Theatrical release poster
Directed byBob Fosse
Screenplay byJay Allen
Based on
Produced byCy Feuer
CinematographyGeoffrey Unsworth
Edited byDavid Bretherton
Music byRalph Burns
Distributed byAllied Artists
Release date
  • February 13, 1972 (1972-02-13)
Running time
124 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4.6 million[1]
Box office$42.8 million[2]

Cabaret is a 1972 American musical period drama film directed by Bob Fosse from a screenplay by Jay Allen, based on the stage musical of the same name by John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe Masteroff,[3] which in turn was based on the 1951 play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten and the 1939 novel Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood.[3][4] It stars Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Marisa Berenson, and Joel Grey. Multiple numbers from the stage score were used for the film, which also featured three other songs by Kander and Ebb, including two written for the adaptation.[5][6]

In the traditional manner of musical theater, most major characters in the stage version sing to express their emotions and advance the plot; in the film, however, the musical numbers are almost entirely diegetic and take place inside the club,[5][4] with the exception of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me", which is not performed in the club or by the club characters, but is still diegetic, a nationalistic song sung by a Nazi youth and the German crowd.[7]

Cabaret was released in the United States on February 13, 1972, by Allied Artists. The film received critical acclaim and eventually earned more than $42 million in the box office against a production budget of $4.6 million.[2][5][8][3][9] It won Best Picture citations from the National Board of Review and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and took Best Supporting Actor honors for Grey from the National Board of Review, the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the National Society of Film Critics. At the 45th Academy Awards, the film won for Best Director (Fosse), Academy Award for Best Actress (Minnelli), Best Supporting Actor (Grey), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song Score and Adaptation, Best Art Direction, and Best Sound, holding the record for most Oscars earned by a film not honored for Best Picture. In 1995, Cabaret was the twelfth live-action musical film selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[10][11]


In 1931 Berlin, a young, openly promiscuous American Sally Bowles performs at the Kit Kat Klub. A new British arrival in the city, Brian Roberts, moves into the boarding house where Sally lives. A reserved academic and writer, Brian must give English lessons to earn a living while completing his doctorate. Sally tries to seduce Brian, but he tells her that on three previous occasions he has tried to have sexual relationships with women, all of which failed. They become friends, and Brian witnesses Sally's bohemian life in the last days of the Weimar Republic. When Brian consoles Sally after her father cancels his meeting with her, they become lovers, concluding that his previous failures with women were because they were "the wrong three girls".

Maximilian von Heune, a rich, married playboy and baron, befriends Sally and takes her and Brian to his country estate where they are both spoiled and courted. After a somewhat enigmatic experience with Brian, Max drops his pursuit of the pair in haste. During an argument, Sally tells Brian that she has been having sex with Max, and Brian reveals that he has as well. Brian and Sally later reconcile, and Sally reveals that Max left them 300 marks and mockingly compares the sum with what a professional prostitute earns.

Sally learns that she is pregnant but is unsure of the father. Brian offers to marry her and take her back to his university life in Cambridge. At first, they celebrate their resolution to start this new life together, but after a picnic between Sally and Brian, in which Brian acts distant and uninterested, Sally becomes disheartened by the vision of herself as a bored faculty wife washing dirty diapers. Ultimately, she has an abortion, without informing Brian in advance. When he confronts her, she shares her fears, and the two reach an understanding. Brian departs for England, and Sally continues her life in Berlin, embedding herself in the Kit Kat Klub.

Meanwhile, Fritz Wendel, a German Jew passing as a Protestant, is in love with Natalia Landauer, a wealthy German Jewish heiress who holds him in contempt and suspects his motives. Through Brian, Sally advises him to be more aggressive, which eventually enables Fritz to win her love. However, to gain her parents' consent for their marriage, Fritz must reveal his background, which he does and the two are married by a rabbi.


Historical basis

Further information: Christopher Isherwood and Jean Ross

The character of Sally Bowles was based upon Jean Ross, a British cabaret singer with whom Isherwood lived as a room-mate in Weimar-era Berlin.
The character of Sally Bowles was based upon Jean Ross, a British cabaret singer with whom Isherwood lived as a room-mate in Weimar-era Berlin.

The 1972 film was based upon Christopher Isherwood's semi-autobiographical stories about Weimar-era Berlin during the Jazz Age.[12][13] In 1929, Isherwood moved to Berlin in order to pursue life as an openly gay man and to enjoy the city's libertine nightlife.[12][13] His expatriate social circle included W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Paul Bowles, and Jean Ross.[14][15] While in Berlin, Isherwood shared lodgings with Ross, a British cabaret singer and aspiring film actress from a wealthy Anglo-Scottish family.[16][17]

While rooming together at Nollendorfstrasse 17 in Schöneberg,[16][17] Isherwood and Ross met John Blomshield, a wealthy playboy who inspired the film character of Baron Maximilian von Heune.[18][19] Blomshield sexually pursued both Isherwood and Ross for a short while, and he invited them to accompany him on a trip abroad. He then abruptly disappeared without saying goodbye.[20][18][19]

