Bagdad Café

Bagdad Café

French-language film poster
Directed by Percy Adlon
Produced by
  • Percy Adlon
  • Dietrich von Watzdorf
Written by
  • Percy Adlon
Music by Bob Telson
Cinematography Bernd Heinl
Edited by Norbert Herzner
  • Bayerischer Rundfunk
  • Hessischer Rundfunk
  • Pelemele Film
  • Pro-ject Filmproduktion
Distributed by Island Pictures
Release dates
  • 12 November 1987 (1987-11-12) (Europe)
  • 22 April 1988 (1988-04-22) (US)
Running time
108 minutes (German)
95 minutes (US)
  • West Germany
  • United States
  • German
  • English

Bagdad Café (also known as Out of Rosenheim) is a 1987 German film directed by Percy Adlon. It is a comedy set in a remote truck-stop café and motel in the Mojave Desert in the US state of California.[1] It centers on two women who have recently separated from their husbands, and the blossoming friendship that ensues. It runs 95 minutes in the U.S. and 108 minutes in the German version.


German tourist Jasmin Münchgstettner (Sägebrecht) from Rosenheim and her husband fight whilst they are driving across the desert. She storms out of the car and makes her way to the isolated truck stop, which is run by the tough-as-nails and short-tempered Brenda (Pounder), whose own husband, after an argument out front, is soon to leave as well. Jasmin takes a room at the adjacent motel. Initially suspicious of the foreigner, Brenda eventually befriends Jasmin and allows her to work at the café.

The café is visited by an assortment of colorful characters, including a strange ex-Hollywood set-painter (Palance) and a glamorous tattoo artist (Kaufmann). Brenda's son (Darron Flagg) plays J. S. Bach preludes on the piano. With an ability to quietly empathize with everyone she meets at the café, helped by a passion for cleaning and performing magic tricks, Jasmin gradually transforms the café and all the people in it.



The film had positive reviews.[2][3][4] It holds an 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

The film was successful at the box office, with a US gross of $3.59 million.[6][7]

Awards and nominations

Television series

In 1990 the film was re-created as a television series starring James Gammon, Whoopi Goldberg, Cleavon Little, and Jean Stapleton, with Stapleton as the abandoned tourist, and Goldberg as the restaurant operator. In the TV version the tourist was no longer from Germany. The series was shot in the conventional sitcom format, before a studio audience.[9] The show did not attract a sizable audience, being aired against ABC's more successful series, Family Matters, and it was cancelled after one season.[10]

Bagdad Cafe, Newberry Springs


Bagdad, California is the original setting (Bagdad, Arizona is an unrelated town). There was an actual Bagdad Cafe that existed in the 1960s when U.S. Route 66 ran through the town. The town of Bagdad included a café, a gasoline station, cabins for rent, and an airstrip. When Interstate 40 opened and bypassed the two-lane Route 66, the town's economy collapsed and the businesses all closed; eventually the town was completely razed. It is marked today by a clearing on the north side of old Route 66 and a single tree.

The film was shot at what was then the Sidewinder Cafe in Newberry Springs, California, 50 miles west of the original site of Bagdad on old U.S. 66. Since then, the café has become something of a tourist destination and to capitalize on the movie it changed its name to the Bagdad Café. A small notice board on the café wall features snapshots of the film's cast and crew.


The soundtrack has the song "Calling You," by Jevetta Steele, and has a track in which the director narrates the story, including the film's missing scenes.

The principal piano pieces heard, performed by Darron Flagg, are preludes from Book I of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier: the C major, no. 1, BWV 845; the C minor, BWV 846, no. 2; and the D major, no. 5, BWV 850.

Harmonica was performed by William Galison.


  1. Goldstein, Patrick (25 May 1995). "Percy Adlon's Trek to 'Bagdad Cafe' - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  2. Thomas, Kevin (25 May 1995). "MOVIE REVIEW: 'Bagdad Cafe' Serves Endearing and Quirky Version of America - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  3. Maslin, Janet (22 April 1988). "Movie Review - Bagdad Cafe - Review/Film; Exotic U.S. In Bavarian Perspective -". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  4. "Bagdad Cafe - Reviews". 9 September 1988. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  5. Bagdad Cafe, retrieved 2016-10-10
  6. box office mojo, Bagdad Café, accessed 3 February 2014
  7. Klady, Leonard (8 January 1989). "Box Office Champs, Chumps: The hero of the bottom line was the 46-year-old 'Bambi' - Page 2 - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  8. "Out of Rosenheim (1987)". Swedish Film Institute. 15 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-04-11.
  9. Tucker, Ken (30 March 1990). "Bagdad Cafe". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  10. Harris, Mark (21 December 1990). "Goodbye to Bagdad Cafe". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 June 2012.

External links

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