River trip with chicken - Flußfahrt mit Huhn

Original title River trip with chicken
Country of production Germany
original language Deutsch
Publishing year 1984
Long 103 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director Arend Agthe
script Arend Agthe
production Gudrun Ruzicková-Steiner
music Martin Cyrus ,
Matthias Raue
Camera Jürgen Juerges
cut Yvonne Koelsch

Flußfahrt mit Huhn is a German children's film by Arend Agthe from 1984.


Johanna is brought to her grandpa by her parents during the summer vacation. Her cousin Robert is there too. However, he doesn't want anything to do with Johanna.

Johanna notices that Robert and his friends are up to something. When he is not at home, she examines his room. There she finds books about pirates. Robert also gathered supplies under his bed. One night Johanna discovers that Robert is taking money from slot machines that hang in his parents' pub.

She follows Robert to a boathouse the next day. Robert and his friends have gathered there. Johanna secretly overhears the boys. They are planning a trip on the river. During the conversation, Johanna loses her balance and falls into the water. This is how the boys notice that they have been overheard. The boys confront Johanna and realize that she knows everything about their plan. So they have no choice but to take Johanna with them. After a solemn ceremony, Johanna is accepted into her pirate gang.

First a chicken has to be caught. Because, according to an old seaman's custom, there should be a chicken on every ship to deter the Klabautermann. The children secretly sneak out of the house at night and the river cruise begins. They take Grandpa's sailing boat for this. The adventure trip should go into “unknown” waters in order to find a “new” passage to the sea. The next morning, Grandpa notices that the children have disappeared. Johanna had left a letter stating that they were going down the river. When Joan's parents call, he doesn't tell them that she has disappeared. Instead, he tells them that they want to go on a longer trip together. Since the grandpa wants to settle the matter in the family, he does not call in the police, but goes looking for the children on his own. To do this, he borrows a motorboat.

Robert already suspects that grandpa will follow them. Therefore the children hide in the bank area. And so the grandpa drives past the children in his faster boat without noticing them. At night, Grandpa camps on an island in the river. He is discovered by the children without them noticing. Robert steals the motorboat from Grandpa. And so he is initially without a vehicle the next day. But finally he discovers the sailboat the children have left behind. Meanwhile, they continued their journey in the motorboat.

After the grandpa finally caught up with them again, the children decide that it is better if he no longer has a boat. And so they also steal his sailing boat. But he manages to catch up with the children again. He rappels down from a bridge and can barely catch the dinghy. After the children have cut loose the dinghy, the grandpa now has to continue the journey in a rubber dinghy while the children continue to travel in the motor boat.

Little Alex disappears at night. He drifted off in the sailing boat. The children are looking for him, but cannot find him at first. They find him again the next morning, but Grandpa is with Alex too. The children manage to separate Alex from their grandpa, and so the cat-and-mouse game continues.

The next day the children dock at an abandoned factory. The old building naturally stimulates the children's imagination. And so they play on the premises. But they are being watched by a man. This eventually locks the children up. He loosens your boat from the jetty, and so it drifts off. The children now hope that grandpa will save them.

Meanwhile, Grandpa camouflaged his boat so that the children would not discover him again. On the chase after the children, he comes to an exercise in the military. They consider him a spy because he is traveling in a camouflaged boat and arrest him. When the military finally realizes his mistake, they drive him further down the river. He also passes the factory where the children are being held. Grandpa has no idea of ​​this and drives past unsuspecting. Eventually they discover the aborted boats and Grandpa resumes looking for the children. After Grandpa has phoned Johanna's parents, things are getting tight. Because the mother would like to visit her soon, as she has brought her river trip near her parents' holiday resort.

In the meantime the children have managed to break free. But without a boat, the children would have to continue on foot. A fisherman comes to their aid. He discovered the aborted boats. These are located at a landing stage of a hotel where the grandpa stayed. And Johanna's parents have also arrived there. After the whole family has gathered, the trip on the river continues, now together with grandpa. And so the great goal, the sea, can be achieved.


River trip with chicken is one of the few children's films from the Federal Republic of the 1980s, a complete list is available under Children's films in the Federal Republic from 1945 to the 1980s . With this film, director Agthe "brought a breath of fresh air to the West German children's film lull", wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015. [1]

In 2014, Agthe released a new version of River Cruise with Chicken on DVD, which was shortened by 20 minutes - to 84 minutes now . He justified the shortening with changed viewing habits of children: “We brought more speed into it. Because the children today have a different perception than before, they are used to faster cuts. (...) The children understand jumps today without any problems, so I don't even have to tell what happened in between. " [1]


  • “... And this is the launch of a children's film that has everything that the genre in the land of educators has been missing for so long: a thirst for adventure, romance and humor. He is like the children who want to upgrade him and see him: Imaginative, snotty, a little malicious and only mean to those who deserve it. Grandpa is not one of them ... "

Tip, 23/1984

  • “River trip with chicken is a fun film - a film full of tension and fantasy at the same time. The pictures leave time to look at, convey a feeling for the landscape and arouse the desire to go on a voyage of discovery yourself. "

Children and youth film correspondence, 2/1984

  • “An exciting and humorous children's film with strong, believable characters, a good story and imaginative resolution, full of slapstick comedy, but not without poetry. The film starts with the seafaring and pirate fantasies of growing children and shows how the fantasies turn a small voyage of discovery into a great adventure. ”
    Filmdienst, 1984
  • "River trip with chicken is not only a children's film, but also a travel film, an adventure film and above all a comedy."
    Zitty, 1984


  • 1984: 1st prize of the children and adults jury at the children and youth festival Gijón (Spain)
  • 1984: 1st prize of the children's jury at the Hildesheim Children's Film Week
  • 1984: Prize of the Frankfurt Authors' Foundation
  • 1985: Honorary diploma from the jury and prize from the children's jury at the Children's Film Festival at the Moscow International Film Festival
  • 1986: German Youth Video Award
  • Inclusion in the film canon of the Federal Association of Youth and Film and the children's and youth film correspondence [2]


Individual evidence

  1. a b Interview by Barbara Hordych: To new shores . In: sueddeutsche.de . June 28, 2015, ISSN 0174-4917 ( sueddeutsche.de [accessed November 15, 2017]).
  2. MFA + film distribution: River cruise with chicken - MFA + film distribution. Retrieved November 15, 2017 .