Following Blomshield's disappearance, Ross became pregnant with the child of jazz pianist and later actor Peter van Eyck.[21][17] After Eyck abandoned Ross, she underwent a near-fatal abortion facilitated by Isherwood who pretended to be her heterosexual impregnator.[21][17][22][23]

While Ross recovered from the botched abortion procedure,[21] the political situation rapidly deteriorated in Germany.[15] As Berlin's daily scenes featured "poverty, unemployment, political demonstrations and street fighting between the forces of the extreme left and the extreme right,"[14] Isherwood, Spender, and other British nationals realized that they must flee the country.[15] "There was a sensation of doom to be felt in the Berlin streets," Spender recalled.[15]

By the time Adolf Hitler implemented the Enabling Act of 1933 which cemented his dictatorship, Isherwood, Ross, Spender, and others had fled Germany and returned to England.[24][16][17] Many of the Berlin cabaret denizens befriended by Isherwood would later flee abroad[25]: 164–166  or perish in concentration camps.[25]: 150, 297 [26]: 74–81  These factual events served as the genesis for Isherwood's 1937 novella Sally Bowles which was later adapted into the 1955 film I Am a Camera and the 1966 musical Cabaret.[23][27]



In July 1968, Cinerama made a verbal agreement to make a film version of the 1966 Broadway musical but pulled out in February 1969.[6][28][29] In May 1969, Allied Artists paid a company record $1.5 million for the film rights and planned a company record budget.[6][28][29] The cost of $4,570,000 was split evenly with ABC Pictures.[6][29][1]

Bob Fosse was eager to direct the film after the box office failure of Sweet Charity (1969).
Bob Fosse was eager to direct the film after the box office failure of Sweet Charity (1969).

In 1971, Bob Fosse learned through Harold Prince, director of the original Broadway production, that Cy Feuer was producing a film adaptation of Cabaret through ABC Pictures and Allied Artists.[6] This was the first film produced in the revival of Allied Artists. Determined to direct the film, Fosse begged Feuer to hire him.[6] However, Fosse had previously directed the unsuccessful film adaptation of Sweet Charity, a box office failure which made chief executives Manny Wolf and Marty Baum reluctant to hire him.[6] Wolf and Baum preferred a more renowned or established director such as Billy Wilder, Joseph L. Mankiewicz or Gene Kelly.[6][30]: 134 

Eager to hire Fosse, Feuer appealed to the studio heads, citing Fosse's talent for staging and shooting musical numbers, adding that if inordinate attention was given to filming the book scenes at the expense of the musical numbers, the whole film could fail. Fosse ultimately was hired. Over the next months, Fosse met with previously hired screenwriter Jay Presson Allen to discuss the screenplay.[30]: 136–139 

Screenplay revisions

As production neared, Fosse became increasingly dissatisfied with Allen's script which was based on Joe Masteroff's original book of the stage version. Fosse hired Hugh Wheeler to rewrite and revise Allen's work.[30]: 136–139  Wheeler was referred to as a "research consultant," and Allen retained screenwriting credit. Wheeler, a friend of Christopher Isherwood,[31] knew that Isherwood had been critical of the stage musical due to its bowdlerizations of his material.[31] Wheeler went back to Isherwood's original stories in order to ensure a more faithful adaptation of the source material. In particular, Wheeler restored the subplot about the gigolo and the Jewish heiress. Wheeler also drew on gay author Christopher Isherwood's openness about his homosexuality to make the leading male character a bisexual man "rather than the heterosexual as he had been in the stage musical."[30]: 139 

Fosse decided to increase the focus on the Kit Kat Klub, where Sally performs, as a metaphor for the decadence of Germany in the 1930s by eliminating all but one of the musical numbers performed outside the club. The only remaining outside number is "Tomorrow Belongs to Me",[7] a folk song rendered spontaneously by patrons at an open-air café in one of the film's most effective scenes.[4] In addition, the show's original songwriters Kander and Ebb wrote two new songs, "Mein Herr" and "Money", and incorporated "Maybe This Time", a song they had composed in 1964 and first sung by Kaye Ballard.[32]


Louise Brooks was the visual model for the 1972 film
Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles (left) in the 1972 film. Minnelli modeled the character's appearance upon Louise Brooks (right), an American actress who was famous in 1930s Weimar Germany.[30]: 142 

Feuer had cast Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles and Joel Grey (reprising his stage role) long before Fosse was attached to the project. Fosse was given the choice of using Grey as Master of Ceremonies, at studio insistence, or walking away from the production.[30]: 147-148  He ultimately backed down on his “It’s either me or Joel” threat, but relations between them were cool.[33]

Fosse hired Michael York as Sally Bowles's bisexual love interest, a casting choice which Minnelli initially believed was incorrect until she performed with him.[30]: 146  Several smaller roles, as well as the remaining four dancers in the film, eventually were cast in West Germany.

