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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 #55 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 75 wins & 32 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
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Did You Know?


In 2006 the film was turned down by Dieter Kosslick and his selection jury for the Berlin International Film Festival. See more »


When Dreyman looks through the files in the Stasi archives, near the end of the film, he wants to find out what "HGW XX/7"'s real name is. The clerk flips through the card box to find Wiesler's card. Before he pulls it out, four cards by the same name of "Olga Wildenhain" can be seen, two of them even with a man's photo. See more »


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


Featured in Pauw & Witteman: Episode #4.59 (2009) See more »


Performed by Angelika Mann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The ghost of authoritarian regimes
11 March 2007 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

I've been taking German lessons for about 2 months now, and since movies were great in helping me learn English language I'm always looking for German films to watch (as well as German music to listen to) in order to educate my ears.

Anyway, I went to this place where I get all sort of rare movies and this one caught my attention... and I had no idea it got the Oscar for foreign language film this year! So I watched it without prejudice and... what did I find? A MASTERPIECE! This is the kind of movie that gets your attention from the first moment, and makes you interested in understanding the characters' psyche, which is very varied: you have the idealistic good guys, the idealistic bad guys, the people that broad their minds understanding that no political dogma is better than individual freedom, etc. And even though the movie has very tough moments it is all so well done and presented with such a good taste that in the end you feel some sort of relieved.

In this present day, when the ghost of authoritarian regimes still fly over our heads (in my country we're getting closer and closer to that reality), this movie will make you think about how important love, life and freedom are.

A must see!

102 of 115 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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