Berlin in the 1920s. Franz Biberkopf has just been released from prison after serving four years for violence that resulted in the death of a girlfriend. He returns to his old neighborhood -- Alexanderplatz -- vowing to live a decent life. What he finds are unemployment lines, gangsters, prostitutes, petty thieves, and neophyte Nazis. In this sordid world there are new women -- devoted Eva, vulnerable young Mieze -- and the dangerous, near-psychotic Reinhold, who befriends him. As Franz struggles to survive, fate teases him with a little luck, a little pleasure, then cruelly turns on him.