After ten years in jail Ben, the most successful bank robber in German post-war history, is released and quickly becomes a media star of the early 1970s.
Ben is just about to start enjoying the (legal) fruits of his criminal past when he suddenly faces unexpected competition from Andreas Baader, the leader of the ultra-left terrorist group Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF). Baader’s rise to fame forces Ben to act.
Munich 1970: Bens, head of the famous Kimmel Gang, gets released after ten years in prison. He wants to reap the fruits of his past as “Al Capone of the palatinate” and start a straight life. The plan seems to be working out, as he quickly becomes a media star, lionized by the radical left as well as normal folk and the underworld.
While Ben is posing for the camera with guns and girls, Ruediger, a pimp and police informant, has already been set on trail by Schnitzler, an officer in Munich’s Federal Criminal Police Office, who thinks Ben can lead him to Baader. But Ruediger has a plan of his own, as he owes the boss of Munich’s criminal underworld a lot of money. Ruediger knows Ben from their time in prison, where he covered Ben’s ass. Now it’s payback time.
But Ben successfully withstands all temptations to fall back into crime as his new life trading on his past starts to generate enough money to live an easy life.
As a serial of bank robberies take place in Berlin reminiscent of Ben’s old style – which are credited to Baader and the RAF. It looks like Baader is eclipsing Ben as the country’s top criminal.
Meanwhile pressure is mounting on Ruediger with every new bank robbery by Baader and his group, and with the deadline to pay back his debts to the underworld boss approaching. He finally fabricates a story to placate Schnitzler, which gives him a few hours to talk Ben into a new bank robbery.
Finally Ruediger decides to take Ben’s girlfriend hostage. Sending the media to a supposed interview with Baader, the gangsters to an alleged hand-over of the money he owes and the cops on a false trail to the RAF. Then he forces Ben to do one final job.
It’s a genius plan but nobody – not the media, the cops, or the gangsters – trust his word, and the result is a showdown between all of them. Just before the disaster unfolds, Ben experiences the high of cracking a cash-stuffed safe one last time.
Ben’s legend ends in the car-park of the bank when the clicking of a camera triggers a shootout between the cops and the gangsters. Ben is wounded and flees through the woods . Thinking he’s finally safe, only to find there’s a roadblock ahead and the police are already waiting for him.
Movie Satus: Pre-Production