8.5/10
272,874
411 user 215 critic

The Lives of Others (2006)

Das Leben der Anderen (original title)
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.
Reviews
Popularity
900 ( 72)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #56 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 75 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

City of God (2002)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele, Leandro Firmino
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.

Director: Juan José Campanella
Stars: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Amélie (2001)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village's theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater's projectionist.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili
Das Boot (1981)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann
Downfall (2004)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes
Jagten (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp
The Pianist (2002)
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay
Oldeuboi (2003)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Stars: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny
Edit

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
Edit

Storyline

Gerd Wiesler is an officer with the Stasi, the East German secret police. The film begins in 1984 when Wiesler attends a play written by Georg Dreyman, who is considered by many to be the ultimate example of the loyal citizen. Wiesler has a gut feeling that Dreyman can't be as ideal as he seems and believes surveillance is called for. The Minister of Culture agrees but only later does Wiesler learn that the Minister sees Dreyman as a rival and lusts after his partner Christa-Maria. The more time he spends listening in on them, the more he comes to care about them. The once rigid Stasi officer begins to intervene in their lives, in a positive way, protecting them whenever possible. Eventually, Wiesler activities catch up to him and while there is no proof of wrongdoing, he finds himself in menial jobs - until the unbelievable happens. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before the Fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany's Secret Police Listened to Your Secrets See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lives of Others  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$213,589 (USA) (9 February 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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although it was very common for national flags and coats of arms of the former GDR to be placed almost anywhere in public places and institutions, not a single one was shown throughout the whole movie (except for one artistic representation of the CoA, with the hanging rope over it, on the cover of Der Spiegel magazine). See more »

Goofs

In the final interrogation of Sieland by Wiesler, he sketches the floor plan in about 5 seconds, and definitely doesn't have time to make the double thickness lines, markers for windows, and door swing arcs. It in fact looks like at least two different pencils were used in the final sketch. His final stroke before showing her the sketch is circular in motion, with no circles to be found in the final. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Shhh (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Es Gibt Momente
Music Composed by Hansi Biebl
Lyrics By Kurt Demmler
Performed by Hansi Biebl
(P) 2007 Colosseum Music Entertainment GmbH, Licensed From Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH
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.


172 of 206 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?