prickly but ultimately rewarding friendship. Many other movies have tried to duplicate Bagdad Cafe's mixture of loose storytelling, off-kilter metaphors, and rich emotions, but most often these imitators leave out the random chaos of life and the awkward pain of change that Bagdad Cafe captures with such a gentle touch. Bagdad Cafe earns both its quirkiness and its sentiment by keeping one foot firmly rooted in reality. Director Percy Adlon teamed with star S?gebrecht in two other similarly offbeat movies, Sugarbaby and Rosalie Goes Shopping; his more recent features without her haven't been as successful. Still, he continues to be noted for his odd but lively use of color filters and jagged editing. Bagdad Cafe also features the great Jack Palance (Shane, Requiem for a Heavyweight, City Slickers) playing an easy-going painter; the opportunity to be an ordinary person, rather than his usual wicked fiends, brings out a delightful mischief in Palance. Pounder, who usually gets small supporting parts, deserves another role like this to take advantage of her remarkable range. All in all, an eccentric and wonderful film. --Bret Fetzer

German writer-director Percy Adlon makes a "remarkable" (Boxoffice) American debut with his "charming" (Vogue) Bagdad Cafe starring Cch Pounder (Face/Off) and Jack Palance(City Slickers). Injecting his bold and unique style into a sweet story about the common threads that connect disparate people, Adlon succeeds in creating a cinematic jewel that is both "hilarious and touching" (Los Angeles Times). Drawn to a pair of lights in the barren American desert sky, a mysterious German woman, Jasmin, stumbles upon a dilapidated motel/diner in the middle of nowhere. Her unusual appearance and demeanor are at first suspicious to Brenda, the exasperated owner who has difficulty making ends meet. But when an unlikely magic sparks between the two women, this lonely desert outpost is transformed into a thrivingand popularoasis.

Customer Reviews:

  • Seemingly Dysfunctional but with Delightful Developments
    What starts off as an odd and disturbing story line, with severely dysfunctional relationships, turns into a delightful surprise. The way Bagdad Cafe unfolds, may throw a lot of viewers off the tracks, but eventually delivers a golden promise, with beautifully woven tapestries and cameos of each bizarre character in the story. Jack Palance's role is one of his rare good-guy performances, which displays such strong human affection and tenderness, that it may stand as one of the finest among many in his long career. Thoughtful and provocative, this movie requires an initial bit of patience, but will leave you feeling terrific about the way things finally evolve. A cult classic, a must-see!...more info
  • THIS IS A WORK OF ART!!!!
    One of the best films ever made--no kidding. A real work of cinema art. Beautifully and sensitively directed, subtly acted by an outstanding cast, and the haunting theme song will keep coming back to you over and over all you life. A beautiful story of friendship in all its colors and dimensions. Don't miss this one!!!...more info
  • Friends anyone would want...
    Everybody has said just about all there is to say about this little gem. A quirky little film that revels in its' own quirkiness. Marianne Sagebrecht is an absolute joy & watching her underplay & yet invite sympathy is a pleasure one doesn't receive very often in cinema anymore. Watch CCH Pounder slow melt to the "magic". Both performances are revelatory. It's full of magical characters who aren't going anywhere & you know what? I wouldn't want them to. They're perfect right where they are. ...more info
  • Bagdad Cafe
    This is one of the sweetest flicks I've ever seen, and I tend toward the swashbuckling, "guy flicks".
    I think that what has grabbed me most with this movie is its surreal, yet believable premise; there IS a feeling of MAGIC throughout.

    The evolution of true friendship between Brenda and Jasmine is as genuine as that between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in Patrick O'Brian's novels. Their friendship is tense, tested and true.

    Also, the music is haunting and most fitting to the movie....more info

  • Quirky but accurate
    This film presents an interesting relationship between two women from opposite ends of the world. The people are stereotyped, however, contain the necessary quirks to make them real. Highlighting the German's taste in coffee was an interesting touch. The haunting soundtrack and distinct visual style add to the mood presented by the script. Certainly keeps one thinking...more info
  • Solid movie
    This is not a movie I would have ever watched if someone had described it to me, so I had to think a while about why I would recommend it. Here are the reasons I came up with. First, this is a great story. The movie flows well, keeps you wondering what's going to happen next, and the ending satisfies. Second, it only takes about fifteen minutes before you feel as if you live in the family-like atmosphere at the Bagdad Cafe/Motel. The characters are quirky, but down-to-earth and real: CCH Pounder is awesome in the role of the paranoid self-martyr; Marianne S?gebrecht is simply lovable; Jack Palance is a little creepy, but likeable and funny as an aged hippie (seeing him in such an odd role is almost worth buying the movie just for this). Third, it made me laugh - not belly laughs, but chuckles (mostly at the expense of the characters flaws)that might take a second viewing of the movie once you've learned more about the characters. Fourth, this movie has a great, but unforced message about accepting others for what they are, and just loosening up and living your life.
    Buy this movie. It might not be one you'll pull out for the guys on poker night, but it will be one you can watch ten years from now and know it's a classic....more info
  • Magic in the Desert
    ...was absolutely delighted with this funny, charming and completely entertaining movie. Each performance was perfect, from cafe owner Brenda's belligerent attitude to Jasmine's quiet demeanor, to the tattoo artist's contempt for harmony, each and every character in Bagdad Cafe lends to the overall charm of this wide spot in the road where these diverse personalities all work off of each other. Jasmine's ability to make the best of a bad situatiuon and bring some magic to the cafe/gas station/motel in the middle of nowhere is the spark that gives life to the desolation seen in every direction. Individual performances including Jack Palance as the resident artist make Bagdad Cafe one of the finest movies in my collection....more info
  • Strange but good
    This movie was not one that I had ever heard of and I ordered it on a spur of the moment. I was not dissapointed....more info
  • This off-beat film first
    appeared years ago on PBS. It's certainly different but very enjoyable. I can only describe it as a melding of different people, personalities, cultures and circumstances to a very unexpected and happy ending. I will warn you, this is not a film to watch once; one has to view it many times to catch all the nuances missed on the previous viewings. For those of you who like foreign films, this is the flick to buy! And, unlike the PBS version, all the good parts are there. For the rest who do not like foreign movies, well, try "Bagdad Cafe" you probably will like it....more info
  • Yawn.
    I'd heard nothing but good things about this movie from critics and family members. Clearly, a lot of folks like this movie. It didn't do a lot for me, though. It had its moments....more info
  • Different
    Reviewed and summed up well by others, I'll just add that from a truck enthusiast's perspective, this movie contains bonus footage and sounds of a tidy Barstow Cat-powered peterbilt and GM-powered 4070 International, plus background shots of various highway rigs and freight trains.

