The Three Robbers The Three Robbers
Feature Film

The Three Robbers


For those who doubt it – Hand drawn animated features are alive and well in Europe. Case in point: Die Drei Rauber (The Three Robbers).

Unfortunetly, as stated here before, this is one of dozens of foreign animated films produced every year that don’t get distributed in North America. Our friend Sinem Sakaoglu writes:

I thought it might interest you to know we’ll soon be premiering (so far only in Germany and France) the feature version of The Three Robbers (based on the book by Tomi Ungerer; Gene Deitch produced a six minute short version for Weston Woods in 1972)

It was a relatively small crew that made it all happen and though I now have a few more gray hairs than when I started the project (I did production management and overseas supervision), it was a fun and rewarding time… Hope it gets over to the other side of the pond.

So do I. It looks cute. See the trailer here.

  • Every so often, globalization fails us, it’s a shame this won’t make it to the US, the trailer looked real good.

  • Some of the character animation looks pretty simplistic (understandable if it was made by a small crew), while the backgrounds look quite intricate. I like the character design of the robbers. The voices seem good, but of course, the direction is generally what really makes or breaks a film. It’s hard to tell what that’s like.

    Most animated feature films will never make their way into North America – that’s just the way of the world. I hope to see some of them at this year’s WFAC… if there is one. I hope there is; I only found out about it last year after it was too late to attend. I keep checking their website, but it still only talks about last year’s festival.

  • Andrew

    That one by Gene Deitch was a childhood favorite of mine, and until this post, I never knew it was made by him! Thanks for the info!

  • Zee

    Looks SWEET! Add that to the list of animated movies that I hope I get a chance to see, along with EL CID, and NOCTURNA.

  • Oliver

    So they’re still making 2D animated features in Europe while in the US they are giving away free 2D animation desks.

  • red pill junkie

    But if it’s not getting distribution in the States…
    why does the WB logo appears at the beginning of the trailer?

    *scratching head* :-/

  • Quite a few years ago i pitched this as a possible featurewhen i worked at a small studio and it never went farther than that and it was just this weekend that my wife reminded me of that – quite a coincidence. I’m glad to see it was made and I hope to actually see it over here someday.

  • Benjamin De Schrijver

    Because WB is an international company?

  • greg m

    It is put out in germany by Warner bros. germany – a seperate entity. They can partially fund and distribute local projects. Their biggest successes recently are from funding the Small Polar Bear series of films which then show up on U.S. dvd shelves.

  • Not all hope is lost, Jerry.
    Studio 4°C’s movie Tekon Kinkurito that Amid blogged about like half a year ago is on DVD now here in America. I managed to snag a copy before I left for work yesterday.
    If only Mindgame could get some distribution and an english dvd.

  • John

    My gosh. That was one of my favorite storybooks when I was a kid!

    No North American release?


  • Inkan1969

    Hmm, the original Deitch short is well made. But the story really bugged me: the money the robbers use to set up their orphanage, that’s NOT their own money. :-P

  • it does look very cute, but i feel particularly won over by all the children’s voice acting. i nearly melted. why don’t children’s voice acting for american cartoons sound like that??

  • mwb

    Reminds me why I stopped reading World Literature Today regularly, learning about these cool things that will never be released in English in the US is often more frustrating than its worth.

    Still it does look good. We really need more international collections of animation released here in DVD (or any.)

  • The director, Hayo Freitag, is one of Germany’s top animators. He’s also one of the most talented artists I’ve ever worked with, and a great guy besides. Tomi Ungerer’s work is amazing. I want a print of this movie!

  • sinem

    Jerry, what a nice surprise, thanks so much for the plug :)

    And thanks everyone for your nice comments. All hope is not lost. The film doesn’t have N. American distribution…yet. Plus it’s showing at the Chicago Int’l Children’s Film Fest ( this October.

    red pill junkie, re: WB and distribution, what greg m says.

    Jessica, glad that Elena (voice of the little girl Tiffany) crosses the language barrier and still works her charm. It was after a loooong search and casting sessions of little pro actors, and just when we were about to give up, that we found Elena recommended by one of our BG Supervisors (well, classmate of one of her kids). She’d never done voice acting, or acting for that matter, before. So it was luck mixed in with the good judgment of our director Hayo, who threw away all the “good” takes and rather used all the takes that had little imperfections in them (try having a seven-year-old read the word Maharajah – Maharadscha in German – out loud. i can swear Hayo wrote that stuff into the dialog with ulterior motives!)

    I wish I could show you guys at least the intro and the outro done in the original book’s illustration style (a mix between cut out and cartoony animation) and with Ungerer telling us his story (yep, he is also the narrator of the film).

    Maybe, hopefully, coming soon to a theater near you…
    Cheers from Hamburg

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Reminds me why I stopped reading World Literature Today regularly, learning about these cool things that will never be released in English in the US is often more frustrating than its worth.

    Now we know what it feels like to be the only one who knew about Japanese animation 20 years ago when only a few would spend hundreds of dollars on VHS tapes of their favorite shows/movies and show ’em off at sci-fi conventions! Those people were the true pioneers at a time when finding out about these things was even more limited in the pre-WWW days.

    > Still it does look good. We really need more international collections of animation released here in DVD (or any.)

    I only wish there would be such a company that would take risks in bringing stuff like this over in some form or fashion.

  • K. Borcz

    It’s playing here in Chicago at the Children’s Film Festival..and even better, they’re screening it WITH the new Goofy short. I’m def. excited to see it!

  • Steve G

    Sinem…congrats on the film. It looks pretty damn nice. Are you going to try and put it up for Academy Award consideration?

  • sinem

    Hi Steve, thanks. It was an amazingly talented crew, and I’m lucky and proud to have been a part of it. As to the Academy consideration, I think it’s the producers’ intention but can’t say for sure…sorry for the non-answer but i’m not really in the picture on this one. rather ask me about what scene had how many retakes or frames ;)

  • Steve G

    Well, hopefully they do submit it as i’d love to get achance to see it. I think I’ll have to join the nominating committee again this year.

  • It doesn’t look all that great (Hey, the evil black-dressed boss woman got a cake in the face! HILARITY ENSUES! The thieves learn how to love!), but I like the design of the network of caves the thieves live in.

  • wellguesswhat?

    If you are interested in the award winning original animated short from ’72 it is on a Scholastic DVD called “Pete’s a Pizza” , ASIN: B00008DDX0

    It is a classic and worth a gander. Word for word the book with action, over in 6 minutes, not a bloated reimagined 90 minute cartoon.

    The sound effects and musical score will stick in your mind FOREVER!


  • its nice to hear that 3 robbers film feature doing good in germany, im proud to be part of the small crew overseas. im the model checker of the 3 robbers. ive met the very talented director HAYO FREITAG and producer SINEM SAKAOGLU when they came here in the phil. its a great experienced working with these guys! GOODLUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nats escalderon

    the show must be really great…
    the background and also the color was awesome…
    tifanny is very cute…
    this is nats from toon city animation..
    lead supervisor on CU & IB department ….
    who held that show…
    & also thanks to HAYO FREITAG & SINEM SAKAOGLU..

  • jhun taupa

    the color style and the background of this film was fantastic…. HAYO FREITAG and SINEM SAKAOGLU did a great job.. it’s an honor to work with a very talented artist overseas.. i did the model check for tiffany…. CONGRATULATIONS AND MORE POWER..

  • Do you know that Phaidon Press to the English Language copy of Three Robbers? Web link attached and you can adjust the purchase price to US$.

    We hope you like it.