Minnelli had auditioned to play Sally in the original Broadway production but was deemed too inexperienced at the time, even though she had won Broadway's Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. By the time Cabaret reached the screen, however, Minnelli was a film star having earned an Oscar nomination as the emotionally damaged college student in The Sterile Cuckoo (1969).

For her performance as Sally in the film, Minnelli reinterpreted the character and—at the explicit suggestion of her father, film and stage director Vincente Minnelli[34]—she deliberately imitated film actress Louise Brooks, a flapper icon and sex symbol of the Jazz Age.[34][30]: 142  Brooks, much like the character of Sally Bowles in the film, was an aspiring actress and American expat who temporarily moved to Weimar Berlin in search of international stardom.[30]: 139  Minnelli later recalled:

"I went to my father and asked him, 'What can you tell me about 1930s glamour? Should I be emulating Marlene Dietrich or something?' And he said 'No, study everything you can about Louise Brooks.'"[34]

In particular, Minnelli drew upon Brooks' "Lulu makeup and helmet-like coiffure."[30]: 142  For the meeting between Sally Bowles and Brian Roberts, Minnelli modeled her movements and demeanor upon Brooks; in particular, the scene in Pandora's Box (1929) where Brooks' carefree character of Lulu is first introduced.[30] Ultimately, Minnelli would win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sally Bowles.[35]


Fosse and Feuer traveled to West Germany, where producers chose to shoot the film, in order to finish assembling the film crew. During this time, Fosse highly recommended Robert L. Surtees for cinematographer, but Feuer and the top executives saw Surtees's work on Sweet Charity as one of the film's many artistic problems. Producers eventually chose British cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth.[30]: 138, 149  Designers Rolf Zehetbauer, Hans Jürgen Kiebach and Herbert Strabel served as production designers. Charlotte Flemming designed costumes.[30]: 205  Dancers Kathryn Doby, Louise Quick and John Sharpe were brought on as Fosse's dance aides.

Rehearsals and filming took place entirely in West Germany. For reasons of economy, indoor scenes were shot at the Bavaria Film Studios in Grünwald,[30]: 143  outside Munich.[6][30]: 146  Prior to filming, Fosse would complain every afternoon on the set of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory because that film was overrunning and keeping him from starting work on the same stage.[36]

Narrative and news reading

Although the songs throughout the film allude to and advance the narrative, every song except "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" is executed in the context of a Kit Kat Klub performance.[37][7] The voice heard on the radio reading the news throughout the film in German was that of associate producer Harold Nebenzal, whose father Seymour Nebenzahl produced such notable Weimar films as M (1931), Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), and Threepenny Opera (1931).

Differences between film and stage version

The film significantly differs from the Broadway musical. In the stage version, Sally is English (as she was in Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin). In the film adaptation, she is American.[5] Cliff Bradshaw was renamed Brian Roberts and made British (as was Isherwood, upon whom the character was based), rather than American as in the stage version.[5][30]: 139  The characters and plotlines involving Fritz, Natalia and Max were pulled from I Am a Camera and did not appear in the stage production of Cabaret (or in Goodbye to Berlin).[31]

The most significant change involves the excision of the two main characters: Fraulein Schneider, who runs a boarding house, and her love interest, Herr Schultz, a German grocer.[30]: 34  Their doomed romance plot, and the consequences of a Gentile falling in love with a Jew during the rise of antisemitism, was cut. With the removals were "So What?" and "What Would You Do", sung by Schneider, the song "Meeskite", sung by Schultz,[30]: 83  and their two duets "It Couldn't Please Me More (The Pineapple Song)" (cut) and "Married" (reset as a piano instrumental, and a phonograph record), as well as a short reprise of "Married", sung alone by Schultz.[38][30]: 34, 83 

Kander and Ebb wrote several new songs and removed others.[5][6] "Don't Tell Mama" was replaced by "Mein Herr",[30]: 143  and "The Money Song" (retained in an instrumental version as "Sitting Pretty") was replaced by "Money, Money."[30]: 141–43  "Mein Herr" and "Money, Money", which were composed for the film, were integrated into the stage musical alongside the original numbers.[30]: 141–43  The song "Maybe This Time", which Sally performs at the cabaret, was not written for the film,[30]: 141–43  but was intended for actress Kaye Ballard.[39][40] Although "Don't Tell Mama" and "Married" were removed as performed musical numbers, both still appear in the film: "Mama"'s bridge section appears as an instrumental played on Sally's gramophone; "Married" initially plays on the piano in Fraulein Schneider's parlor, and later heard on Sally's gramophone in a German translation ("Heiraten") sung by cabaret singer Greta Keller.[30]: 155  Additionally, "If You Could See Her", performed by the MC, originally concluded with the line "She isn't a meeskite at all" onstage. The film changes this to "She wouldn't look Jewish at all," a return to Ebb's original lyrics.[41]


