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The Lives of Others (2006)
"Das Leben der Anderen" (original title)

8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 213,399 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 387 user | 214 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

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Top 250 #54 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 77 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Thomas Thieme ...
Hans-Uwe Bauer ...
Paul Hauser
Volkmar Kleinert ...
Albert Jerska
Matthias Brenner ...
Karl Wallner
Charly Hübner ...
Udo
Herbert Knaup ...
Gregor Hessenstein
Bastian Trost ...
Häftling 227
Marie Gruber ...
Frau Meineke
...
Schriftexperte (as Zack Volker Michalowski)
...
Einsatzleiter in Uniform
Martin Brambach ...
Einsatzleiter Meyer
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Storyline

In the early 1980s, Georg Dreyman (a successful dramatist) and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland (a popular actress), were huge intellectual stars in (former) East Germany, although they secretly don't always toe the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more. Written by fippi2000

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where power is absolute, nothing is private. [Scandinavian Blu-ray.] See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 March 2006 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Lives of Others  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£223,586 (UK) (13 April 2007)

Gross:

$11,284,657 (USA) (7 September 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Donnersmarck spent a month translating the screenplay into French and sending it to Gabriel Yared to entice his participation as composer for the film. For the scene in which Dreyman plays the Sonata For A Good Man on piano, Donnersmarck asked Yared to write a composition that in two minutes would turn Lenin away from all the atrocities he later committed. This pivotal scene was the germinal idea around which the original screenplay was conceived and constructed. See more »

Goofs

Wiesler's car - a Wartburg - is in fact a model which wasn't produced until the end of the '80s (the rear lights revealed it). Meanwhile the soundtrack contains sound of the old - two-stroke - engine, and -somewhat confusingly- at the exhaust you can clearly see the typical two stroke smoke. The same(?), later production type (with 1.3L four stroke VW engine) can be seen in light blue, standing on the right in one of the first shots of Georg's street. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Guard: [subtitled version] Stand still. Eyes to the floor.
[pause]
Guard: Walk on.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Pauw: Episode #1.50 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Wie Ein Stern
Performed by Frank Schöbel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A wonderful film that deserves a wide audience
11 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this film in its North American premiere in a packed theater at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival this past week and was pleased to be part of a standing ovation at the end for the director and star, who were both on hand.

"The Lives of Others," set in East Germany not long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, tells the moving story of a police investigator forced to confront himself and the work he does. In a society poisoned by secrecy, fear and the abuse of power, a number of the movie's characters -- artists, actors, writers -- must look deep inside and decide what they are made of; none more so than the investigator.

This is a movie that took me to a place and time that felt very authentic, for a tale that was very satisfying.

Ulrich Muhe, who plays the investigator, is mesmerizing, and the young director is to be applauded for this, his first full-length film. Some have compared "The Lives of Others" to Coppola's "The Conversation" but the two have completely different story arcs and are only superficially similar.

Both my companion and I felt this was our favorite of the six films we had a chance to see at the festival.


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