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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 239,171 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?


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 »


The font generated by Wiesler's typewriter is sans-serifed, whereas the font on the 'same' reports read by Dreyman towards the end of the movie is quite different, this time serifed. See more »


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


Featured in Pauw: Episode #1.50 (2014) 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 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.

166 of 199 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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