All tracks are written by John Kander and Fred Ebb

Cabaret: Original Soundtrack Recording[42][43]
1."Willkommen"Joel Grey4:29
2."Mein Herr"Liza Minnelli3:36
3."Maybe This Time"Liza Minnelli3:11
4."Money, Money"Joel Grey, Liza Minnelli3:04
5."Two Ladies"Joel Grey3:11
6."Sitting Pretty"Instrumental2:27
7."Tomorrow Belongs to Me"Mark Lambert[6]3:06
8."Tiller Girls"Joel Grey1:41
9."Heiraten (Married)"Greta Keller3:45
10."If You Could See Her"Joel Grey3:54
11."Cabaret"Liza Minnelli3:34
12."Finale"Joel Grey2:28
Total length:38:14


Chart (1973) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[44] 10
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[45] 45
Italian Albums (Musica e dischi)[46] 5
UK Albums (OCC)[47] 13
US (Billboard Top 200 Albums) 25


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[48] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


Box office

Newspaper ad for the film

The film opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City on February 13, 1972, with a single performance benefit grossing $2,538.[49] It started regular showings at the Ziegfeld from February 14, grossing $8,684 in its opening day, and a house record $80,278 for the week.[50][49] It grossed another $165,038 from 6 other theatres in 6 key cities reported by Variety, placing it tenth at the US box office.[51] After seven months of release, it had grossed $5.3 million in the New York metropolitan area. Variety estimated that this represented 30% of the film's total compared to the normal 15% for the market, one of the few big-budget films to perform much better in New York.[52] Based on this estimate, the film had grossed around $17 million. By year end, Variety reported that it had earned theatrical rentals of $10,885,000, making it the eighth most successful film of the year.[53] Following the film's success at the Academy Awards in March 1973, it reached number one at the US box office with a gross of $1,880,000 for the week, a record for Allied Artists.[54][55] It remained number one for a second week.[56] By May 1973, the film had earned rentals of $16 million in the United States and Canada and $7 million in other countries and reported a profit of $4,904,000.[1] By the end of 1973, Variety had updated the film's rentals in the United States and Canada to $18,175,000.[57]

Critical reception

Contemporary reviews

Variety claimed the film received the most "sugary" reviews of the year.[58] Roger Ebert gave a positive review in January 1972, saying: "This is no ordinary musical. Part of its success comes because it doesn't fall for the old cliché that musicals have to make you happy. Instead of cheapening the movie version by lightening its load of despair, director Bob Fosse has gone right to the bleak heart of the material and stayed there well enough to win an Academy Award for Best Director."[8]

A.D. Murphy of Variety wrote "The film version of the 1966 John Kander-Fred Ebb Broadway musical Cabaret is most unusual: it is literate, bawdy, sophisticated, sensual, cynical, heart-warming, and disturbingly thought-provoking. Liza Minnelli heads a strong cast. Bob Fosse's generally excellent direction recreates the milieu of Germany some 40 years ago."[3]

Roger Greenspun of The New York Times wrote in February 1972 that "Cabaret is one of those immensely gratifying imperfect works in which from beginning to end you can literally feel a movie coming to life."[5] Likewise, Pauline Kael of The New Yorker wrote a review that same month in which she applauded the film:

"A great movie musical. Taking its form from political cabaret, it's a satire of temptations. In a prodigious balancing act, Bob Fosse, the choreographer-director, keeps the period—Berlin, 1931—at a cool distance. We see the decadence as garish and sleazy; yet we also see the animal energy in it—everything seems to become sexualized. The movie does not exploit decadence; rather, it gives it its due. With Joel Grey as our devil-doll host—the master of ceremonies—and Liza Minnelli (in her first singing role on the screen) as exuberant, corruptible Sally Bowles, chasing after the life of a headliner no matter what; Minnelli has such gaiety and electricity that she becomes a star before our eyes."[9]

Reaction of Isherwood and others

Christopher Isherwood disliked the 1972 film as he felt it depicted homosexuality in a negative light.[25]: 63 

Although Cabaret (1972) was well received by film critics upon its release,[5][8][3][9] author Christopher Isherwood and other persons upon whom the film's characters were based were less receptive towards the cinematic adaptation.[14][25]: 63  Isherwood himself was critical of the 1972 film due to what he perceived as its negative portrayal of homosexuality:

"In the film of Cabaret, the male lead is called Brian Roberts. He is a bisexual Englishman; he has an affair with Sally and, later, with one of Sally's lovers, a German baron...Brian's homosexual tendency is treated as an indecent but comic weakness to be snickered at, like bed-wetting."[25]: 63 