    A wonderful movie...more info

  • funny, wonderful and delightfully offbeat
    If you like films filled with humor, eccentric characters and cross-cultural connections in unexpected places, this is a film for you. Jasmin (Marianne Sagebrecht) is a Bavarian tourist, who, upon growing tired of her husband, promptly abandons him, unfortunately taking his suitcase of clothes, with her, instead of her own. She arrives in the Mojave Desert, only to encounter the Bagdad Cafe, run by Brenda (C.C.H Pounder), who has also recently separated from her husband---or, rather, she has kicked him to the curb. This chance encounter, between two women who have lost their husbands and the identities they possessed up until that point, is life changing for both. Though, the beginning of their relationship is rather rocky, their feathers smooth as trust is mutually earned and kept.

    Bagdad Cafe presents us with a cross-section of quirky, eccentric characters, whose world is put in a slight tilt, upon the arrival of the Bavarian lady. This is something they all need, and is made more evident as the film progresses. If you are looking to be moved in an unexpected way, I really reccomend this film. It is a little treasure.........more info
  • This is the desert.
    I grew up near Newberry (now Newberry Springs, according to credits) and this captures the desert isolation and beauty perfectly. (My parents had a motel, but not as bleak as this one.)

    Earlier reviews have done this movie justice, I won't duplicate their good efforts. I have one negative: I think it would have been better without the overblown muscial ending--somehow that was jarring to the whole feel of the movie, it was gilding the lily. We GOT it, don't pound it in. But oh well, I loved it anyway, in spite of that....more info

  • Unusual story and pretense but it works
    I usually like off center, quirky, far side movies. So I really liked this one even though you never get to know why Marianne's male companion dumps her in the desert. CCH Pounder was terrific I wonder why she didn't make any more movies? Though I question her character's wisdom about opening a diner in the desert. But, it made for an entertaining movie anyway. Enjoy!...more info
  • calling you
    The essence of this film is the song "calling you"....hauntingly done by Jevetta Steele...something in Yasmine calls to Brenda and something in Brenda calls to Yasmine...every character needs something from someone else...someone to whom they would never ordinarily look. Tolerance, awakening, love, and joy when least expected. Who could ask for more?...more info
  • A sweet and suprising tale
    Possibly one of my favorite films ever made, this story of a german housewife, that leaves her husband in the Mojave Desert, end up suprising me constantly. Why?
    The lead actress Marianne Sagebrecht performance as Jasmine is so full of poetry and subtle nuances in the body language that most actors often forget to use. Many times she is in a scene where she is not saying much but she doesn't have to because her lines are in the way she moves and the expressions on her face. The story is about a sleepy two building town where despair is turned on its heel by the arrival of this stranger. It's about two very different people who become friends despite the tragedys they both are facing and its about the magic we all carry inside of us to transform other around us by being our most beautiful selves. This film was followed by a television series that failed to capture what this story easily told in 90 minutes. It also has a very haunting song called "calling you" that once heard will more than likely stay in the back of your mind. Its a gem and definitely belongs in the collection of anyone who really loves what great film making is all about....more info
  • "making lemons out of lemonade
    I bought Baghdad Cafe because it is a quiet story about transformation and about a human being's ability to transform their life into something magic. In small ways there are wonderful visual allusions to classical transformation stories. The performances of the entire cast are wonderful. This is an upbeat and joyful film - rarity among films filled with violence, and despair....more info
  • Hated it! One star for the theme song
    "Bagdad Caf¨¦" -- aka "Out of Rosenheim" -- is an offensive chick flick written and directed by Germans who know nothing about North American people of color.

    A generous interpretation of this work thinks it's a story about friendship between two women from different worlds.

    The honest interpretation reveals it to be about an alien visitor from another planet -- in this case a white savior in the form of a prim and zaftig German tourist (Marianne S?gebrecht) -- who walks away from her contemptible husband in the middle of Southern California's Mojave Desert and winds up at the rundown Bagdad Gas & Oil caf¨¦ and hotel. It's run by the loud, obnoxious and unkempt African-American Brenda (CCH Pounder), who evicts her triflin', dim-bulb African-American husband. He spends the rest of the film in a car, on high someplace, observing the goings-on through binoculars.

    The other motley supporting characters include a creepy artist (played eerily to perfection by Jack Palance) whose claim to fame is having painted Hollywood movie sets, and a voluntarily mute woman who ostensibly makes a living as a tattoo artist. But the film suggests she trades in more than just tattoos. Brenda's employee in the caf¨¦ is either a Native American or Latino man who spends a lot of time napping. She has two teenage children: a dangerously hard-headed nymphet daughter of about 15, and a son who's incredibly skilled at the piano, where he spends practically the entire movie. He has an infant son who's cared for by everyone but his father.

    The only dignified supporter is the Native American sheriff.

    And the only good thing about this film is the Academy Award-nominated theme song, "Calling You," performed by Jevetta Steele.

    Maybe my Western chauvinism won't allow me to enjoy a chick flick by non-Americans attempting to create a world of racial harmony -- because that idea is drowned out by Brenda's yelling throughout the first half of the movie.

    On its face it's a great idea: People from different backgrounds learning tolerance and eventually love and respect. But the execution fails because the racial- and cultural-understanding theme is lost among cultural and racial stereotypes and extreme Euro-worship....more info

  • Bagdad Cafe a collectors classic
    So enjoyed having added this classic to my collection of fantasy fables.
    It was hard to find and I was surprised at the price. After such a long
    search, it was worth it. I guess I have joined a "classics cult". Charming, offbeat and watchable over and over.
    ...more info
  • the Magical German Woman
    A german woman gets stranded in the middle of Mojave Desert and finds refuge in a small cafe motel establishment, run by a very overpowering black woman who has just chased off her husband and left basically alone with minimal cafe staff, along with the desert locals and her kids. Brenda, the black woman motel owner, has an extremely domineering personality, and a crushed spirit. The german woman, Jasmine, brought to the Bagdad Cafe by a desert freeway illusion, is soon to become Brenda's key to a brighter life. Her foreign embrace of this smalltown American out of nowhere community, is the tune that brings new life to just about everyone she meets. The music soundtrack to this movie could not be more appropriate, in opening credits to the jumpy piano score.
    Jasmine, has brought a hobby to the cafe, in a magic box set with instructions to entertain and amuse in the world of illusion. This hobby soon registers with the truck drivers who have bypassed the cafe before, but are willing to stop for a breath of magic. The cafe soon becomes a crowd pleaser with many regulars, and is easily transformed back to the prior doldrums, when Jasmine is forced to leave after investigation of an expired green card. However, this does not keep the magical heroine away for long, as she is soon back to reunite with the now changed Brenda.
    This movie packs an emotional punch with the battered beast in all of us, who must learn to survive in a world of spiritual magic, if our wellbeing is to thrive. ...more info
  • Deeply affecting
    Bagdad Cafe ranks near the top of my all-time favorite movies list. With wonderful performances by the entire cast (but especially the dynamics between Sagebrecht and Pounder), the focus is on the freeing power of friendship and understanding. Rigidly girdled in tweeds, Sagebrecht is uptight and uncertain, yet curious. Equally girdled in anger, Pounder is frosty and remote. Yet these two women find common ground--without ever pressing the obvious: the fact of their both having been abandoned--to create (literally) magic, even joy. Palance (in one of his non-grotesque roles) is lovely as the heartstruck artist who finds beauty in the winsome Sagebrecht and gently assists in her emancipation. The soundtrack is haunting and unforgettable--"I Am Calling You"-- the perfect accompaniment to a place and time and a group of people whose lives are reinvented and greatly improved as a result of their moving past former imposed constraints (both societal and circumstantial) to find a very real happiness simply in being alive....more info
  • Bagdad Cafe
    Absolutely marvelous. Have watched it at least 8 times, and enjoy it more everytime....more info
  • "Too much harmony."
    Bagdad Caf¨¦ aka Out of Rosenheim is a German film although it's set in the Mojave Desert with only two Germans in the cast. In a way it's a distant relation of the wave of 70s German independent films starring faded American stars or directors (think Wim Wenders' work with Nicholas Ray and Dennis Hopper for an example) with a touch of magical realism thrown into the comic mix. A big hit in its day, time has been less kind to it and it veers more towards the irritating and overdrawn than the charming as it progresses. The major problem is the slightness of the material, with Marianne Sagebracht's displaced German housefrau doing an underplayed Mary Poppins act on the miserable and worn out employees and hangers on around the dilapidated roadside cafe and motel she finds herself in. Thanks to an open heart, a talent for housework and a box of magic tricks, she turns it into a burgeoning cabaret truckstop venue, bringing out the best in everyone around her (well, except one who leaves because there's "too much harmony.").

    Unfortunately, this transformation is very long in coming and less than convincing when it does, and en route Percy Adlon doesn't offer enough development to justify the overlong running time. In fact, the characters are pretty thin all round - a frighteningly genial Jack Palance prowls around in the kind of leather and snakeskin wardrobe that creaks more than he does but is never really given much to do beyond prowling and painting, while CCH Pounder spends so much of the movie as a spectacularly unpleasant and increasingly less credible total misery that you wonder why the hell Sagebracht sticks around. Too many scenes outstay their welcome or simply go over the same ground, and the constant use of the same mournful song over almost every scene regardless of mood gets beyond grating.

    It has its moments and its heart is in the right place, but a sharper script and a tighter running time would have made a world of difference.

    ...more info
  • "Nothing's so tragic cause it's all about magic"
    Henry Jaglom's 1987 film (also known as OUT OF ROSENHEIM) is just about perfect, and is one of the most affecting films ever made about the forging of a deep friendship. When the fat and overdressed German tourist Jasmin M¨¹nchgstettner (the great Marianne S?gebracht) is marooned in the California desert by her traveling companion she seems to be almost entirely without resources to the eyes of Brenda (the equally great CCH Pounder), the suspicious and short-tempered truck stop owner who temporarily takes her in. But Jasmin has resources no one at the truck stop suspects, and soon she's setting to rights the truck stop itself as well as the entire community of misfits gathered around it--including Brenda and her dysfunctional clan.

