Released in 1974, Alice in the Cities is a German movie and it is also the first part of director Wim Wenders' road movie trilogy, followed by The Wrong Move in 1975, and another year later, trilogy-closing Kings of the Road. The film centers around Philip Winter, a West German writer who is trying to get back home from New York. He meets a German woman travelling with her young daughter, and when the woman disappears, finds himself with sole custody of the child, whom he tries to return to her grandmother's care in Wuppertal, West Germany, via Amsterdam. As the trip progresses, the young girl begins to bond with Phillip, and the film explores their strange relationship as Alice tries to force Philip to keep her with him even after he has handed her over to the Wuppertal police.
Wenders was having something of a crisis of confidence as he was making this film. It was his forth, and he was making a great effort to direct something that he felt to be less derivative. He felt his previous films relied too much on the prior work of others, and was struggling to carve a niche for himself that was truly his own, and not a rehash of other people's cinematic genius. The film is often considered to be Wenders' own unwitting dress rehearsal for his best known film, Paris, Texas.
Alice in the Cities won several accolades, including Best Film at the German Film Critics' Association Awards. Wenders went on to win a BAFTA Award in the Best Director category for Paris, Texas, which also won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984. He has also been nominated for an Academy Award on three occasions, including in the Best Documentary Feature category in 1999 for his documentary movie Buena Vista Social Club.