Similarly, Isherwood's friend Jean Ross—upon whom the character of Sally Bowles was based[59]: 26 —was ambivalent about the film.[60]: 70  She felt the depiction of 1930s Berlin "was quite, quite different" from reality.[61]: 33–34  Nevertheless, she conceded that the depiction of their social circle of British expatriates as pleasure-seeking libertines was accurate: "We were all utterly against the bourgeois standards of our parents' generation. That's what took us to [Weimar-era] Berlin. The climate was freer there."[61]: 33–34  Such ambivalence towards Cabaret (1972) was not unique among Isherwood's circle.[14]

The poet Stephen Spender lamented how Cabaret (1972) glossed over Weimar Berlin's crushing poverty:

"There is not a single meal, or club, in the movie Cabaret, that Christopher [Isherwood] and I could have afforded [in 1931]. What we mostly knew was the Berlin of poverty, unemployment, political demonstrations and street fighting between forces of the extreme left and the extreme right."[14]

Both Spender and Ross contended that the 1972 film and 1966 Broadway musical deleteriously glamorized the harsh realities of the 1930s Weimar era.[14][61]: 33–34 

Retrospective reviews

In 2002, Jamie Russell of the BBC wrote that the film was "the first musical ever to be given an X certificate, Bob Fosse's Cabaret launched Liza Minnelli into Hollywood superstardom and re-invented the musical for the Age of Aquarius."[37] In 2013, film critic Peter Bradshaw listed Cabaret at number one on his list of "Top 10 musicals", describing it as "satanically catchy, terrifyingly seductive...directed and choreographed with electric style by Bob Fosse...Cabaret is drenched in the sexiest kind of cynicism and decadent despair."[62]


Although less explicit compared with other films made in the 1970s, Cabaret dealt explicitly with topics like corruption, sexual ambiguity, false dreams, and Nazism. Tim Dirks at notes: "The sexually-charged, semi-controversial, kinky musical was the first one ever to be given an X rating (although later re-rated) with its numerous sexual flings and hedonistic club life. There was considerable sexual innuendo, profanity, casual sex talk (homosexual and heterosexual), some evidence of anti-Semitism, and even an abortion in the film."[63] It was also rated X in the UK and later re-rated as 15.[37][64]

On the topic of Nazism, there was little consensus among critics about the possibly fascist implications of the film and play. However, critic Steven Belletto wrote a critique of Cabaret in the Criticism journal, published by Wayne State University Press, in which he highlighted the anti-fascist themes in the film present both within and outside of the musical acts. According to Belletto, "despite the ways that the film has been understood by a variety of critics, [Cabaret] rejects the logic of fascist certainty by staging various numbers committed to irony and ambiguity."[41]

The "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" scene was controversial, with Kander and Ebb, both of whom were Jewish, sometimes being wrongly accused of using a historical Nazi song.[65] According to an article in Variety in November 1976, the film was censored in West Berlin when it was first released there theatrically, with the sequence featuring the Hitler Youth singing "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" having been deleted.[6] This elimination was made "because of the feeling that it might stir up resentments in the audience by showing the sympathizers for the Nazi movement during the '30s."[6] The sequence was restored, however, when the film was shown on West German television on November 7, 1976.[6]

Another topic of discussion was the song "If You Could See Her",[66] which closed with the line: "If you could see her through my eyes, she wouldn't look Jewish at all." The point of the song was showing anti-Semitism as it begins to run rampant in Berlin, but there were a number of Jewish groups who interpreted the lyrics differently.[67]


Cabaret earned a total of ten Academy Award nominations (winning eight of them) and holds the record for most Academy Awards for a film that did not also win Best Picture.[6][68]

Shortly before the Academy Awards, Bob Fosse won two Tony Awards for directing and choreographing Pippin, his biggest stage hit. Months later, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for choreographing and directing Liza Minnelli's television special Liza with a Z, he became the first director to win all three awards in one year.

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Picture Cy Feuer Nominated [69]
Best Director Bob Fosse Won
Best Actress Liza Minnelli Won
Best Supporting Actor Joel Grey Won
Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium Jay Presson Allen Nominated
Best Art Direction Art Direction: Hans Jürgen Kiebach and Rolf Zehetbauer;
Set Decoration: Herbert Strabel
Best Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth Won
Best Film Editing David Bretherton Won
Best Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score Ralph Burns Won
Best Sound Robert Knudson and David Hildyard Won
American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Feature Film David Bretherton Won
Bodil Awards Best Non-European Film Bob Fosse Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Won [70]
Best Direction Bob Fosse Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role Liza Minnelli Won
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Marisa Berenson Nominated
Best Screenplay Jay Presson Allen Nominated
Best Art Direction Rolf Zehetbauer Won
Best Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth (also for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) Won
Best Costume Design Charlotte Flemming Nominated
Best Film Editing David Bretherton Nominated
Best Soundtrack David Hildyard, Robert Knudson, and Arthur Piantadosi Won
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles Joel Grey Won
British Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth Won [71]
David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Director Bob Fosse Won
Best Foreign Actress Liza Minnelli Won
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Bob Fosse Nominated [72]
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Won [73]
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Liza Minnelli Won
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Joel Grey Won
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Marisa Berenson Nominated
Most Promising Newcomer – Female Nominated
Best Director – Motion Picture Bob Fosse Nominated
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Jay Presson Allen Nominated
Best Original Song – Motion Picture "Mein Herr"
Music by John Kander;
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
"Money, Money"
Music by John Kander;
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Grand Prix Best Film Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actor Joel Grey Won [74]
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films Won [75]
Best Film Won
Best Director Bob Fosse Won
Best Supporting Actor Joel Grey Won[a]
Best Supporting Actress Marisa Berenson Won
National Film Preservation Board National Film Registry Inducted [76]
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Liza Minnelli 5th Place [77]
Best Supporting Actor Joel Grey Won[b]
Best Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth 4th Place
Online Film & Television Association Awards Hall of Fame – Motion Picture Inducted [78]
Sant Jordi Awards Best Performance in a Foreign Film Liza Minnelli Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Comedy – Adapted from Another Medium Jay Presson Allen Won [79]

