The Book Thief

 (8,583)7.52 h 10 min2013X-RayPG-13
Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson star in this moving film based on the bestseller about a girl (Sophie Nélisse) who transforms the lives of those around her in World War II Germany.
Emily WatsonBrian PercivalFox
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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20th Century Fox
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Foul languageviolence
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4.7 out of 5 stars

8583 global ratings

  1. 83% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

MyLifeInRuinsReviewed in the United States on December 14, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
My Favorite Movie
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Though this movie creates some heartbreak, it is a beautiful movie, based on the wonderful book. The cast was perfectly chosen and they were all amazing. Sometimes I feel like people might think I am morbid because I think movie with outcomes such as this can be beautiful, but I really am not morbid. The story is beautiful, the things that can be learned are beautiful, and the writing is more than beautiful. I am picky about the writing of these kinds of stories, but I was very impressed and pleased and they created this movie with the feelings you get from the vivid imagery in the book. I have never cried more in a book/movie than I do in this, and I cry hard every single time, but it is still, by far, my favorite.
39 people found this helpful
D. L. DiehlReviewed in the United States on April 14, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Poignant view of World War II Germany through the eyes of a young girl
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People often wonder how people-of-conscience in Germany could have allowed the Nazis to gather so much power and perpetrate the atrocities of the Holocaust. After World War II, many decried all Germans without differentiation. This touching drama, offers insight. Excellent acting and writing bring alive average people living under and reacting to a fascist regime. (Spoiler alert) We see Germany through the eyes of a young girl, Liesl, and the couple who takes her in to get extra rations when her mother, running from the roundups of Communists, can no longer care for her. When a young Jewish man, Max, runs to them for help, the husband takes him in, bound by honor to a promise to Max's father. Subsisting in the basement over next couple of years, Max sees the spark of intelligence and curiosity in Liesl who thirsts for words. He encourages her to read and to write; she inspires him to live when he becomes deathly ill.

The characters feel real and balanced, making tiny rebellions and survival-based compromises to live in frightening times. There is no villain, other than the disembodied Hitler, just people reacting for good or ill to a militarized society. Although the story is filled with tragedy from the very beginning, this is not a story about the horrors of the camps. It is about the effect of loss and oppression on everyday people. More importantly, it is about how the human spirit can miraculously survive overwhelming odds. It is a book about curiosity and creativity and how words can transform a prison and capture the emotions and colors of life. It about the spark of goodness that can be found in unexpected places.

I recommend this highly, despite the fact that I do not like tragedies.

For those concerned about such things, there is no gore or sex. There is minimal swearing, which might not even be considered to be by some. There is death, war, and implied inhumanity to man, which are so much more offensive to me.
52 people found this helpful
timReviewed in the United States on August 28, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
"He reminded them of humanity"
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"He reminded them of humanity."
If you look at everyone around you, whether it be a fireman, a librarian, or a political figure, chances are, they are human. The fact that some group of humans can classify another group of humans as a lesser group and massacre them is inconceivable. But it has happened many times in the past and even in modern times. Hitler's regime targeted many groups, mostly Jews, and tried to WIPE THEM OUT! Just because they were another race. This movie does an astounding job at depicting life during that time and the difficulties both groups faced as a result of Hitler's regime. The characters in the movie are alive and compassionate. The innocent girl Liesel powerfully demonstrates the raw emotions and thoughts throughout her experience. Hans Hubermann is a loving and humane individual that is also a great parent. Max fights for his life and is strong willed. The quote referenced above spoken by Max is my personal favorite in the movie. It is a short statement, but holds so much meaning and emotion. Humanity is something that everyone should treasure in their hearts, but can be pushed aside by other emotions like hatred, anger, and resentment. This movie reminds the viewers about the atrocious events that happened in the past, and warns the viewers of its consequences. Lastly, it reminds everyone of their humanity.
8 people found this helpful
BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGameReviewed in the United States on April 22, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Many good elements, but it could have been better
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This 2013 film was based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Markus Zusak. Liesel is a young girl who is taken in by a foster family in Germany. Her adoptive father teaches her to read, and when the family hides a fleeing Jew named Max, Liesel takes to borrowing/stealing books that she reads to help keep his hopes and spirit alive.

There are some particularly fine performances from the actors who play Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) and her adoptive father (Geoffrey Rush), and their characterization is very good. I also appreciated how the film shows the effect of the war on ordinary German civilians, some of whom were caught up in the patriotism, but others who selflessly worked against the regime to protect life. This offers a fresh perspective on a subject (World War 2) which often sees the same ground covered in films, but fortunately that is not the case here. The film is rated PG-13, but mostly due to the violence that forms the background to the story and is more implied than shown; there's no real blood or gore. Without needing to resorting to graphic violence, the film shows the very real effect of war on lives like Liesel's. It also has a very positive message about self-sacrifice and love for the neighbour.

