8.4/10
310,768
430 user 217 critic

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.
Reviews
Popularity
959 ( 5)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #57 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 76 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Oldeuboi (2003)
Action | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.

Director: Juan José Campanella
Stars: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago
City of God (2002)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In the slums of Rio, two kids' paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele
Downfall (2004)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Jagten (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Stars: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny
Amores Perros (2000)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Stars: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly
Memento (2000)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife's murderer.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Amélie (2001)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Martina Gedeck ... Christa-Maria Sieland
Ulrich Mühe ... Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler
Sebastian Koch ... Georg Dreyman
Ulrich Tukur ... Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz
Thomas Thieme Thomas Thieme ... Minister Bruno Hempf
Hans-Uwe Bauer Hans-Uwe Bauer ... Paul Hauser
Volkmar Kleinert Volkmar Kleinert ... Albert Jerska
Matthias Brenner Matthias Brenner ... Karl Wallner
Charly Hübner Charly Hübner ... Udo
Herbert Knaup ... Gregor Hessenstein
Bastian Trost Bastian Trost ... Häftling 227
Marie Gruber Marie Gruber ... Frau Meineke
Volker Michalowski ... Schriftexperte (as Zack Volker Michalowski)
Werner Daehn ... Einsatzleiter in Uniform
Martin Brambach Martin Brambach ... Einsatzleiter Meyer
Edit

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's 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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

30 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lives of Others See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€814,337 (Germany), 26 March 2006, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$213,589, 9 February 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,286,112, 13 September 2007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$77,356,819, 1 February 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The entire budget of the film, about 2 million dollars (1.6 million Euro), was possible only because the actors were willing to work for 20% of their customary salary. See more »

Goofs

When Dreymann is looking through his own Stasi observation files, the typeface used in the layouts of the forms is "Avenir". This typeface was introduced in 1988, whereas the forms were supposedly written in 1984. See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

The US version features a written prologue in English, explaining the historical context of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Honest Trailers: Every Christopher Nolan Movie (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Gesichter Der Liebe
Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Adam Klemens
Piano Soloist: Jaromir Klepac, Guitar Soloist: Jaroslav NovákComposed By Gabriel Yared, Stéphane Moucha
© & (p) 2006 Colosseum Schallplatten GmbH, under exclusive license of Gabriel Yared, Stéphane Moucha & Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Outstandingly great movie
8 March 2007 | by wisewebwomanSee all my reviews

I wonder why there has been so little written and publicized about this movie. This should be seen in every country and its merits trumpeted from the skies.

It starts off slowly and the locale is the former East Germany, inhabited by 16 million people who are being spied upon relentlessly by their secret police. In this very real world of the Berlin Wall, there are many Stasi, 90,000, overseeing the populace, aided and abetted by hundreds of thousands of informants. Many of these snitches were blackmailed or other pressures exerted (threats to children and loved ones) and a few obliged voluntarily.

What is truly amazing is that this is Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's directorial debut, and he maintains a masterful hand throughout and keeps the story and the tension rolling from the first scene of interrogation which is filmed back and forth between a tape educating new Stasi as to interview techniques and to the actual cell itself where it was recorded.

The movie circles around three main characters and there is a wider circle of the powerful who pull the puppet strings for a variety of reasons which become clear as the movie unfolds.

First is Georg Dreyman, a playwright on the verge of celebrating his 40th birthday. Sebastian Koch, a tall,handsome actor dressed in writerly rumple, shares an apartment with his actress girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), and exists within the strictures of the state-sponsored theatre. He is a decent man, and tries to win support for his blacklisted friends.

For reasons that become quite clear, Dreyman falls under suspicion and the whole sophisticated Stasi spying system comes into play in the era of 1984. His whole apartment is bugged and every sound is monitored.

The man in charge of all this is Captain Gerd Wiesler,(Ulrich Mühe). Ulrich's performance is nothing short of stunning. He starts as an almost robotic presence, dressed in gray, he almost disappears into every scene he's in. But one detects a clear intelligence in his bright eyes, the only part of him that's alive. Captain Wiesler lives in a non-descript arborited apartment, much like himself. He squeezes his food onto a plate from a tube.

But the captain starts to awaken slowly as he listens surreptitiously on the state of the art equipment secreted in the attic of Dreyman's building. He starts to fall in love with the couple and then pressure from above is brought to bear on him to dig for the dirt in Dreyman's life.

And he is in a dilemma now, as he is drawn further and further into the life of Dreman and his girlfriend.

I won't throw spoilers down. Suffice to say is that the story is enthralling right down to the very last frame. The acting is superb, the direction impeccable and the world of East Germany meticulously drawn with the viewer respected enough to find his or her own emotional path through the plot.

The ending is truly one of a kind. So right and true that I was left nodding, it was the only one possible.

A must see, I will sing the praises of this film to all I know. 10 out of 10 from me. Right up there in my top 50 of all time. I find it so disappointing that these movies don't get wider release AND compete for an Oscar in the best picture of the year and not just for best foreign film. Now there's a heretical thought!


303 of 332 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 430 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed