- Directors: Bob Fosse
- Producers: Cy Feuer
- Writers: Christopher Isherwood, John Van Druten, Joe Masteroff, Jay Allen
- Genres: Drama, Musical, Romance
- Actors: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joel Grey
Film Programmer Joanna Ney says in discussing the film. â€œThe musical numbers are, in fact, the essence of the film and inform the narrative.”
In early 1930s Berlin, American singer Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) performs at the Kit Kat Klub. A new arrival in the city, Brian Roberts (Michael York), moves into Sally’s apartment building. A reserved English academic and writer, Brian gives English lessons to earn a living while completing his German studies. Sally unsuccessfully tries to seduce Brian and suspects he may be gay (Christopher Isherwood, on whose semi-autobiographical book the film is indirectly based, was gay and reportedly “went to Berlin in search of boys to love”).
Brian tells Sally that on three previous occasions he has tried to have romantic relationships with women, all of which have failed. The unlikely pair become friends, and Brian is witness to Sally’s anarchic, bohemian life in the last days of the German Weimar Republic. Later in the film, Sally and Brian become lovers despite their earlier reservations, and Brian and Sally conclude with irony that his previous failures with women were because they were “the wrong three girls.”
Sally befriends Maximilian von Heune, a rich playboy baron who takes her and Brian to his country estate. It becomes ambiguous which of the duo Max is seducing, epitomized by a scene in which the three dance intimately together in a wine-induced reverie. Max eventually loses interest in the two, and leaves them back in Berlin. When Sally triumphantly tells Brian that she slept with Max, Brian begins to laugh and reveals that he slept with Max as well. After the ensuing argument, Brian storms off and picks a fight with a group of Nazis, who beat him senseless. Brian and Sally make up in their rooming house, where Sally reveals that Max left them an envelope of money.
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.