The Lives of Others

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 75 wins & 34 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
137 min



Stand still. Eyes to the floor.

Walk on.



Address him as 'Captain!'


Sit down.

Hands under your thighs, palms down.

What do you have to tell us?

I've done nothing.

I know nothing.

You've done nothing, know nothing...

You think we imprison people on a whim?


If you think our humanistic system

capable of such a thing,

that alone would justify your arrest.

We'd like to jog your memory, prisoner no. 227.

On September 28th, Dieter Pirmasens,

your friend and neighbor, fled to the West.

We believe that he had help.

I know nothing.

He didn't even tell me he wanted to leave.

I first heard about it at work.

Please recount what you did on September 28th.

- It's in my statement.

- Tell me again.

I was at Treptow Park memorial with my children.

Where I met my old friend Max Kirchner.

We went to his place

and listened to music until late.

He has a telephone,

you can call him to confirm this.

I can give you the number.

The enemies of our state are arrogant.

Remember that.

It takes patience. About 40 hours worth.


Fast forward...

I want to sleep.

Please, let me sleep!

Hands under your thighs.

Tell me again

what you did on September 28th.

Please, just one hour,

just a little... a little sleep.

Tell me again what you did on that day.

Why keep him awake for so long?

It's... inhuman.

An innocent prisoner

will become more angry by the hour,

due to the injustice suffered.

He will shout and rage.

A guilty prisoner

becomes more calm and quiet...

Or he cries.

He knows he's there for a reason.

The best way to establish guilt or innocence

is non-stop interrogation. friend Max Kirchner.

We went to his place...

and listened to music until late.

He has a telephone,

you can call him to confirm this.

Do you notice anything about his statement?

It's the same as at the beginning.

Exactly the same. Word for word.

People who tell the truth

can re-formulate things,

and they do.

A liar has prepared sentences,

which he falls back on

when under pressure.

We have two important indicators,

and can increase the intensity.

If you don't give names,

We'll have to arrest your wife.

Jan and Nadja

will be put into state care.

Is that what you want?

Who was the person who helped him flee?

- Glaske...

- Again! Speak clearly!

Glaske... Werner Glaske.

Werner... Glaske.




Does anyone know what that is?

It's the odor sample for the dogs.

It must be collected at every

interrogation. Never forget it!

Your subjects are enemies of Socialism.

Never forget that! Goodbye.

That was good, really good.

You remember

how we sat there 20 years ago?

They've offered me a professorship.

Life's not about good grades, though

mine weren't that bad, thanks to you.

So what's up?

Why do you always think I'm scheming?

- I wanted to invite you to the theater.

- The theater?

I heard that Minister Hempf is going.

As head of the Culture Department,

I should show my face.

It starts at 7 p.m. We should get going.


Minister Hempf at one o'clock.

He used to be in State Security, you know.

He really cleaned up the theater scene.

Georg Dreyman, the writer.

An arrogant type, the kind I warn my students about.

But he's loyal.

If they were all like him, I'd be out of a job.

He's our only non-subversive writer

who is also read in the West.

He thinks the GDR is the greatest country on earth.

It starts.

What's wrong, my child? A new vision?

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (born 2 May 1973) is a German film director, best known for writing and directing the 2006 Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others and 2010's The Tourist, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Lives of Others" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <>.

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