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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.
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Top Rated Movies #57 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 75 wins & 34 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 ...
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's 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


Nothing is private. Nothing is sacred. 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:

€814,337 (Germany), 26 March 2006, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$213,589, 9 February 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,286,112, 13 September 2007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$77,356,819, 1 February 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ranked 2nd best film of 2007 by Empire magazine, narrowly missing the top spot to The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). See more »


Throughout the film, Wiesler is addressed as "Hauptmann" - Captain. However, when Lt.-Col. Grubitz is looking for him after Christa's interrogation, Grubitz asks if "Colonel" Wiesler has left. See more »


[first lines]
Guard: [subtitled version] Stand still. Eyes to the floor.
Guard: Walk on.
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Referenced in Cleanflix (2009) See more »


Performed by Karat
Lyrics By Norbert Kaiser
Music By Ullrich Swillms (as Ed Swillms)
Published By Harth Musikverlag / Bergisch Gladbach
(P) 2007 Colosseum Music Entertainment GmbH, Licensed From Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Intelligent and moving dealing with GDR history
24 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

East Berlin, November 1984. Five years before its downfall the GDR seeks to maintain its power with the help of a merciless system of control and observation. When Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz puts loyal Stasi-Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler on to the famous writer Georg Dreymann and his girlfriend Christa Maria Sieland who is a famous actress herself, he expects career advancement for himself. For most important politicians are responsible for this "operative act".

What Wiesler did not expect: the intimate view on the world of the ones he's observing changes the snitch as well. Looking at "the life of the others" makes him aware of the beggarliness in his own life and enables access to a so far unknown world of love, free thinking and speaking he is hardly able to elude. But the system can't be stopped anymore and a dangerous game, which destroys the love of Christa Maria Sieland and Georg Dreymann and Wieslers present existence begins.

Until the fall of the wall each of them has paid a big price. After that a whole new world begins.

My personal opinion - though it doesn't count that much - is that this one a an absolute Must See. I can hardly remember such an intelligent and moving German movie especially not including the whole topic of GDR history and the dealing with it. I think this is the first German movie which shows this system as it used to be (which has been confirmed by several contemporary witnesses) and not turns it and its people into comedy though there have been several good ones, of course.

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