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
Louis Hofmann ... Hans Quangel
Katharina Schüttler ... Claire Gehrich
Jacob Matschenz ... Dietrich Necker
Holger Handtke ... Dollfuss
Godehard Giese ... Colonel Krüger
Uwe Preuss ... Persicke
Lars Rudolph ... Enno Kluge
Rafael Gareisen ... Herbert Wegner
Joshua Grothe ... August Persicke
Joshio Marlon Joshio Marlon ... Kuno Barkhausen
Monique Chaumette ... Frau Rosenthal


In 1940, German soldier Hans Quangel (Louis Hofmann) is killed in action during the French campaign. His parents, Otto (Brendan Gleeson) and Anna (Dame Emma Thompson), are devastated by the loss and their bereavement is unmollified by the joyful hysteria at Germany's victory. Deciding that Führer 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 (Daniel Brühl) is tasked to track down the leafleteer while being pressured by his increasingly impatient S.S. 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, ... Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Based on the novel "Jeder stirbt für sich allein" (Every Man Dies Alone) by Hans Fallada. The novel was allegedly based on Gestapo files to which Fallada was given access. See more »


Herr Fromm: [to Frau Rosentahal after offering to hide her in his apartment] I have a mistress whom I obey. Her name is justice.
See more »


Version of Everyone Dies Alone (1976) See more »

User Reviews

Film of interesting WWII footnote not carried out to its full potential
27 September 2018 | by paul-allaerSee all my reviews

"Alone in Berlin" (German-French-British co-production; 2016 release; 105 min.) brings the story of a German couple, Otto and Anna. As the movie opens, we see a young German soldier running through the weeods, and he is shot and killed. The young man's parents, Otto and Anna, are informed by letter of his death, and they don't know how to cope with this tragic news. Eventually Otto decides to speak up against the Nazis, and Hitler in particular, by leaving provocative postcards (such as: "Hitler is a liar, Hitler is a killer") in prominent public places. Anna joins him in these potentially dangerous tasks. Eventually, the Nazis become aware of this, and a manhunt is started... At this point we're 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from Swiss actor/writer/producer/director Vincent Perez. Here he takes what amounts to a footnote in the annals of WWII and makes it, or at least tries to make it, into an epic battle between an elderly couple and the Nazi establishment. At certain moments, in particularly later in the film, it works quite well. But there are too many times that the films truly feels staged, I mean you can practically hear the director yell "and.... ACTION!", and an entire street with 1940s cars comes alive. The lead performances by Emma Thompson (as Anna) and Brendan Gleeson (as Otto) are fine, as they bring a quiet dignity to this couple that is so outraged by the tragic death of their son. Incidentally, it isn't until the closing credits that we get confirmation this movie is based on true events, and Otto and Elise really did exist (why they changed the woman's name to Anna, is not clear to me). Still, when all is said and done, it feels to me like the movie didn't quite carry this to its full potential, and that's a shame.

I had heard of this movie, but never had a chance to see it in the theater. I did catch it recently on Showtime. If you are interested in WWII, even if only a footnote of it, I'd suggest you check this out, be it on TV or VOD, or on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.

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UK | France | Germany



Release Date:

13 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alone in Berlin See more »

Filming Locations:

Görlitz, Saxony, Germany See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,869, 15 January 2017

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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