    The film is as much as anything a tribute to trust and to hard work; the ending (which features a perfect little musical number) is one of the best of any independent films I can think of, and one of the most beautifully earned. The haunting Jevetta Steele song "Calling You," featured prominently on the soundtrack, exactly captures the film's sense of windswept longing in the most trying of environments....more info
  • No DVD extras
    I can tell this movie is near and dear to manys' hearts. I love this movie as well for its simplicity and caring ways in telling about the true meaning of friendship and belonging. CCH Pounder and Marianne Sagebrect pretty much mirror each others' characters, Brenda and Yasmine. Both women in dire situation, Brenda stuck in the Mojave Desert with two teenage kids, a grandbaby and a pretty useless husband. And the German tourist, Yasmine just stuck in the dessert after having a disaggrement with her husband: Las Vegas vs Disneyland. These and other characters sort of whirl around in this desolate place with the sand and solitude. The movie ofcourse is peppered with dessert eccentrics like Jack Palace, ex-Hollywood set painter lusting over the volumptous Yasmine, a skinny, whiteboy backpacker, and many others that sort of walk into the movie. What makes this movie special is the director's ability to weave each characters' lives into each other, into their sorrounding, into their own longings. I love the theme music constantly being played "I'm calling you," I guess in many this is what this movie is all about, a Calling for someone to understand and be your friend unconditionally, that true genuine friendships can cross racial, social and cultural barriers. I love this movie, and I know some people might not get it, too bad. The missing star is for the lack of DVD extras, it would have been nice to know about the actors experience in the making of this movie....more info
  • Excellent
    Others have covered this movie at length here, but I want to add that it is a wonderful film, joyful, funny, a little sad at times. Most important, it has heart. Never disappointing....more info
  • From Yael, a French reader
    It's my favourite film, so I know what I was buying when I ordered it. It's about Love, welfare, sharing, desert, wonderful images, space, loneliness, problem of imigration, problems between men and women, passion, Art.
    All is Art in this film, every image could be a painting. The lights and colors are amazing.
    If you like the desert and if you love USA as I do, this film is a "must" for you.
    Yael...more info
  • One of those rare gems that lurk unsung in the catalogues.
    A very German tourist tourist is abandoned by her travelling companion in the middle of the desert with just her luggage and a thermos of very strong coffee.She makes her way to the kind of roadside motel that seems to hover on the brink of self destruction ,peopled by an eclectic cast of characters of whom Jack Palance as an artist who brings our tourist out of herself and the foul-tempered owner played by CCH Pounder trying to cope with the failing business and her off the wall family are outstanding.As the tourist Marianne Sagebrecht is just sufficiently alien to force each person with whom she comes in contact to re evaluate their own sense of themselves as they try to understand her values.They even have trouble understanding her coffee. This is a movie about people living with people .It is warm,funny,understanding and generates that magic so rarely seen in current Hollywood offerings that gives one a real sense of loss when the credits roll.This review is based on a letterbox laser disc ....more info
  • Wacky but great movie
    From beginning to end, I enjoyed this movie. The quirky characters and their interaction had me smiling and Jack Palance is marvelous. I bought several copies to send as gifts and one for myself....more info
  • A joy of living film!

    Percy Aldon built a simple but haunting script in the middle of nowhere between two women. Both will enrich the life through a set of clever and incisive vignettes. Two cultures will join the best of its nature and the result will be a very original picture.

    A powerful and funny film which joins to the elder major film Babette Feast as the two greatest films dedicated to the friendship : that treasure of the Gods.
    ...more info
  • Bagdad in the Mojave
    The movie is set in the Mojave Desert, at a run-down cafe operated by a black woman (CCH Pounder). Inhabitants of the attached motel include a third-rate painter, a tattoo artist, and the owner's son, who is only interested in playing classical music on the piano. Then one day a German woman (Marianne Sagebrecht) shows up, deserted by her husband in the desert, and she slowly transforms the place. Pounder gives her quite a bit of flack at first, but gradually their friendship grows. Then Sagebrecht takes up doing magic tricks and performing for the customers, and soon the cafe is like a miniature Las Vegas casino. The painter, played by Jack Palance, comes to life, too, painting numerous portraits of Sagebrecht.

    Once the magic bit is conceived, the movie comes to life. But before that it drags; the first half is much too long. There are other small parts - Pounder's husband and her Valley daughter, for instance - that are supposed to add to the eccentricity and transformation, but they are very minor. The movie is okay, especially the second half, but not spectacular....more info
  • Perfect movie to see
    I'd like to applause to those who anticipated to make this movie. I've never seen any movie like this which is so touching. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen while I was watching the movie. The actors' characteristic acts, beautiful long shots, the sudden changes of the atmospheres in each scene by light changes and so on. If you're tired of seeing some cheep hollywood action movies and looking for something different. I mean if you're thinking of watching a movie not only with youe eyes without thinking but also with your mind. This is it! You will never regret to see this movie!...more info
  • Please encourage the reissuing of this film! It's magic.
    I could watch Bagdad Cafe over and over again. I can't take my eyes off of it. The people, the place, the music, the story. It's magic. It's different from anything I've ever seen. I understand it is not currently available. How can we encourage reissuing of it? I foolishly loaned my copy and it hasn't come back....more info
  • Quirky classic
    Right from the start you know this something special. Odd camera angles and a couple in a U.S desert speaking German. The man leaves the woman and she walks until she finds a cafe run by a black lady at which she can stay. Thats basically the plot up to the opening credits - I've given absolutely nothing away.

