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The Promise (1994)

Das Versprechen (original title)
East-Berlin, 1961, shortly after the erection of the Wall. Konrad, Sophie and three of their friends plan a daring escape to Western Germany. The attempt is successful, except for Konrad, ... See full summary »


Peter Schneider (dialogue), Felice Laudadio | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Meret Becker ... Sophie I
Corinna Harfouch ... Sophie II
Anian Zollner Anian Zollner ... Konrad I
August Zirner ... Konrad II
Susanne Ugé Susanne Ugé ... Barbara I
Eva Mattes ... Barbara II
Pierre Besson Pierre Besson ... Harald I
Hans Kremer Hans Kremer ... Harald II
Dieter Mann Dieter Mann ... Konrad's Father
Simone von Zglinicki Simone von Zglinicki ... Konrad's mother (as Simone von Zglienicki)
Ruth Glöss Ruth Glöss ... Konrad's grandmother
Christian Herschmann Christian Herschmann ... Alexander (12 years)
Joerg Meister Joerg Meister ... Alexander - 20 years (as Jörg Meister)
Jean-Yves Gautier ... Gérard
Ulrike Krumbiegel ... Elisabeth


East-Berlin, 1961, shortly after the erection of the Wall. Konrad, Sophie and three of their friends plan a daring escape to Western Germany. The attempt is successful, except for Konrad, who remains behind. From then on, and for the next 28 years, Konrad and Sophie will attempt to meet again, in spite of the Iron Curtain. Konrad, who has become a reputed Astrophysicist, tries to take advantage of scientific congresses outside Eastern Germany to arrange encounters with Sophie. But in a country where the political police, the Stasi, monitors the moves of all suspicious people (such as Konrad's sister Barbara and her husband Harald), preserving one's privacy, ideals and self-respect becomes an exhausting fight, even as the Eastern block begins its long process of disintegration. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Eine Liebe, eine Hoffnung, eine Mauer.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sex, and for language | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


[When the Berlin Wall comes down]
Woman: When the cage opens after thirty years, you can't fly anymore.
See more »


Featured in Die Neugier immer weiter treiben (1995) See more »

User Reviews

9 November 1999 | by J. SteedSee all my reviews

In an interview at the time of the release of this film Margarete von Trotta rather bragged about the fact that this was the first German (after unification) film after the fall of the Berlin wall that dealt with the 28 years of history on the East side of the wall. This remains to be seen, but if so, is that a good reason to come up with this dim, tepid and obligatory romantic drama that is predictable from scene 1? A drama in which the viewer no cliche spared?

The film looks more a kaleidoscope of political events in which the two main characters just happened to be a part of. The film never is a real drama and lacks every dramatic tension. The two main characters are simply boring people (not helped much by the casting); all other characters are one-dimensional. Some bad writing is also present: some characters, like the aunt, simply disappear from the story. As to direction and filmmaking there are plenty of uneasy moments as well. In the Prague scene the girl waits on the wrong spot for her friend; well, they just wait, but then "pop" a short scene in which she asks where this or that place is and then "pop": yes, there he is! The scene of the father in hospital also just seems to come from nowhere.

It all looks like as Von Trotta really wanted to show how very, very concerned she was about the 28 years of history and by that overplaying her hand. She should either have elaborated the drama more, or have taken the trouble for a more thorough interpretation of the political situation. As it is now it is a "everything political happens to poor us" drama. (5/10)

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Release Date:

3 November 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La promesse See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »


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