While there are many good aspects to the film, it still felt mediocre and disappointing. The personification of Death as narrator was jarring and confusing, and his message about the perplexity of human life was unclear; it's an empty message that offers no real hope, despite attempting to tug at heart-strings. Also unclear was the concept of how words have the power of life, and the title "Book Thief" only played a minor role in the film. From what I have learned subsequently, the book that the plot is based on emphasizes this much more strongly, and many people who have come from the book and watched the film found it a very unsatisfying adaptation. There's also several instances of blasphemy that are more typical of a modern audience rather than pre-war Germany.

Overall, perhaps this is a case of: Read the book, don't watch the movie. - GODLY GADFLY (April 2017)
22 people found this helpful
RogerReviewed in the United States on April 5, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Worth Watching and Intriguing: Many good points
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We thought this was a great movie overall. Love historical drama and this echoed Anne Frank. Can only imagine what it would have been like to have lived in Germany during WWII enduring an evil government and living in a doomed country. The role of Death is a great twist and his dialog is intriguing. There was no need to show the dead near the end--it was not gratuitous or anything (far from it as it seemed fake), it just took away from the powerful dialog Death had. It was almost like the producer didn't think the audience would understand what happened unless he showed some bodies. There were so many good scenes though! (Christmas in the basement and Night in the bomb shelter being ones that stood out for me).
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on July 8, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Could not play entire movie
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I rented this movie and began watching it the same evening. At about 1/3 way through the movie, it stopped and would not restart. I switched to a Netflix video which worked ok. Tried to watch the rest of the movie the next evening, and again it stopped before the end and would not restart. Again, Netflix video worked ok. Tried to watch the end of the movie the next evening, but apparently the rental had expired. Although the rental was not expensive, it was worthless. I could find no way to bring this to Amazon's attention, other than this review. This was a very poor experience and makes me wonder about future Prime video rentals.
2 people found this helpful
David E. BaldwinReviewed in the United States on June 15, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Child's View of a World Gone Mad
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The lessons of the Third Reich and the Holocaust cannot be overstated. Almost seventy years since the end of World War II witnesses to the atrocities of the Germans are dwindling to a few. The makers of "The Book Thief" have an interesting take on what occurred at that time. Seen through the eyes of a young girl, Liesel (Sophie Nelisse), the film begins prior to the invasion of Poland and ends when hostilities between the superpowers ends. Liesel begins the film as a fragile and frightened illiterate young girl taken from a mother with Communist sympathies to a young woman wizened to the horrors humanity is capable of but assured of her own moral compass. The setting of the film is the picaresque village Liesel goes to live with her adoptive parents, Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson), and it serves as a microcosm of the cancer that infected the Fatherland. Liesel sees with eyes agape everything from a book burning to commemorate Der Fuhrer's birthday to Jews being marched though her town to their ultimate fate in the concentration camps. Nelisse giving a sterling performance anchors the film quite nicely. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent with a special shout out to young Nico Liersch who plays Liesel's friend, Rudy, a boy who emulates the African-American track star Jesse Owens. The beauty of the film is it works on an adult level but should be accessible to older adolescents and teenagers. This film serves as a primer to a time in our history we cannot and should not forget.
10 people found this helpful
TaxmanReviewed in the United States on November 29, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fantastic movie!
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Being 82 years old, I have seen a lot of movies, and this one ranks right up with there with the best. Unlike one reviewer, my grandsons, age 14 & 18, who usually find it too hard to watch an entire movie, were engrossed. I had watched it before, but watched it again with them. I am buying a DVD of this movie for my granddaughters, age 14 & 15, and I'll bet they will simply love it. Decent choices at the theater for those teenagers who don't talk like the common words inserted in movies to get a "certain rating" are hard to find. Is it any wonder you can hear the f word in most high school hallways?

How degrading that is, especially for girls. It used to be that junior high boys might use swear words while they were around other boys just like them, just to show how "tough" they were. But when a girl was close enough to hear, the language was cleaned up. That's gone now, and apparently nobody cares. After all it's just words, isn't it? Sorry, I swerved off the review.

I agree with another reviewer who said, "Why can't Hollywood make movies like this anymore"? It is very difficult to find a movie, even at the local library, which isn't degrading to most decent people, and filled with language which is embarrassing to anyone with a brain.

Some will say, "Well, that's just being realistic". Nonsense. This movie depicted war at it's worst; with inhuman treatment of Jews, and with suffering and death everywhere. Could you be any more realistic than that? The emotion in this movie was handled with great expertise, and the direction was outstanding.

Movies can be uplifting, like some of the greatest were, without depicting every degrading thing that actually occurred.
11 people found this helpful
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