    How the film develops from there and the way the characters are interwoven is wonderful. All the actors and actresses give amazing performances including an ageing Jack Palance whose Mr Cox is a real oddball.

    The film certainly wasn't a huge commercial success, but commercial success has nothing to with quality. Its difficult to make comparisons with other films because this is a one of a kind, but it has something for everybody. It shouldn't work - but it does!
    ...more info
  • One of my wife's favorites
    This was one of the replacement dvds my wife wanted as soon as possible after Katrina....more info
  • German Edition Available on Laserdisc (20 m. longer)!
    The added scenes are not sub-titled in English, but need not be, and they're great. The Laserdisc version is well-worth the effort, if you can find it. Available at Scarecrow Video in Seattle (along with the subtitled PAL version (not dubbed) version of "Un Homme ey Une Femme" by Claude Lelouche....more info
  • life is good
    This is a beautiful film. It sets a mood, brings you inside, and by the end, you remember that life might be kind of weird and brutal at times, but it's in your control to make it magical and beautiful....more info
  • A wonderfully rewarding film!
    This is a wonderful film about a German tourist (Marianne Sagebrecht), who leaves her husband while they are in the Mojave Desert and makes her way to Bagdad Cafe, a small cafe/motel inhabited by a bunch of lovably eccentric people. She and the feisty owner, played perfectly by CCH Pounder, become friends but only after numerous disagreements precipitated by Brenda (CCH Pounder). This is a great offbeat film that will appeal to foreign film buffs. But this is so good a film, anyone can enjoy it! The film is German, but the dialogue is in English. With a nice soundtrack, great performances and a desert setting, this film is a must see. Also starring is Jack Palance as a former Hollywood set painter. Buy this one!...more info
  • A strange, perfect tale
    A zaftig German tourist has a major tiff with her boorish husband in the middle of the desert outside Las Vegas, yanks a suitcase out of the car and stomps off for points unknown. Her husband, perhaps to make a point, drives off without looking back.

    Several hours later, the wife (Marianne Sagebrecht) arrives dusty and dishevelled at the only populated spot on the horizon, the run-down, lethargic Bagdad Oil and Gas and Cafe, run by a cranky woman named Brenda(the incomparable CCH Pounder). Brenda has just driven her husband away with her hystrionics, but her disposition seems earned; she is riding herd on a failing business, assisted only by a less-than-inspired cook, while trying to keep track of a free-spirit teenage daughter who cavalierly rides off with motorcyclists and truck drivers for days at a time. Brenda also is plagued by a son whose only interest in life is playing etudes and fugues on the piano; there is also the matter of his infant son, who is never explained (Brenda's son seems far too young to be responsible for an infant, but there it is, and no mother in sight). It all makes Brenda more than a little cranky. And when a strange, foreign lady in odd clothing appears at the door wanting a room at the adjoining motel, her patience is sorely tried.

    The German tourist, Jasmin, comes to the Cafe because it is the only thing in sight. She asks for a room in the motel, while musing privately about the state of uncleanliness throughout the business, and views the other denizens of the motel with a guarded eye. Rudi Coxx (Jack Palance, in a stellar turn), an ex-set painter from Hollywood, dresses outlandishly and lives, apparently, in a small travel trailer on the property. Debby, who lives in the motel, carries on a highly successful ad hoc tattoo business; truck drivers literally launch themselves from their rigs and race to her room. (You might get the wrong idea of the nature of her work from their initial enthusiasm, but her calling is made clear very early on.)

    Jasmin quietly makes herself indispensible to Brenda, after Brenda's initial suspicions; she is won over by Jasmin's gentle nature and willingness to aid Brenda in whatever way necessary. Jasmin wins the hearts of Brenda's teenage children also, and she quickly becomes part of the oddball family of misfits.

    This movie is an unqualified joy. Nothing momentous happens here, unless you count Jasmin's unifying of the oddities into a working unit; it is simply a sweet, surreal two hours in which to lose oneself. All the acting is first-rate; Marianne Sagebrecht made a few appearances in American movies, probably on the strength of her role here, and does a fine job as the sweet but determined Jasmin. Jack Palance performs so admirably that he should have been nominated for Best Supporting, although the role was a blip on the radar amongst the big-budget movies of that year. And CCH Pounder transforms wonderfully from the frenetic, wired, bad-tempered harridan of the first fifteen minutes of the movie to the accepting and content cafe manager of later in the film.

    I saw this movie a few years after it came out, and was instantly hooked. At some point I hope they come down a bit on the price, but at least it's finally in DVD; for a long time I could not find it in that format. It is well deserving of being on the shelf of any serious film buff; a gentle, honest treatment of the power of positive tninking and good will. Highly recommended.



    ...more info
  • It will transform your life and make you laugh at the same time.
    This is one of the most powerful films that I have ever seen; since it shows how an individual can become unstuck in a life that seems mired in misery and/or a rut.. At first the film seems weird and stuffy but stick with it and after twenty minutes you will start to see the magic....And after forty minutes you will feel it!...more info
  • The best movie ever made!
    When I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma I was in an intro film class. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life until our film teacher showed us this film. I have never been so captivated by a film as I was by this one. After I saw this film I knew that filmmaking is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Thank you Percy Adlon....more info
  • Are you a "friendship" material??
    This is the definitive "friend" film. What is friendship? How do friendships develop?? Bagdad Cafe will define and explore the nuances of human relationships for you on celuloid - no experience necessary. You'll come away not only enlightened, but spiritually uplifted,...more info
  • My Favorite Movie
    When I watched this movie for the first time, I was quite surprised. Because I had to watch it for my class assignment, so at first, I did not expect much. However, unexpectedly, the movie was a thing!

