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Good Bye Lenin! [DVD] [2002]

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Product details

  • Actors: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass, Chulpan Khamatova, Alexander Beyer
  • Directors: Wolfgang Becker
  • Writers: Wolfgang Becker
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Sept. 2007
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VRY81O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,870 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The year is 1989 and East and West Germany are still divided. Alex (Daniel Bruhl) and his sister Ariane (Maria Simon) live in East Germany with their single mother, Christiane (Katrin Sass) who is a staunch Socialist. When Alex’s mother witnesses his arrest on a protest march, she suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma for eight months, just enough time for the Berlin Wall to come tumbling down, along with all of East Germany’s ideals. Eight months later, Christiane wakes up and things have changed. The doctors warn Alex that any shock could bring on a fatal heart attack. He then realizes he must convince his mother that her beloved Communism has not been overthrown but is in fact triumphing over Capitalism. Alex then sets out to recreate every detail of the old East inside the four walls of their tiny council flat … what begins as a little white lie soon turns into a major deception with hilarious consequences!


Contemporary comedies rarely stretch themselves beyond a bickering romantic couple or a bickering couple and a bucket of bodily fluids, which makes the ambition and intelligence of Goodbye, Lenin! not simply entertaining but downright refreshing. The movie starts in East Germany before the fall of communism; our hero, Alex (Daniel Bruhl), describes how his mother (Katrin Sass), a true believer in the communist cause, has a heart attack when she sees him being clubbed by police at a protest. She falls into a coma for eight months--during which the Berlin Wall comes down. When she awakens, her fragile health must avoid any shocks, so Alex creates an illusive reality around his bedridden mother to convince her that communism is still alive. Goodbye, Lenin! delicately balances wry satire with its rich investment in the lives of Alex, his mother, and other characters around them.

On the DVD: Though the DVD extras for Goodbye Lenin! include a detailed featurette on the digital effects used in the movie (particularly intriguing because they had to be completely invisible--many viewers won't realize there were digital effects until they see this featurette) and a convivial cast commentary (in German with English subtitles) with Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sass, and Alexander Beyer, the star of the DVD is director Wolfgang Becker himself. Not only is his commentary rich with historical information and thoughtful notes about the making of the movie, for the deleted scenes (including two lovely scenes that expand on the relationship between Alex and his girlfriend Lara) he and Tom Tykwer (director of Run Lola Run and part of the X Filme collective that produced Goodbye Lenin!) have an insightful conversation about the editing process, storytelling, and the essence of watching a movie. Utterly fascinating, and invaluable to any aspiring filmmaker. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Don Simon on 2 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well. This is an absolutely great film. I love it.

It's full of emotion, humour and fireworks. really it is full of fireworks and rockets! Wahnsinn!

The deception behind keeping Frau Kerner (Katrin Sass) in the dark about the reunification is astounding and the humour behind everything is really dry which is typical for German humour. There is one part that really gets me upset for Frau Kerner when the statue of Lenin is flown away - i think it's the music as well - an excellent score throughout.

A subtitled film to warn those who are keen to avoid that but there is so much that would be wrong with the film if it were dubbed.

But it goes to show what some people might do for their mothers even it means saying that a country that no longer exists is thriving!

It may help to know what the reunification of Germany is before you watch it just so you understand what's goign on. But ican recommend this to anyone who understands German humour, history and maybe the language. Enjoy
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Dec. 2004
Format: DVD
I won't tell you the story because you've probably read it in the other reviews a dozen times by now, so I'll just cut to what I thought of Goodby Lenin...
Goodbye Lenin is one of those beautiful little films that seems to prove just how 'fake' Hollywood is. As you watch this delightful film it seems so much more real then big Hollywood epics, is there even one special effect in Goodbye Lenin? what's more, does it even matter?
The scene on which the title is based is probably the biggest budget scene in the film, and all they really had to do was hire a hellicopter and it created a great scene anyway.
Part of the delight of this film is the comedy, I admit it's not laugh out loud, but it is gently amusing and makes a very watchable film and the romance isn't of the wishy-washy, sickening variety, either.
Beneath this enjoyable exterior is the story of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Communism, it quickly shows you the matireal differences between Capitalism and Communism, which hours of history lessons failed to hammer in. There is also an air of sadness, yet it still manages to be curiously uplifting, and, like many good films, it has a small twist at the end to make things interesting.
Overall this film is a very enjoyable peice of entertainment that shouldn't be overlooked because it has subtitles and wasn't made in Hollywood.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD
It's October 1989, and East Berliner Alex Kerner (Daniel Brühl), the teenage son of Communist Party stalwart Christiane (Katrin Saß), is arrested during a peaceful demonstration in the streets approaching The Wall. On her way to receive an honor for her service to the German Democratic Republic, Mom witnesses her boy's apprehension and has a heart attack that thrusts her into a coma, which lasts until June 1990. By then, The Wall has effectively been breached, Western capitalism has invaded East Berlin with a vengeance, Christiane's teenage daughter Ariane (Maria Simon) has dropped out of the university to get a job at the new Burger King, where she's taken up with a "Wessie" (a West Berliner), and Alex has fallen for Lara (Chulpan Khamatova), a student nurse from the USSR.
After Alex insists that his mother be released for at-home convalescence, the doctor makes clear that any shock to the patient's system will likely kill her. Since Communism is all that Christiane has ever known, Alex contrives an elaborate scheme to shield his bed-ridden mother from all evidence of The Wall's collapse and the West's victory of materialism over her socialist world. What is she to think of that gigantic Coca-Cola advert hanging from the apartment building opposite her window?
The improbable prospects for the con's success aside, GOOD BYE LENIN is a witty, clever, and sometimes poignant look at the wave of change which swept through East Berlin after the surprisingly sudden meltdown of Die Mauer, carrying forward the young and resilient with the flow, but leaving many bitter, old guard stranded in unfamiliar territory .
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dee Roddy on 30 May 2006
Format: DVD
If there is a German film of all time, this is probably it - and having recommended it to many non-german speaking friends who loved it, I feel the film has proved its accessibility. It is a wonderful mixture of humour and sensitivity, and Daniel Bruehl's superb, understated acting is truly amazing. The film is set in Berlin as the East German regime falls, and it encapsulates many of the dilemmas and mixed feelings that East Germans may have felt then and since. It is also, however, a film about family, and the ties and lies that bind and separate us.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bugsiebaby on 2 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
I know what you're thinking, but if you look hard enough there's plenty of decent german films out there. Like this one. And Run Lola Run. And..they're probably the ones you've heard of right? If you're new to german cinema, don't be put off.
Being a german student, you might think I'm rather biased, but this film really does german cinema justice. For once, a film that refers back to an important part of germany's history, but at the same time, isn't afraid to laugh at itself. I'm talking about all the little references made to coca cola, that capitalist pig of a company, and to the extensive waiting lists for cars. This film makes you see how ludicrous and laughable the situation had become in the GDR, but of course, back then no one was laughing.
But its not all meaningless jokes about the claustrophobic nature of the former soviet bloc. After her heart attack, Alex knows any shock could kill his mother. And what bigger shock, than to wake up from a coma and discover that in fact the country is once again united, coca cola reigns supreme and your daughter has quit college to work at Burger King. At first glance the situation certainly does not look rosy.
Apart from the few odd moments I mentioned earlier, Goodbye Lenin! isn't exactly a laugh out loud comedy. The challenges Alex (played by the brilliant Daniel Brühl) faces to protect his mother from the truth are in many ways humourous, but there are some very moving moments as well. Alex is in every way a devoted son, even if it causes minor tension with other family members.
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