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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 #58 | 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:

Where power is absolute, nothing is private. [Scandinavian Blu-ray.] 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

Director Donnersmarck spent a month translating the screenplay into French and sending it to Gabriel Yared to entice his participation as composer for the film. For the scene in which Dreyman plays the Sonata For A Good Man on piano, Donnersmarck asked Yared to write a composition that in two minutes would turn Lenin away from all the atrocities he later committed. This pivotal scene was the germinal idea around which the original screenplay was conceived and constructed. See more »

Goofs

When Dreymann is putting on his tie before his birthday party with the assistance of his neighbor, Frau Meineke, he finishes the job by folding down and adjusting his shirt collar. In the next shot, his shirt collar is "up" once again and needs to be folded back down. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #22.4 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock 'N Roll Im Stadtpark
Performed by Pankow
Music & Lyrics by Jürgen Ehle
(P) 2007 Colosseum Music Entertainment GmbH, Licensed From Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Best film in years
13 April 2007 | by drgyn2000See all my reviews

After seeing the outstanding Pan's Labyrinth, I could not understand how anything could beat it to the Oscar for Best Film, let alone the accolade of Best Foreign Film. That was until I saw The Lives of Others.

Putting it simply, this is the best film released in years. The framework of the story surrounds a Stasi officer who is assigned to monitor a writer and his actress girlfriend considered loyal to East German regime. That is all I am prepared to reveal because this film operates on so many levels that I wouldn't know where to begin. On the surface this can be enjoyed as a taut drama but essentially it is a study of the human condition and the capacity for compassion and humanity exists in even the most inhumane people. All of this is shot against the backdrop of the greys and browns of communist East Germany.

As a film it is virtually flawless. The three central performances are nothing short of electric, with particularly Ulrich Muhe giving one of the greatest leading man performances since Al Pacino in The Godfather. None of this would be possible without a brilliant script and exemplary direction, that brings the characters to life extracting the best out of the actors. The result is no words are wasted, and every scene is relevant and expertly conceived. This manages to explore deep issues without being turgid, is moving without being draining and remains gripping and entertaining without being superficial.

In summary, this is film-making at its finest. It is the sort of movie that you'll go down on bended knee and pay homage to the inventor of cinema, because it is films like this that cinema was created for. You'll forgive a year of tedious sequels and cash cows, for the one day that films like this get released.

10 out of 10 is too modest.


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