    Above all, I like all the characters in that movie. Jasmin, (Actress Marianne S?ebrecht-Sugarbaby) a German woman abandoned by her husband in the Mojave desert becomes a member of the society of Bagdad caf? I was deeply affected by the process of her belonging into a kooky community at a remote caf? Jasmin as a typical German housewife, she likes all things clean and neat. She always wants to put things in order and sweep. At first, she goes through some quarrels with Brenda during getting to understand each other. Finally, the hostess gets to accept her sincerity, and Jasmin gradually succeeds in changing the sleepy and desolate coffee shop into a fascinating and popular roadside refuge. Jasmin, armed with a mop and a magic kit, brings happiness into the wasteland. She, as a German woman, makes an American remote community into a mixture spot of two cultures-neatness & freedom and self-centered world. Maybe this is a German movie, so the director wants to show the virtues of Germany. Due to this point, the good things of Germany are embossed much more than America, I think. Anyhow, I felt that it was quite successful and appealed.
    The second character, Brenda, (Actress C.C.H. Pounder-television series: ER) gives an atypically sloppy impression as the caf?owner. She is always spunky, loud and bad-tempered. She does not trust other person if he is a stranger. Brenda, the owner, doubts her guest, Jasmin, only because she has a trunk filled with just man's clothes and seems suspicious. She is very unyielding even to her husband, so makes her husband leave the house. She has a family of a son who is young but already father of a baby and a girl who likes to go out with guys. However, after Jasmin's arrival, she gets much confusion. What she thought as her own proper world but not hopeful begins to stagger, and she gets angry with that. At the beginning, she does not want to have changes in her life, so she is hostile to the newcomer. She gets in trouble with Jasmin a few times, and finally, she gets to understand and resemble her. Those two women actually had many common things like husband who left her, feeling solitude and needing somebody who can apprehend considerately and accept herself as she is. They did not recognize some common things in their minds at first, but later, they could promote mutual understanding each other. They become true friends from the bottom of their hearts.
    Third, Jack Palance acts as a wonderful as an artist who wants to capture on canvas the beauty he perceives in the rotund Jasmin's warm. He caught her own beauty in his drawings and painted her with slightly unreal colors. Those portraits of her contain almost everything what the films wants to show us, I think. It gives the film a hint of fantasy and time standing still for a life. The artist knew how to manifest her innate beauty to the outer world. He captured what others could not see but exist obviously. Her beauty maybe exists in all of us, and the director tells us to find each power and beauty. The artist falls in live with Jasmin during painting, and then succeeds to get married with her.
    Other characters in that movie are all same kind of people. They are neglected by the society, and just live in their own community `Bagdad caf?. They do not have hopes to make any achievements.
    Brenda's son has a baby but does not have a wife. He has no skill for living, and just does nothing except playing the piano. He loves music, but his mother, Brenda hates that. He hopes somebody who understands his music to appear. Suddenly, Jasmin appears in front of him, and he retakes happiness from having someone who likes his playing.
    Another guy, a traveler, is an exception who shows the liveliness. He is the unique person among the nerveless people except Jasmin. He always throws a boomerang. That boomerang flies away but comes back soon. It means many things. Maybe I can tell that the boomerang's flight suggests Jasmin's fate. Jasmin leaves for her country, Germany because of visa problems, but comes back to her real life in Bagdad caf? For she found her soul in remote American desert, she could not help coming back there.

    "Bagdad Caf? ranks near the top of my life favorite movies list. With wonderful performances by the entire actors and actresses (especially the acts between Sagebrecht-`Jasmin?and Pounder-`Brenda?, the focus is on the power of friendship and understanding. Rigidly coiled in tweeds, Jasmin is formal and uptight, yet curious. Equally enclosed in anger, Brenda is cold and has a distant air. Yet these two women find common grounds- the fact of their both having been abandoned--to create (literally) magic, even joy.
    I feel that the painter in the movie (Actor Palance) is very lovely and also seems a little sad. He finds beauty in attractive Jasmin and gently assists in her emancipation.
    The soundtrack is, as it were, one of my favorite soundtracks. The title song "I Am Calling You" is really unforgettable and perfect. It matches very well with this movie. The perfect accompaniment to a place and time and a group of people whose lives are reinvented and greatly improved as a result of their moving past former imposed constraints (both social and circumstantial) to find a real happiness simply in being alive....more info

  • Endearing, atmospheric film
    This is an offbeat, delightful film about the growth of affection and the overcoming of cultural barriers. The contrast of certain German (or perhaps more specifically, Bavarian) standards with American is a source of hilarity to the viewers that know both cultures, but everyone I've talked to agrees that the gradual rapprochement between all these quirky, essentially warmhearted characters is endearing. Yet it almost miraculously manages to avoid sentimentality and certainly avoids superficiality. The music of the soundtrack is also haunting. I would have given it 5 stars except that there is one scene with a musical number that seems unnecessary and drags down the flow of the story only at that point. But otherwise it's a thoroughly charming, atmospheric film that I absolutely love. ...more info
  • A True Masterpiece
    Superb characters notwithstanding, the draw of the movie is its sublime sense of desolation--and realism. How lovely to see such rich and tender relationships develop out of seemingly nothing, in the middle of nowhere. What I loved most about Bagdad Cafe when I saw it God knows how many years ago was the idea that the world spins on a dime--that no matter who you are or where you live, the potential for someone (or something) to appear in your life virtually out of nowhere and change it for the better is always waiting deliciously in the shadows of each and every one of our lives. Rent this video, enjoy every minute of it, then buy it to watch over and over again. It is a truly wonderful film....more info
  • DESERT RATS GET ACTUALIZED!
    Filmed not too far from here in the town of Baghdad in the Mojave Desert, Percy Adlon's BAGHDAD CAFE has charmed just about everyone who has stumbled across this literally off-the-beaten track 1987 gem that's now available for the first time in a bare-bones widescreen DVD transfer.

    The story is deceptively simple. Marianne S?gebrecht is a German tourist who leaves -- and is subsequently abandoned by -- her husband(?) in the California desert. In the middle of nowhere, she makes her way to the run-down, failing, Baghadad Cafe and Motel run by C.C.H. Pounder (ER's Dr. Hicks). The rotund S?gebrecht quickly becomes a part of the eccentric family under Pounders tough-talking rule. Not only that, her presence is the catalyst that transforms the forgotten roadside stop into a bustling business and a life-altering experience for all present. Jack Palance is extraordinary as an ex-Hollywood set designer and artist who sees S?gebrecht's true beauty and becomes obsessed about capturing it on canvas. What he sees S?gebrecht becomes and in the process impacts those she touches. This wonderful film is about loving and accepting and believing and discovering and being. The original music by Bob Telson includes the haunting "Calling You" sung by Javetta Steele. This is one for the digital library. Highest recommendation....more info

  • Hidden Gem of a movie
    This is absolutely one of my favorite movies. Baghdad Cafe has so many levels to it that it can truly be appreciated by everyone who has ever had to say goodbye to their best friend....more info
  • A great sleeper to wake you up.
    Many could call this movie a "chick flick"....maybe, not necessarily, as each person in it has to deal with somebody they don't like nor feel they need butting into the lives. When you think you're having a tough time of it, think again and check out this little goodie. Two women, different completely in every way, shape and form who are thrown together out in the middle of the hot, dry, dusty desert, at a motel that looks like a wretched place to even stop for water, each with her own agenda. They have to deal with one another; they don't have any other choice in life; their husbands have been total buttheads and basically left them to fend for themselves. (Brenda boots her old man outa the house, only to have him peering down at her from the top of a hill with binoculars for half the movie...he's not a bad fellow, just a bum) Well, fend they do............the entire movie is about people working out their differences no matter how huge they may be. Jack Palance plays a really mellow painter in this movie and something completely different from his usual creepy portrayals. The ending is perfect, everyone's happy, productive and friends...probably slow to some viewers, I enjoy a good movie for my "head" every now and again. This is it....more info
  • Unexpectedly Good
    I wasn't expecting this movie to be good, but it turned out to defy my expectations and was terrific. Two apparently different women meet, transform each other's lives and form a strong relationship based on their similarities. I laughed out loud and sympathized with Jasmin and Brenda, although I have to admit that it wasn't until a full 60 minutes had passed that I began to warm to Brenda.

    Anyways, you will enjoy this movie, which says something about the interconnectedness of human beings, no matter how superficially we appear to be miles apart. And let's not forget the beautiful song, "Calling You", which I had on tape but never knew it was from this great movie....more info
  • Bagdad Cafe
    This film is an absolute gem on all levels! The cinematography really takes you "between Las Vegas and no where.". It also has a soundtrack that is a must have, the haunting vocals & melody of "I am Calling You" the signature track, will make you want to watch this film over and over. For anyone that has ever thought about leaving somewhere, for ANYWHERE, Bagdad Cafe will speak to you!...more info
  • Sutble Pleasure
    I was originally introduced to this movie during its initial release in '88 and enjoyed it thoroughly. I purchased the VHS version (and soundtrack on LP) as soon as it was available. The DVD version allows for the wonderful cinematography and editing to be further enjoyed. There is certainly a lesbian subtext that is often overlooked. It reads as a slightly different movie within that context. It makes it all that more wonderful.

    (Check out Zuckerbaby, Salmonberries and Rosalie Goes Shopping also my Percy Adlon)...more info

  • Great American Film Made by GERMANY
    Marianne Sagebrecht made a brilliant movie debut in the German film "Zuckerbaby (Sugarbaby)" (please release this soon on DVD). Bagdad Caf¨¦ is her American film debut. The creative team is also from "Sugarbaby", Percy and Eleonore Adlon).

    Jasmine (Sagebrecht) and her husband are on a cross country trip. They are at a rest stop in the Mohave desert when they have a fight. Jasmine takes the suitcase from the trunk and walks off. Jasmine hitches a ride and which stops at the Bagdad Caf¨¦ and Motel.

    Brenda (CCH Pounder), the hotel owner/manager, doesn't know what to make out of Jasmine. But Jasmine has the money, so Brenda rents her one of the rooms. Everyone gets along with Jamine's easy going nature, except Brenda. Eventually, even Brenda succumbs to Jasmine's charm.

    This is a film about tolerance. Everyone in this film has intolerance and finds that the person beneath is more important.

    Sagebrecht gives another brilliant performance. Her character grows during the course of the film.

    CCH Pounder is the one of those great actresses that never gets the attention that she deserves. She gives Brenda many layers. Brenda's life has been far from easy and therefore, she is suspicious of everyone. Therefore, it takes a great actress to convincingly change from suspicious to accepting of Jasmine.

    This is the best of independent film making.

