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King of Thieves (2003)

König der Diebe (original title)
| Drama | 2003 (Austria)
Two amateur circus kids from a poor Ukrainian village, ten-year-old Barbu and his older sister Mimma, are sold to a circus artist called Caruso who promises them a career in the West. ... See full summary »


Ivan Fíla


Ivan Fíla (screenplay)
5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lazar Ristovski ... Caruso
Iakov Kultiasov Iakov Kultiasov ... Barbu (as Yasha Kultiasov)
Katharina Thalbach ... Julie
Julia Khanverdieva Julia Khanverdieva ... Mimma
Oktay Özdemir Oktay Özdemir ... Marcel
Paulus Manker ... Kardinal
Birol Ünel ... Birol
Imogen Kogge Imogen Kogge ... Polizisti
Yasemin Bueyueksapci Yasemin Bueyueksapci ... Bianca (as Yasemin Büyüksapci)
Manfred Witt Manfred Witt ... Dimo
Viktor Benzler Viktor Benzler ... Barbus Vater
Axel Neumann Axel Neumann ... Pokerspieler
Motamedi Motamedi ... Ali
Lucia Adyova Lucia Adyova ... Kinder bei Caruso (as Lucia Ádyová)
Petra Hackova Petra Hackova ... Kinder bei Caruso (as Petra Hácková)


Two amateur circus kids from a poor Ukrainian village, ten-year-old Barbu and his older sister Mimma, are sold to a circus artist called Caruso who promises them a career in the West. Caruso smuggles them to Berlin and separates them from each other. Mimma is sold to prostitution, while Barbu is taught to snatch purses together with an older Albanian boy Marcel. Barbu finds out about Mimma's fate and decides to free her from the brothel. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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German | Ukrainian

Release Date:

2003 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

El rey de los ladrones See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »


Box Office


DEM9,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The actress who plays Julie in the flashback sequences looks remarkably similar to the older Julie because the two actresses are in fact related. Anna Thalbach is the daughter of Katharina Thalbach. See more »


Love Me
Lyrics by 'Ladislav Faktor'
Performed by Ivana Christová
See more »

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User Reviews

A must see. It will change your life.
25 January 2005 | by myhaykSee all my reviews

Not only the acting, but also the subject makes this film seem unbelievably realistic. As I watched this movie at a European Film Festival in Trieste, Italy, I was basically speechless. Probably it doesn't mean much to the ones over the ocean but it has rather more to do with things going on here in Europe.

Movie presents the story of two kids bought from Ukraine directly from their father by an ex-circus master, now running some masked "school" of thieves. Actually the kids are brought into Germany and taught all the skills you need to be an amazing "pocket picker" just so that they can bring at least 500 EUR (don't know if EUR is the currency though) every day. When they don't they are whipped and thrown outside with their own blood covering their body. This is the fate of one of the two Ukrainian kids, Barbu, the 10 year old boy. The girl has a more horrible fate as she is lost in a poker game to a pimp. He first rapes the 13 year old Mimma then forces her to prostitute herself beating her like all the other bought/won minors he had.

As the story goes on it is unbelievable how good this film has been realized. It is shocking not by exaggeration but by how well it describes the frightening reality we live in. A must see; it will change your life if you realize it exposes the simple truth.

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