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Signs of Life (1968)
"Lebenszeichen" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  December 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,078 users  
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On Crete, a wounded German paratrooper named Stroszek is sent to the quiet city of Kos with his wife Nora, a Greek nurse, and two other soldiers recovering from minor wounds. Billeted in a ... See full summary »



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Title: Signs of Life (1968)

Signs of Life (1968) on IMDb 7.4/10

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Peter Brogle ...
Wolfgang Reichmann ...
Athina Zacharopoulou ...
Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg ...
Wolfgang Stumpf ...
Henry van Lyck ...
Julio Pinheiro ...
Florian Fricke ...
Heinz Usener ...
Achmed Hafiz ...
Greek resident
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jannakis Frasakis
Eleni Katerinaki


On Crete, a wounded German paratrooper named Stroszek is sent to the quiet city of Kos with his wife Nora, a Greek nurse, and two other soldiers recovering from minor wounds. Billeted in a decaying fortress, they guard a munitions depot. There's little to do: Becker, a classicist, translates inscriptions on ancient tablets found in the fortress, Meinhart devises traps for cockroaches, Nora helps Stroszek make fireworks using gunpowder from grenades in the depot. Slowly, in the heat and torpor, Stroszek goes mad, drives the others from the fortress, and threatens the city with blowing up the depot. With care, the German command must figure out how to get him down. Written by <>

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Release Date:

December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lebenszeichen  »

Box Office


DEM 25,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Werner Herzog:  one the soldiers at the beginning of the film that transports Stoszek to the hospital. See more »


Young Child: Now that I can talk, what shall I say?
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User Reviews

My favorite Herzog
22 November 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I first saw this film in 1969 in Bangalore (India) in a German film festival. The film was unheralded, being the first feature from an unknown director. However, the film made an everlasting impression on me, and I considered it among 2 or 3 of the best films I had seen till then. I kept track of Werner Herzog films ever since, and have been seeing them all I could lay my hands on. Even today, I'll put it as among the 10 best films I have ever seen, and it remains my favorite Herzog movie. The film is sheer poetry. It's a film about 3 characters'(2 soldiers and wife of one of them) boredom in an isolated Greek island, and how each one handles it. While one of the soldiers snaps up at the end, and tries to destroy everything in his impotent fury - managing only to kill a donkey ultimately - the second soldier keeps himself and first soldier's wife sane by just being raucously funny. I found the story, direction, camera-work and acting fascinating,and far from boring, as suggested by some reviews. I believe, Herzog has been influenced by India's Satyajit Ray in his style of presentation. He is one of the 3 most uncompromising film directors of the world in last 50 years, the other 2 being Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson, and his first feature is among his best.

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