The Lives of Others (German: Das Leben der Anderen) is a 2006 German drama film written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck marking his feature film debut. The plot is about the monitoring of East Berlin residents by agents of the Stasi, East Germany's secret police. It stars Ulrich Mühe as Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler, Ulrich Tukur as his superior Anton Grubitz, Sebastian Koch as the playwright Georg Dreyman, and Martina Gedeck as Dreyman's lover, a prominent actress named Christa-Maria Sieland.
The film was released in Germany on 23 March 2006. At the same time, the screenplay was published by Suhrkamp Verlag. The Lives of Others won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film had earlier won seven Deutscher Filmpreis awards—including those for best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor, and best supporting actor—after setting a new record with 11 nominations. It also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and European Film Award for Best Film, while was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Lives of Others cost US$2 million and grossed more than US$77 million worldwide as of November 2007.
Released 17 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, marking the end of the German Democratic Republic, it was the first notable drama film about the subject after a series of comedies such as Good Bye, Lenin! and Sonnenallee. This approach was widely applauded in Germany even as some criticized the humanization of Wiesler's character. The film's authenticity was considered praiseworthy given that the director grew up outside of East Germany and was 16 when the Berlin Wall fell.
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.