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The Book Thief (2013)

PG-13 | | Drama, War | 27 November 2013 (USA)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer

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While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being protected by her adoptive parents.

Director:

Brian Percival

Writers:

Markus Zusak (based on the novel by), Michael Petroni (screenplay by)
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Popularity
3,504 ( 171)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Allam ... Narrator / Death (voice)
Sophie Nélisse ... Liesel Meminger
Heike Makatsch ... Liesel's Mother
Julian Lehmann Julian Lehmann ... Liesel's Brother
Gotthard Lange Gotthard Lange ... Grave Digger
Rainer Reiners ... Priest
Kirsten Block ... Frau Heinrich
Geoffrey Rush ... Hans Hubermann
Emily Watson ... Rosa Hubermann
Nico Liersch Nico Liersch ... Rudy Steiner
Ludger Bökelmann ... Football Urchin
Paul Schaefer Paul Schaefer ... Football Urchin
Nozomi Linus Kaisar Nozomi Linus Kaisar ... Fat Faced Goalie
Oliver Stokowski ... Alex Steiner
Robert Beyer Robert Beyer ... Jewish Accountant
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Storyline

In 1938, the young girl Liesel Meminger is traveling by train with her mother and her younger brother when he dies. Her mother buries the boy in a cemetery by the tracks and Liesel picks up a book, "The Gravediggers Handbook", which was left on the grave of her brother and brings it with her. Liesel is delivered to a foster family in a small town and later she learns that her mother left her because she is a communist. Her stepmother, Rosa Hubermann, is a rude but caring woman and her stepfather, Hans Hubermann, is a simple kind-hearted man. Liesel befriends her next door neighbor, the boy Rudy Steiner, and they go together to the school. When Hans discovers that Liesel cannot read, he teaches her using her book and Liesel becomes an obsessed reader. During a Nazi speech where the locals are forced to burn books in a bonfire, Liesel recovers one book for her and the Mayor's wife Ilsa Hermann witnesses her action. Meanwhile Hans hides the Jewish Max Vandenburg, who is the son of a ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Courage beyond words. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

27 November 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ladrona de libros See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$105,005, 8 November 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$21,488,481

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$76,586,316
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jesse Owens won the 100, 200, 4x100 relay and the Long Jump See more »

Goofs

During the book-burning sequence, a cage-like sub-structure can be seen where the book props have burned away from their mound-shaped form. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: One small fact: you are going to die. Despite every effort, no one lives forever. Sorry to be such a spoiler. My advice is when the time comes, don't panic. It doesn't seem to help.
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Connections

Featured in Film '72: Episode dated 19 February 2014 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Fledermaus
Written by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss II)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Shining Gem In The Darkness
26 January 2014 | by krocheavSee all my reviews

"The Book Thief" is certainly a rare kind of film for its day. It gleams like the sun, glistens like rays on the surface of water - for here is a dark tale that lights up the very soul.

I've read several 'professional' reviews for this work and it seems too easy for some Critics to sit in their comfortable cinema seats, or arm chairs in the safety of their homes, and write, what often amount to trite comments. They can read meaning (often their own) into works of crude ugliness, yet feel they have to hide from life affirming warmth.

From the very opening scenes this film draws you in. Some did not like the fact that death (as voice over) begins to tell the story, but this also served to make it all the more compelling. Screen play adapter: Michael Petroni who's been associated with such diverse works as "The Rite" and "Narnia" is equally at home writing for the BIG screen as well as TV. As is talented Director: Brian Percival (Downton Abbey & North and South) Both seem to have given their all, and with no less than 6 various producers, there seemed to be plenty of money to assure superb production values ~ guaranteeing a great look and feel. Director of Photography: German born Florian Ballhaus, captures the magnificence of the carefully selected locations, lifting astounding images from the pages of the book onto the screen.

The cast all work hard to bring to life the characters from Markus Zusak's novel. Child actors can sometimes be hit or miss but award winning Sophie Nelisse (Liesel) is reminiscent of the great Patricia Gozzi from the 60s (Sundays and Cybele '62 & Rapture '65) She convinces over a full range of emotions. Young Nico Liersch scores equally as Rudy.

Some cynical critics seem to have difficulty in understanding the intellect of children forced to grow up in terrible circumstances and may have been unnecessarily harsh. Rush is reliable as always, managing to convey the emotions of a man living with fear, yet playing it down for the sake of his young adopted charge.

John Williams' multi-layered music score brings to mind the style of strong scores that helped breath life into great classics from the past.

Films of this quality have become rare in these days of often foolish, Hollywood comic book action blockbusters, but it's hoped this, along with 'The Railway Man' might see us treated to more intelligent modern cinema. If I'd change anything, perhaps it could be the anticlimactic style of the closing scenes ~ looked as if more may have been added as afterthought, through one too many fade outs (a very minor point)

But more importantly, perhaps, some cynical critics may also be 'reminded of their humanity'.


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