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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 #57 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 76 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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'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 »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

30 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lives of Others See more »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nicolette Krebitz auditioned for the role of Christa, which eventually went to Martina Gedeck. See more »

Goofs

Wiesler's car - a Wartburg - is in fact a model which wasn't produced until the end of the '80s (the rear lights revealed it). Meanwhile the soundtrack contains sound of the old - two-stroke - engine, and -somewhat confusingly- at the exhaust you can clearly see the typical two stroke smoke. The same(?), later production type (with 1.3L four stroke VW engine) can be seen in light blue, standing on the right in one of the first shots of Georg's street. 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

Featured in The 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Albatros
Performed by Karat
Lyrics By Norbert Kaiser
Music By Ullrich Swillms (as Ed Swillms)
Published By Harth Musikverlag / Bergisch Gladbach
(P) 2007 Colosseum Music Entertainment GmbH, Licensed From Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I didn't fall for them.....
25 February 2007 | by ronsigSee all my reviews

Memories of the 70's and 80's visits in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) flood my mind while watching this film. Some are revolting, some comical and others are frightening. As a student of German, I visited the GDR several times to see pen pal friends. I remember one friend looking around and whispering to me in the S-Bahn - just in case one of the many "IM's" (unofficial workers of the Stasi) was listening in.

I visited a representative of a magazine for western countries about the GDR and spent one memorable weekend sightseeing with her. Near the end of my visit, she asked me if I would work for them regularly by writing my opinion of "GDR Review" and its suitability for readers in the West. I would be paid in GDR money to use during further visits. After politely refusing this "offer" ("The police at home might not like it!"), I always had a sneaking suspicion that that was an attempt by the Stasi to recruit me.

Years later I applied to see my "Stasi File". I will never forget the feeling deep inside me when I read in it: ".….is not suitable for our use due to his apparent connection to the police in his homeland." The beautiful, friendly lady in Dresden had been a Stasi informer all the time! All of my visits to the GDR and the people I visited were listed in that file. For me "The Lives of Others" is an authentic representation of that totalitarian state. I am glad that those times have ended.

Congratulations on a well deserved Oscar!


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