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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 235,094 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 396 user | 212 critic | 39 from

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 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


Where power is absolute, nothing is private. [Scandinavian Blu-ray.] 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?


The German DVD of this film was recalled due to some statements director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made in his audio commentary about the alleged activities of politician Gregor Gysi and actress Jenny Gröllmann as unofficial agents (IM) for the "Stasi" (secret police of former East Germany). New and old revisions of the DVD can be distinguished by a marking on the back spine (old retail/rental: Z4/Z4R, new retail/rental: Z4A/Z4S). See more »


Secretary Hempf's car is a 1980s stretch version of a Volvo 264. But all the interior scenes are shot using a Mercedes Benz S-Class Pullmann from the time of the film production. In a short clip the Mercedes is also used for an exterior shot, when Grubitz enters the car outside the ministry building. See more »


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


Referenced in Pauw & Witteman: Episode #5.146 (2011) See more »


Die Sonate vom Guten Menschen
Written by Gabriel Yared, Stéphane Moucha
Performed by Sebastian Koch
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I didn't fall for them.....
25 February 2007 | by (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

Memories of the 70's and 80's visits in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) flood my mind while watching this film. Some are revolting, some comical and others are frightening. As a student of German, I visited the GDR several times to see pen pal friends. I remember one friend looking around and whispering to me in the S-Bahn - just in case one of the many "IM's" (unofficial workers of the Stasi) was listening in.

I visited a representative of a magazine for western countries about the GDR and spent one memorable weekend sightseeing with her. Near the end of my visit, she asked me if I would work for them regularly by writing my opinion of "GDR Review" and its suitability for readers in the West. I would be paid in GDR money to use during further visits. After politely refusing this "offer" ("The police at home might not like it!"), I always had a sneaking suspicion that that was an attempt by the Stasi to recruit me.

Years later I applied to see my "Stasi File". I will never forget the feeling deep inside me when I read in it: ".….is not suitable for our use due to his apparent connection to the police in his homeland." The beautiful, friendly lady in Dresden had been a Stasi informer all the time! All of my visits to the GDR and the people I visited were listed in that file. For me "The Lives of Others" is an authentic representation of that totalitarian state. I am glad that those times have ended.

Congratulations on a well deserved Oscar!

61 of 73 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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