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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

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck: Heard on the letter opener's radio earpiece, announcing the fall of the Berlin Wall. 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 »

Alternate Versions

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


Soundtracks

HGW XX/7
Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra with
Conducted by Adam Klemens
Piano Soloist: Jaromir Klepac, Guitar Soloist: Jaroslav Novák
Composed By Gabriel Yared, Stéphane Moucha
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Every positive word written about this movie is absolutely true
17 April 2007 | by CloudmeisterSee all my reviews

I am still quite speechless. Overwhelmed by how utterly compelling the story was and by how emotive the acting story was. Floored by the unbelievably great character development. This film is close to perfect. It is a spiritual cousin to 2004's magnificent Downfall and shares a lot of similarities with Paul Verhoeven's stunning Black Book from last year, not just because these films share two actors. This multi-faceted character driven masterpiece really is as good as it's hype says.

Sebastian Koch in particular absolutely shines. He is one of the best international actors working today and he follows the brilliance of his role in Black Book with the lead here. With his bohemian, dishevelled good looks and brilliant charisma, he's the best German-speaking actor since Bruno Ganz. But he is far from the only good actor in this movie, Ulrich Mühe as the State Security (Stasi) agent whose task it is to monitor Koch's suspiciously free thinking playwright, brings another near perfect performance to the movie. Agent Wiesler initially appears to the audience as the polar opposite of Koch's character. With his grey button down clothing, closely cropped hair and consistently emotionless face he symbolises everything about the overbearing untrusting Socialist government of East Germany that is wrong. He could easily have remained that character throughout the whole film but he becomes the surprising emotional centre of the story and the line between heroes and villains is significantly shifted (something which extends to the supporting cast as well. Truth be told there are probably only two characters in this film whom I didn't have to rethink my opinion of). Weisler reveals himself as a lonely, isolated man who risks his entire career as his attitude to his subject changes from one of mistrust to one of near-adoration. There is an undeniable link between the two characters even though they never share a single scene and Georg Dreyman (Koch) doesn't even find about Wiesler until the last 10 minutes of the movie, which leads us up to what should go down as one of the greatest endings in cinema history. Just thinking about the final spoken lines brings the tears to my eyes.

As I said, without a doubt one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. And as much as I adore Pan's Labyrinth, this one really did deserve it's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. An absolute masterpiece.


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