American Film Institute recognition

National Film Registry

Inducted into the National Film Registry in 1995 among a list of 25 Films that year.[10]


Minnelli reprised the character of Sally Bowles for an encore performance in the 1973 television special Liza with a Z, also directed by Bob Fosse.

Cabaret has been cited by TV Guide as among the greatest films made[80] and in Movieline magazine as one of the "100 Best Movies Ever".[81] It was included in Film4's "100 Greatest Films of All Time" at #78[82] and in The San Francisco Chronicle's "Hot 100 Films of the Past", being hailed as "the last great musical. Liza Minnelli plays Sally Bowles, an American adrift in pre-Nazi Berlin, in Bob Fosse's stylish, near-perfect film."[83]

David Benedict has written in The Guardian about Cabaret's influence in musical films: "Back then, musicals were already low on film-goers' lists, so how come it was such a success? Simple: Cabaret is the musical for people who hate them. Given the vibrancy of its now iconic numbers – Liza Minnelli in bowler and black suspenders astride a bentwood chair belting out 'Mein Herr' or shimmying and shivering with pleasure over 'Money' with Joel Grey – it sounds strange to say it, but one of the chief reasons why Cabaret is so popular is that it's not shot like a musical."[7]

The film has been listed as one of the most important for queer cinema for its depictions of bisexuality,[5] arguably transgressive at the time of its 1972 post-Code release and has been credited with turning Liza Minnelli into a gay icon. Film blogs have selected it as "the gayest winner in the history of the Academy."[84][85][86]

Home media

The film was first released to DVD in 1998. There have been releases in 2003, 2008, and 2012. The film's international ancillary distribution rights are owned by ABC (now part of The Walt Disney Company), Fremantle (UK), Warner Bros. (which acquired the film as part of its purchase of Lorimar Productions, which had acquired the film library of Allied Artists) has US domestic distribution rights.

In April 2012, Warner unveiled a new restoration of the film at the TCM Classic Film Festival.[87][88][89] A DigiBook edition was later released on Blu-ray on February 5, 2013.[90] Before this restoration, Cabaret had been sold on a standard-definition DVD from Warner Bros., but the film was unavailable in high-definition or for digital projections in cinemas.[89] The original camera negative is lost, and a surviving interpositive had a vertical scratch that ran through 1,000 feet, or 10 minutes, of one of its reels, as confirmed by Ned Price, vice president of mastering and restoration for Warner Bros.[89] The damage ostensibly was inflicted by a grain of dirt that had rolled through the length of the reel, beginning with a scene in which Michael York's character confronts a pro-Nazi boarding house resident, and had cut into the emulsion.[89] The marred frames were digitally restored, but "the difficult part was matching the grain structure so the fix was invisible." After automated digital repair attempts failed, the 1,000 feet of damaged film was hand painted using a computer stylus.[89]

Warner Archive Collection reissued the Blu-ray on November 20, 2018, without the DigiBook.[91]

See also


  1. ^ Tied with Al Pacino for The Godfather.
  2. ^ Tied with Eddie Albert for The Heartbreak Kid.


