Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a 2006 period psychological thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Dustin Hoffman. Tykwer, with Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, also composed the music. The screenplay, by Tykwer, Andrew Birkin and Bernd Eichinger, is based on Patrick Süskind's 1985 novel Perfume. Set in 18th century France, the film tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Whishaw), an olfactory genius, and his homicidal quest for the perfect scent.
Producer Eichinger bought the film rights to Süskind's novel in 2000 and began writing the screenplay together with Birkin. Tykwer was selected as the director and joined the two in developing the screenplay in 2003. Principal photography began on July 12, 2005 and concluded on October 16, 2005; filming took place in Spain, Germany, and France. The film was made on a budget of €50 million (est. $60 million), making it one of the most expensive German films.
Perfume was released on September 14, 2006 in Germany, December 26, 2006 in the United Kingdom, and December 27, 2006 in the United States. It grossed over $135 million worldwide, of which over $53 million was made in Germany. Critics' reviews of the film were mixed; the consensus was that the film had strong cinematography and acting but suffered from an uneven screenplay.