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The Book Thief (2013)

PG-13 | | Drama, War | 27 November 2013 (USA)
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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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3,553 ( 73)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 16 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 ... 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:

This is the tale of the Book Thief, as narrated by death. And when Death tells a story, you really have to listen. It's just a small story really, about, amongst other things: a girl+an accordionist+some fanatical Germans+a Jewish fist fighter+and quite a lot of thievery. 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:

The Book Thief See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$105,005, 10 November 2013

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

Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson also played husband and wife in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) as well as in Genius (2017). 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

Referenced in Film 2017: Episode dated 19 February 2014 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, Gut Nacht, Op. 49, No. 4
Written by Johannes Brahms
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
WW 2 from a child's perspective
16 November 2013 | by drjgardnerSee all my reviews

Those familiar with the 2005 award winning and best-selling novel by Australian author Markus Zusak will not be disappointed with the theatrical version which differs from the book in only minor details. Both tell the story of a preadolescent girl who is adopted into a German family living in a small village in 1938, and then by following her life we get to view war on the home front for Germany. Nazi rallies, anti-Jewish pogroms, Hitler Youth groups, conscription, book burning, daylight bombing, propaganda films and posters, and the whole gamut of events are seen from her perspective.

This isn't the first film to adopt this perspective. "The Diary of Anne Frank" is the classic example, but more recently, "No Place on Earth" (2013) covered some of the same ground as did "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (2008) and especially "Lore" (2012).

"The Book Thief" has wonderful photography by Florian Ballhaus, an excellent musical score by Golden Globe and Oscar winning John Williams ("Schindler's List", "ET", "Star Wars"), and best of all, marvelous acting from Sophie Nelisse as the young girl, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as her adoptive parents, and Ben Schnetzer as the Jewish boy they hide. Many of the core scenes with Nelisse, Watson, and Rush should be required viewing at any acting school.

Hats off too to young Nico Liersch who plays a boyhood friend of Nelisse.

If the film has any fault at all, it is the decision by the film makers to try to walk a fine line between drama and fable. Having "Death" as the narrator right from the start seems to suggest fable, but the story itself veers sharply to drama for most of the 2+ hours, and then, noticeably at the end, reverts to fable. Some viewers may find this disconcerting. But the power of the story and the acting generally compensate for this short coming.


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