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The Book Thief (2013)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, War  |  27 November 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 88,391 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 220 user | 249 critic | 31 from

While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.



(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator / Death (voice)
Julian Lehmann ...
Gotthard Lange ...
Grave Digger
Rainer Reiners ...
Nico Liersch ...
Ludger Bökelmann ...
Paul Schaefer ...
Nozomi Linus Kaisar ...
Oliver Stokowski ...
Robert Beyer ...
Jewish Accountant


In 1938, the young girl Liesel Meminger is traveling by train with her mother and her younger brother when he dies. Her mother buries the boy in a cemetery by the tracks and Liesel picks up a book, "The Gravediggers Handbook", which was left on the grave of her brother and brings it with her. Liesel is delivered to a foster family in a small town and later she learns that her mother left her because she is a communist. Her stepmother, Rosa Hubermann, is a rude but caring woman and her stepfather, Hans Hubermann, is a simple kind-hearted man. Liesel befriends her next door neighbor, the boy Rudy Steiner, and they go together to the school. When Hans discovers that Liesel cannot read, he teaches her using her book and Liesel becomes an obsessed reader. During a Nazi speech where the locals are forced to burn books in a bonfire, Liesel recovers one book for her and the Major's wife Ilsa Hermann witnesses her action. Meanwhile Hans hides the Jewish Max Vandenburg, who is the son of a ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

book | basement | girl | library | track | See All (79) »


From the Studio that brought you The Life of Pi See more »


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

27 November 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ladrona de libros  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$105,005 (USA) (8 November 2013)


$21,483,154 (USA) (4 April 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first Hollywood film for director Brian Percival. See more »


When Liesel is seeing Hans off at the train depot when he's been conscripted, she is standing several cars down from the engine, facing toward the front of the train as Hans steps aboard one of the passenger cars and we can see at least one other such car between his and the engine. The camera angle then changes and we see Liesel has not moved but as the train begins to move forward, she is beside the coal car. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: One small fact: you are going to die. Despite every effort, no one lives forever. Sorry to be such a spoiler. My advice is when the time comes, don't panic. It doesn't seem to help.
See more »


Referenced in Film 2015: Episode dated 19 February 2014 (2014) See more »


Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, Gut Nacht, Op. 49, No. 4
Written by Johannes Brahms
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Touching and warm story - for the most part
6 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For the most part, you will come out seeing this film with what you expect. "The Book Thief" takes place during the Holocaust, a subject seen in many other renowned films, but the beauty of this story comes from the perspective viewers get - that of a child's.

There is an excellent blend of different pieces that move the film along well - the violence and the intensity of the time period, the touching relationships between friends and family, and the humor they all share. Though it's nothing new, the writing and lines are still great and make the characters very likable. Performances by the entire cast, no matter how small or large a role they play, are certainly deserving of praise. Even with all the dramatic events surrounding them, it is easy to get caught in the relationship between Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as the familiar nagging parents of Liesel.

The various sets of the film - backed up with some clean, beautiful cinematography (yet nothing too astounding) - show several different parts of the town, but you are still left wanting to see more of this world. Which is where the film falls in general. For the majority of the movie, you are invested into these characters and you follow their time through WWII, and much goes on. The ending, however, comes rather quickly and you are left with that same feeling of wanting to know more. Not just of the ending, but everything before. It seems every time a moment - of suspense, of sadness, or happiness - comes, it holds on for a short while, but cuts off before you can fully take it in.

Still, the film gives a touching story to watch. The subject matter is obviously very serious, but the story of "The Book Thief" allows a wide range of people to watch this and understand, be it a young child or an adult. The characters are the best part of this film and I found them very enjoyable. The film is rather traditional and almost doesn't fit in with the rest of today's movies, but rather reminded me of many other older classics.

84 of 113 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Any explanation for the big plot hole? diogenes-13
demonizing the german language. leandro_t-a-t-u
Is it suitable for a nine year old girl (with her parents)... carax3
Why did this only get a 49% on rotten? worldsoutro
Where was GOD :( jrenai67
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