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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

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

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lives of Others  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Four actors from this film appeared in Amen. (2002): Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Mühe, Ulrich Tukur and Hinnerk Schönemann. See more »

Goofs

After publication of Dreyman's article in "Der Spiegel", Stasi Oberstleutnant Grubitz is on the phone with an army general. He says they were able to procure a "Lichtpause" (diazocopy) of the original article. When talking with the typography expert, the typographic examples shown are in red ink, like the original, and the expert says he could be even more sure about his analysis if the examples were in black ink. However, a diazocopy is not a color copy and has a bluish color. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Ich Wurde Wenn Ich Wusste, Dass Ich Konnte
Performed by 4PS
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Best film in years
13 April 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After seeing the outstanding Pan's Labyrinth, I could not understand how anything could beat it to the Oscar for Best Film, let alone the accolade of Best Foreign Film. That was until I saw The Lives of Others.

Putting it simply, this is the best film released in years. The framework of the story surrounds a Stasi officer who is assigned to monitor a writer and his actress girlfriend considered loyal to East German regime. That is all I am prepared to reveal because this film operates on so many levels that I wouldn't know where to begin. On the surface this can be enjoyed as a taut drama but essentially it is a study of the human condition and the capacity for compassion and humanity exists in even the most inhumane people. All of this is shot against the backdrop of the greys and browns of communist East Germany.

As a film it is virtually flawless. The three central performances are nothing short of electric, with particularly Ulrich Muhe giving one of the greatest leading man performances since Al Pacino in The Godfather. None of this would be possible without a brilliant script and exemplary direction, that brings the characters to life extracting the best out of the actors. The result is no words are wasted, and every scene is relevant and expertly conceived. This manages to explore deep issues without being turgid, is moving without being draining and remains gripping and entertaining without being superficial.

In summary, this is film-making at its finest. It is the sort of movie that you'll go down on bended knee and pay homage to the inventor of cinema, because it is films like this that cinema was created for. You'll forgive a year of tedious sequels and cash cows, for the one day that films like this get released.

10 out of 10 is too modest.


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