    DVD EXTRAS: None
    ...more info
  • Movie To Share With My Family
    We have always enjoyed this movie. Its values hold true over the years. The acting is excellant and the story is timeless. People can and do pull together when under stress. We may need a reminder from time to time, maybe this film should be re-released into theaters....more info
  • Can't expain the attraction ??? just see it
    I found Bagdad Cafe on DVD three days ago and have watched it twice since, each time with a big smile on my face. It's difficult to explain why this movie is so haunting; if you try to tell a friend "You've got to see this movie because...", you'd be stuck for a definable reason. It's a very gentle character study of two women, different as can be, who come to understand and even like each other. They are both frustrated with their current positions in life. Jasmin (Marianne Sagebrecht), the stranded German tourist, is willing to start repairing her life, even in this bleak desert setting. Brenda (CCH Pounder) has led such a hard-knocks life that she can't understand or accept anyone trying to help her. There's a wonderful supporting cast surrounding them, but the heart of this movie is the way the two women learn to be friends. You're either going to love this movie or be totally bewildered by what I (and other reviewers) see in it.

    This movie was shot in Newberry Springs, near Barstow; the restaurant is still there (originally called Sidewinder Cafe, now renamed the Bagdad Cafe, of course). This is the favorite movie of one of my sister's friend who lives in Brazil. When this friend's daughter Paula visited recently, we stopped by the Bagdad Cafe on the way to Vegas; Paula's mom shed tears of delight when she saw pictures of her daugher making a pilgrimage to this high desert Mecca....more info

  • Few words....
    I guess when I was about 11 I was asked to learn a song called "Calling you"....A hard job but I did like my voice sounded while I was interpreting that song. I could hardly understand the lyrics but I could feel the whole thing was great. I heard this song was in the O.S.T of a movie called "Bagdad Caf¨¨". I had to see it. I needed to see it. It was hard to find the VHS at the time for in Italy good movies and good music are not really appreciated. Whatever. It moved me. I cried. I learned something about life in general from that movie. Silly me... tonight I watched again this movie...on an unknown tv channel....and i cried again.
    I have no many words to say. I don't want to run the risk to be more silly than this. It's quite enough. And, you know what? There's no need to say too many words. You gotta see it to understand why so many people loved it. and still love it.
    The best words to describe it are these "A desert road from Vegas to nowhere/ someplace better than where you've been/ a coffee machine that needs some fixing/ in a little caf¨¨ just around the bend/ a hot dry wind blows right through me/ the baby's crying and I can't sleep/ but I can feel a change is coming/ coming closer/ sweet release....I am calling you / Can't you hear me / I am calling you"
    Love Sarah Mic¨°l...more info
  • Two worlds collide
    BAGDAD CAFE is a wonderful example of how two very disparate people from different worlds can find harmony together and produce magic from their union.Jasmin, played by Marianne Sagebrecht, is a staunch, uptight German tourist who is abandoned by her equally staunch, uptight German husband in the middle of the Mojave desert. With no possessions to her name except a suitcase of men's personal articles and a thermos of very strong coffee, she wanders aimless through the desert and happens upon the Bagdad Cafe and Motel, a dilapidated motel/cafe/gas station frequented only by an eclectic cast of locals and the odd trucker or two.The Bagdad is owned an operated by Brenda, played by CCH Pounder, an irascible African-American woman who is stressed and overwhelmed at turns by the responsibility of running the Bagdad. When Jasmin comes for an indefinite stay, Brenda chafes at this odd foreign woman who seems to have come from nowhere. The tension is increased when Brenda notes the unusual objects in Jasmin's suitcase, one of which happens to be a magic kit which, later in the movie, literally and figuratively brings magic to Bagdad.The women come to realize that though each is from a different world, they share common bonds: each has an apatheic, uncaring husband who has been cast aside, and each is struggling to find a niche in a seemingly uncaring world. When they join forces, they transform the Bagdad from a dismal, lethargic desert outpost to a sparkling, enchanted oasis. The music is excellent! I loved the haunting theme song and that enchanting piano melody (I think it's Bach?) the young boy pianist constantly played....more info
  • My favorite movie of all time
    This movie is just perfect. It deserves all the oscars in the world. After watching this movie, you feel good about life.......more info
  • Great condition for an old VHS, as described! Shipped a little slow but was packaged well.
    It took a while to get this movie but it was worth the wait. Shipping was a bit slow but the VHS was in the condition stated and was well protected for shipping,...more info
  • Few words....
    I guess when I was about 11 I was asked to learn a song called "Calling you"....A hard job but I did like my voice sounded while I was interpreting that song. I could hardly understand the lyrics but I could feel the whole thing was great. I heard this song was in the O.S.T of a movie called "Bagdad Caf¨¨". I had to see it. I needed to see it. It was hard to find the VHS at the time for in Italy good movies and good music are not really appreciated. Whatever. It moved me. I cried. I learned something about life in general from that movie. Silly me... tonight I watched again this movie...on an unknown tv channel....and i cried again.
    I have no many words to say. I don't want to run the risk to be more silly than this. It's quite enough. And, you know what? There's no need to say too many words. You gotta see it to understand why so many people loved it. and still love it.
    The best words to describe it are these "A desert road from Vegas to nowhere/ someplace better than where you've been/ a coffee machine that needs some fixing/ in a little caf¨¨ just around the bend/ a hot dry wind blows right through me/ the baby's crying and I can't sleep/ but I can feel a change is coming/ coming closer/ sweet release....I am calling you / Can't you hear me / I am calling you"
    Love Sarah Mic¨°l...more info
  • Great Movie
    This movie came in excellent condition and it was a strange movie. It was a gift for my Mom. She loved it. Thanks for helping make her Mother's Day great....more info

 

 
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