  1. ^ a b c Beaupre, Lee (May 31, 1973). "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses". Variety. p. 3.
  2. ^ a b "Cabaret, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Murphy, A.D. (February 16, 1972). "Cabaret". Variety. p. 18. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Belletto 2008, p. 609.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Greenspun, Roger (February 14, 1972). "Liza Minnelli Stirs a Lively 'Cabaret'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Cabaret (1972) – Notes –". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on October 21, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Benedict, David (June 15, 2002). "Win When You're Singing". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1972). "Cabaret Movie Review & Film Summary (1972)". Archived from the original on June 12, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Kael, Pauline (February 12, 1972). "Grinning (Review of Cabaret)". The New Yorker. pp. 84, 86–88. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  11. ^ Liebenson, Donald (January 4, 1996). "Cinematic Legends Take Their Place in National Film Registry". Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Doyle, Rachel B. (April 12, 2013). "Looking for Isherwood's Berlin". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Moss, Howard (June 3, 1979). "Christopher Isherwood: Man and Work". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Spender, Stephen (October 30, 1977). "Life Wasn't a Cabaret". The New York Times. p. 198. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  15. ^ a b c d Spender, Stephen (1966) [1951]. World Within World: The Autobiography of Stephen Spender. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 125–130. ISBN 978-0-679-64045-5.
  16. ^ a b c Frost, Peter (December 31, 2013). "Jean Ross: The Real Sally Bowles". Morning Star. Retrieved February 28, 2020. Frost's article is more or less a summary of the Oxford National Biography article by Peter Parker.
  17. ^ a b c d e Parker, Peter (September 2004). "Ross, Jean Iris (1911–1973)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/74425. Retrieved June 18, 2017. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  18. ^ a b Fryer, Jonathan (1993). Eye of the Camera. Allison & Busy. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-85031-938-5.
  19. ^ a b MacLean, Roy (2014). Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries. St. Martin's Press. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-250-05186-8 – via Google Books.
  20. ^ Isherwood 1976, p. 84: "... the American thrilled them by inviting them to come with him to the States and then dashed their hopes by leaving Berlin abruptly, without saying goodbye."
  21. ^ a b c Parker, Peter (2005) [2004]. Isherwood: A Life Revealed. London: Picador. pp. 192, 220. ISBN 978-0-330-32826-5 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Thomson, David (March 21, 2005). "The Observer as Hero". The New Republic. New York City. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Lehmann, John (1987). Christopher Isherwood: A Personal Memoir. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 28–9. ISBN 0-8050-1029-7.
  24. ^ Parker 2005, p. 221: "Isherwood recognized that he could not remain in Berlin much longer and on April 5, the day measures were brought in to ban Jews from the teaching professions and the Civil Service, he arrived back in London, bringing with him many of his possessions."
  25. ^ a b c d e Isherwood, Christopher (1976). Christopher and His Kind: A Memoir, 1929-1939. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0374-53522-3.
  26. ^ Farina, William (2013). "Christopher Isherwood, Reporting from Berlin". The German Cabaret Legacy in American Popular Music. London: McFarland & Company. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7864-6863-8.
  27. ^ Izzo, David Garrett (2005). Christopher Isherwood Encyclopedia. London: McFarland & Company. pp. 97, 144. ISBN 0-7864-1519-3.
  28. ^ a b "'Cabaret' Film Rights At AA's Peak $1.5-Mil". Variety. May 28, 1969. p. 1.
  29. ^ a b c Cabaret at the American Film Institute Catalog
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Garebian, Keith (2011). The Making of Cabaret. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199732500.
  31. ^ a b c Day, James; Isherwood, Christopher (April 25, 1974). "Christopher Isherwood on Day at Night, with James Day". Day at Night. Season 2. Episode 32. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). CUNY TV. Episode Information. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  32. ^ Schudel, Matt (January 23, 2019). "Kaye Ballard, comic actress and singer from vaudeville to TV, dies at 93". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  33. ^ Riedel, Michael (March 26, 2024). "The Untold History of Cabaret: Revived and Kicking". No. April 2024. Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 7, 2024.
  34. ^ a b c "Liza Minnelli". Inside the Actors Studio. Season 12. Episode 6. February 5, 2006. Bravo.
  35. ^ Buck, Jerry (March 28, 1973). "Lizi Minnelli Is Named Best Actress — Brando Won't Accept Oscar". Youngstown Vindicator. Associated Press. pp. 1–2. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  36. ^ Aguiar, Annabel (June 29, 2021). "'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' at 50: The tender yet terrifying movie that never lost its flavor". Washington Post.
  37. ^ a b c Russell, Jamie (June 6, 2002). "BBC – Films – Review – Cabaret". BBC. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  38. ^ "Cabaret – Broadway Musical – Original". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  39. ^ "Actress-comedian sings her song – 36 years after losing it to Streisand". Deseret News. June 27, 1997. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  40. ^ Kander, John; Ebb, Fred; Lawrence, Greg (September 9, 2004). Colored Lights: Forty Years of Words and Music, Show Biz, Collaboration, and All That Jazz. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0571211692.
  41. ^ a b Belletto 2008, pp. 609–630
