37 user 76 critic

Alone in Berlin (2016)

R | | Drama | 13 January 2017 (USA)
2:15 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Prime Video

After a Nazi German working class couple loses their son in World War II, they decide to retaliate by secretly leafletting handwritten cards in Berlin denouncing their government.


Vincent Perez


Achim von Borries (screenplay), Vincent Perez (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
3 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Emma Thompson ... Anna Quangel
Daniel Brühl ... Escherich
Brendan Gleeson ... Otto Quangel
Mikael Persbrandt ... SS Officer Prall
Katharina Schüttler ... Claire Gehrich
Louis Hofmann ... Hans Quangel
Godehard Giese ... Colonel Krüger
Jacob Matschenz Jacob Matschenz ... Dietrich Necker
Luisa Wolf ... Secretary
Uwe Preuss ... Persicke
Rainer Reiners ... Salesman Franz Kanz
Rafael Gareisen ... Herbert Wegner
Ernst Stötzner Ernst Stötzner ... Dptm. Head Walter
Joshua Grothe ... August Persicke
Lars Rudolph Lars Rudolph ... Enno Kluge


In 1940, German soldier Hans Quangel is killed in action during the French campaign. His parents, Otto and Anna, are devastated by the loss and their bereavement is unmollified by the joyful hysteria at Germany's victory. Deciding that Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime are responsible for this tragedy and much more, Otto cannot stand by any longer. As such, Otto begins to create handwritten cards denouncing the regime's abuses and lies, which he secretly deposits throughout Berlin while a disillusioned Anna insists on helping him. As the subversive cards pile up over the years, police detective Escherich is tasked to track down the leafleteer while being pressured by his increasingly impatient SS superior for an arrest for this "treason," regardless of actual guilt. As the stakes rise even as Nazi Germany's day of reckoning approaches, Otto and Anna are determined to spread the truth regardless of the odds even as their opposition awaits the fatal mistake that could doom them. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on the novel, inspired by a true story. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | France | Germany



Release Date:

13 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ensam i Berlin See more »

Filming Locations:

Görlitz, Saxony, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson previously appeared in many films of the Harry Potter franchise. See more »


Otto Quangel: So we begin. From now on, we are alone.
See more »


Version of Jeder stirbt für sich allein (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Film Review: Alone in Berlin
6 June 2017 | by lucasnochezSee all my reviews

Running for his life, a young soldier Hans Quangel (Louis Hofmann) finds himself jolting in a bleak and otherwise bare forest somewhere in the battlefields of World War II. Scared, alone and out of breath, the young German soldier seems lost and directionless. As his breaths sharpen and his fear settle, the young soldier spends most of his run with his head looking back; whether it be an enemy, the war itself, or a version of himself he is fearful of becoming, the young Quangel maneuvers himself between the tall and dark trees, the mysteriousness of the forest and the impending and looming death that looks for many young men in the battlefields of war. Before anyone can make any sense of it, we hear a gunshot, fatally wounding the young soldier and forcing him to the ground. As his bright blue eyes begin to turn to grey, life fleeting him quickly and the forest embodying his body, Alone In Berlin begins with what seem like an insignificant death to many, but an impactful one for few.

As the next scene cuts to a very bustling and busy city front in Berlin, a young newspaper boy yells at the top of his lungs, "Victory Over France", with cyclists, pedestrians and automobiles passing him. One of these people, is the city's many cyclist mail correspondents, delivering news from the Military Postal Services to civilians within the city, a not so glorified profession. As the cyclist makes her way through the city, she stops at a small and very ordinary looking building. The building, which provides a home to Otto and Anna Quangel (Brendan Gleeson & Emma Thompson), parents of the fallen Hans, sets forth a string of events that would change the course of the second World War and Germany's participation in it, forever.

Alone in Berlin is a small film with very big ambition, following the events of two very persistent and hard working people. While Anna & Otto Quangel never really excited, the couple they are based off of were two very impressional individuals that caused a great uproar in Hitler's Germany from 1940 to 1943. The real life couple which the film is based from were Elise and Otto Hampel, a working class couple who created a very fundamental way of protest while living in Hitler's Germany, specifically Berlin, early in the second World War. Elise, who lost her brother in the war, distressed and ruined by the news, denounced Hitler. With the help of her husband Otto, the two began composing and leaving postcards within Berlin's most public places, which would very simply denounce Hitler's government, war and methods, informing the very average people of Berlin the perils of joining his war and his methods. For three long and secretive years, the Hampel's left over two hundred cards in Berlin, and only eighteen of the over two hundred cards were not reported and given to the local Gestapo, leaving them lasting to the people of Berlin who recovered them.

While many inconsistencies can be found from the history books to the film's reenactments, director Vincent Perez does a marvellous job of keeping the content and tone of the film quite bleak yet extremely entertaining. Aside from the marvellous cinematography from Christophe Beaucarne and the miraculous score from Alexandre Desplat, the mood of the film is anchored effortlessly by the film's two incredibly talented lead actors Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson. The Quangel show a variety and range of emotions, without ever really saying much, even upon the very early discovery of their son's death, keeping their words short and sweet, but their actions fierce and impactful. The true anchors of the film are the two very talented actors who help guide the tension of Alone in Berlin throughout, without ever making the film of their performances melodramatic or overwrought.

Another very powerful performance of the film is none other than the always impressive Daniel Brühl, an actor who can play a villain or hero without skipping a beat, and even turn his heroes or villain's to either side without hesitation. The very dramatic and theatrical cat and mouse game director Perez establishes between Escherich and the Quangels is one that keeps the audience engaged at all times yet really shows the very simple impact of their truth-telling letters the Quangels leave, even to members of the Nazi Regime. Brühl, Thompson and Gleeson are in top form from beginning to end.

While screenwriters Achim von Borries, Bettine von Borris and Vincent Perez make great use of the source material written by Hans Fallada, Every Man Dies Alone, written in 1947, the screenwriters and director never overemphasize much of whats happening on the warfront of Berlin too much that it becomes severely unbelievable. Otto, who is portrayed of being a factory worker in the film, specifically, a manager in charge of producing coffins for fallen soldiers of the war, and Anna, being a domesticated mother and member of National Socialist Women's League in Germany, tread through their very sad lives after the news of Hans' death as many parents would. Yet, one of my favourite aspect of the film's and history's story is how such an average couple were able to make such a a large impact on the plans of a larger than life, and the world's most notorious non- fictional bad guy. Their letters, which cause such an uproar to the Third Reich, made them the Gestapo's biggest priority throughout the times of their letters in the early 40's.

While Otto and Elise's letter often urged citizens from refraining of doing a handful of things, like; refraining from donating money to the Nazi regime, urging people to refuse to cooperate with the Nazis, refraining from using military services, all these very small and tedious acts acted as catalysts of overthrowing Hitler.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 37 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed