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

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  30 March 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 239,134 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 398 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 Rated Movies #55 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 75 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


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


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lives of Others  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$213,589 (USA) (9 February 2007)


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's commentary on the deleted scene of the prostitute at Wiesler's apartment, he auditioned real prostitutes for the part, until finally casting body painter Gabi Fleming. See more »


The literal translation of "Das Leben der Anderen" into English would be "The Life of the Others." However, the pluralization rules for collective nouns are different in German than in English, so "The Lives of Others" more accurately conveys the sense of the German title and is thus the better translation. See more »


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


Referenced in Cleanflix (2009) See more »


Written by Ernst Ludwig Petrowsky
Performed by Manfried Ludwig Sextett feat. Ernst Ludwig Petrowsky
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A German Expat Feels his first pang of forlorn German patriotism
16 October 2007 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

This film utterly blew me away. Full disclosure: I'm a German born (Munich born) German-American who left Germany in 1986, before the wall came down. I cannot describe the feeling I felt as the last few words were spoken on the screen. I could not look at the subtitles ( a habit of speaking two languages ) because my eyes were so full of tears. I cannot tell you how I was so sorry I did not experience the wall coming down. This film healed a wound that may have been left by the nightmare years of 1938-1945, my own great uncle being a Nazi war criminal, convicted in Nuremberg in 1946. Yes, we are mensch too. We have the potential for greatness (of character) in spite of our history. Thank you Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, for giving me back half of my lost soul in this single "es ist für mich". I am reminded again that the difference between ourselves and beasts is that we have a choice.

103 of 118 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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the red thumb print mk1319
complete copy of '1984' by george orwell baesuk81
Loved the characters,but very badly written film monika-36
Last Scene-Question? bumworkinsw
Plot holes Ti_Perihelion
Why Anton Grubitz said to Wiesler that he's carrer is over? Ihesselink
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