  42. ^ "Cabaret (1972) soundtrack details". Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  43. ^ "Cabaret: Original Soundtrack Recording (1972 Film)". Amazon. March 8, 1996. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  44. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 281. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  45. ^ " – Soundtrack – Cabaret" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  46. ^ Racca, Guido (2019). M&D Borsa Album 1964–2019 (in Italian). Amazon Digital Services LLC - KDP Print US. ISBN 978-1094705002.
  47. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  48. ^ "American album certifications – Liza Minnelli – Cabaret (soundtrack)". Recording Industry Association of America.
  49. ^ a b "Washington Throws $ Over Hudson; Ziegfeld's Hit , At Last, 'Cabaret,' 80G; Newcomers Benefit From Holiday Span". Variety. February 23, 1972. p. 11.
  50. ^ "Temp and Biz in N.Y. Rise; Holders Improve; 'Abductors' $18,000, In 3d; 'Cabaret,' Opening Day, Sock $8,684". Variety. February 16, 1972. p. 8.
  51. ^ "50 Top-Grossing Films". Variety. March 1, 1972. p. 9.
  52. ^ "'Cabaret' New York Area $5,282,263; Figure Is Boff; Less So In Sticks". Variety. September 13, 1972. p. 4.
  53. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1972". Variety. January 3, 1973. p. 7.
  54. ^ "'Cabaret' in Oscar Wow". Variety. April 4, 1973. p. 5.
  55. ^ "50 Top-Grossing Films". Variety. April 11, 1973. p. 9.
  56. ^ "50 Top-Grossing Films". Variety. April 18, 1973. p. 9.
  57. ^ "Udated All-Time Film Champs". Variety. January 9, 1974. p. 23.
  58. ^ Frederick, Robert B. (January 3, 1973). "'Godfather': & Rest Of Pack". Variety. p. 7.
  59. ^ Bletchly, Rachel (April 2, 2013). "Their True Characters". Daily Mirror. London. p. 26.
  60. ^ Isherwood, Christopher (2012). Liberation: Diaries, Vol. 3: 1970–1983. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-208474-3.
  61. ^ a b c Johnstone, Iain (Autumn 1975). "The Real Sally Bowles". Folio. Washington, D.C.: American University. pp. 33–34.
  62. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (December 3, 2013). "Top 10 Musicals". The Guardian. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  63. ^ Dirks, Tim (2013). "Cabaret (1972)". Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  64. ^ "Cabaret". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  65. ^ Steyn, Mark (November 29, 1997). "Hammerstein, Bernstein, Blitzstein, Jule Styne – The great names of American musical theatre are Jewish". The Independent. Retrieved May 21, 2018. The best Nazi song is by Jewish songwriters. As with "Ol' Man River", when Cabaret called for an ostensibly innocent pastoral hymn to German nationalism, John Kander and Fred Ebb turned in such a plausible doppelganger that it was immediately denounced as a grossly offensive Nazi anthem. "The accusations against Tomorrow Belongs To Me' made me very angry", says Fred Ebb. "'I knew that song as a child', one man had the audacity to tell me. A rabbinical person wrote to me saying he had absolute proof it was a Nazi song." It wasn't: it was written in the mid-Sixties for a Broadway musical. But today, it's the only Nazi song we all know: On election night 1987, when Spitting Image decided to draw some "crass parallels" between Mrs Thatcher and another strong leader, they opted to show the Tories singing not the Horst Wessel song, but "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" – secure in the knowledge that we'd all get the joke.
  66. ^ Belletto 2008, p. 610.
  67. ^ Belletto 2008, p. 625.
  68. ^ "Films Winning 4 or More Awards Without Winning Best Picture". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. March 2011. Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  69. ^ "The 45th Academy Awards (1973) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  70. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1973". BAFTA. 1973. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  71. ^ "Best Cinematography in Feature Film" (PDF). Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  72. ^ "25th DGA Awards". Directors Guild of America Awards. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  73. ^ "Cabaret – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  74. ^ "KCFCC Award Winners – 1970-79". December 14, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  75. ^ "1972 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  76. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  77. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. December 19, 2009. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  78. ^ "Film Hall of Fame Inductees: Productions". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  79. ^ "Awards Winners". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  80. ^ Dirks, Tim. "50 Greatest Movies from TV Guide". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  81. ^ Dirks, Tim. "The 100 Best Movies Ever Made by Movieline Magazine". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  82. ^ Dirks, Tim. "100 Greatest Films of All Time". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  83. ^ Dirks, Tim. "Hot 100 Films from the Past". Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  84. ^ Baines, Christian (July 24, 2012). "10 Classic Movies Every Gay Man Must See". samesame. Archived from the original on March 2, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  85. ^ St. James, James (June 8, 2017). "The Gay Essentials: The 50 Movies Every Gay Man Needs to See". The WOW Report. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  86. ^ "50 Essential Gay Films". December 9, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  87. ^ McNary, Dave (January 31, 2012). "Restored 'Cabaret' to Open TCM Festival". Variety.
  88. ^ "Cabaret (1972)". TCM Classic Film Festival. 2012. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012.
  89. ^ a b c d e Elber, Lynn (April 12, 2012). "'Cabaret': Bob Fosse Classic Gets Restoration For 40th Anniversary". HuffPost. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013.
  90. ^ Reuben, Michael (January 25, 2013). "Cabaret Blu-ray". Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  91. ^ "Cabaret Blu-ray". Retrieved June 11, 2020.


Francesco Mismirigo, Cabaret, un film allemand, Université de Genève, 1984