The Book Thief (film)

2014 film by Brian Percival

The Book Thief is a 2013 American-German war drama film about a young girl living with her adoptive German family during the Nazi era.  Taught to read by her kind-hearted foster father, the girl begins "borrowing" books and sharing them with the Jewish refugee being sheltered by her foster parents in their home.

Directed by Brian Percival.  Screenplay by Michael Petroni.  Based on the novel by Markus Zusak.
Courage beyond words. (taglines)
  • The bombs were coming thicker now. It's probably fair to say that no one was able to serve the Führer as loyally as me.
  • 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. I guess I should introduce myself properly, but then again, you'll meet me soon enough — not before your time, of course; I make it a policy to avoid the living.
  • When I finally caught up with Max Vandenburg's soul, it was this moment that haunted him the most. For leaving his mother. For feeling that awful, light-headed relief that he would live.
  • It's always been the same, the excitement and rush to war. I've met so many young men over the years who have thought they were running at their enemy, when the truth was, they were running to me.
  • While ten thousand souls hid their heads in fear, and trembled, one Jew thanked God for the stars that blessed his eyes.
  • Humans, if nothing else, have a good sense to die.
  • Even Death has a heart.
  • Heaven — it was a misread on a map. No sirens that evening. First were Rudy's brothers. I read their simple dreams. Then I kissed his mother. And stole the meanness from Franz Deutscher's heart. Rosa I caught mid-snore. I could swear I heard her call me a saukarl. Then I felt her regrets for not sharing more of her very big heart. As for Hans, his soul was lighter than a child's. I felt his itch for one last tune on his accordion, and heard his final thought; "Liesel."
  • I have seen a great many things. I've attended all of the world's worst disasters and worked for the greatest of villains, and I've seen the greatest wonders, but it's still like I said it was: No one lives forever. When I finally came for Liesel, I took selfish pleasure in the knowledge that she had lived her ninety years so wisely. By then, her stories had touched many souls, some of whom I came to know in passing. Max, whose friendship lasted almost as long as Liesel — almost. In her final thoughts, she saw the long list of lives that merged with hers: her three children, her grandchildren, her husband. Among them, lit like lanterns, were Hans and Rosa, her brother, and the boy whose hair remained the colour of lemons forever. I wanted to tell the book thief she was one of the few souls that made me wonder what it was to live. But in the end, there were no words, only peace. The only truth I truly know is that I am haunted by humans.
  • You may find this hard to believe, but it's the best thing I've ever thrown up. page ?
  • Words are life, Liesel.


  • Rosa: Hans, where did you put the flag? If we don't find it, it's going to look like we're saying something.
  • Franz: Burn a book. Go on, burn a book. Go on. I'll be watching — both of you.
  • Hans: What was I thinking? [begins sobbing] He took my name! Christ on the Cross, what have I done? [Rosa shushes Hans gently] I've ruined us, I've ruined us! I'm sorry, Rosa. I'm sorry.
  • Liesel: Nein Rudy
  • Rudy: Yah Liesel


Rosa: Can we trust her?
Hans: She's our daughter.
Rosa: She's a child
Hans: Rosa, we have no choice.
Rosa: He looks like death.
Hans: He's probably forgotten what food tastes like.
Rosa: And what are we going to feed him on? We barely have enough to feed ourselves.
Hans: We will make do.
Rosa: Oh, "we will make do."
Hans: We have always known that, one day, this may happen. Hmm?
Rosa: We could turn him in tomorrow. The authorities would understand— We could say it was late at night
Hans: Rosa.
Rosa: I know.
Hans: He came to us. I owe his family everything.
Rosa: I know.

Franz: I'm reporting you.
Liesel: For what? Having a diary?
Franz: I know you're up to something.

Liesel: They're coming.
Rosa: Who?
Liesel: They're checking basements.

Liesel: I don't understand. What did he do so wrong?
Max: He reminded people of their humanity.

Max: But, if they come and find me here, they'll take all of you away.
Liesel: No, Max.
Max: I have to, Liesel. I'm sorry.
Liesel: But you promised.
Max: It's for your own good. For your family.
Liesel: But you're my family.

Rudy: I hate Hitler.
Liesel: Me, too. [Rudy looks at her. Shouting;] I hate Hitler!
Rudy: [shouts] I hate Hitler!
[The two continue shouting insults against Hitler]

Liesel: There once was a ghost of a boy who liked to live in the shadows so he wouldn't frighten people. His job was to wait for his sister, who was still alive. She wasn't afraid of the dark because she knew, that's where her brother was.
Rosa: Go on.
Liesel: At night, when darkness came to her room, she would tell her brother about the day. She would remind him how the sun felt on his skin, and what the air felt like to breathe, or how snow felt on his tongue. And that reminded her that she was still alive.

[Rudy lies partially buried under rubble]
Liesel: Rudy?
Rudy: Saumensch. Liesel.
Liesel: Shh.
Rudy: I need to tell you…
Liesel: Don't speak.
Rudy: I need to say it. I lo- [his eyes close]
Liesel: ...Rudy? Rudy, nein! Rudy, wake up! Rudy, nein! Wake up, Rudy! Rudy, wake up! Rudy, kiss me!


  • Courage beyond words.
  • From the studio that brought you Life of Pi


  • Roger Allam as Death, the film's narrator
  • Sophie Nélisse as Liesel Meminger, the titular "book thief"
  • Geoffrey Rush as Hans Hubermann, Liesel's kind-hearted foster father
  • Emily Watson as Rosa Hubermann, Liesel's bad-tempered foster mother
  • Ben Schnetzer as Max Vandenburg, a Jewish refugee staying with the Hubermanns
  • Nico Liersch as Rudy Steiner, Liesel's best friend and love interest
  • Oliver Stokowski as Alex Steiner, Rudy's father
  • Levin Liam as Franz Deutscher, bully and leader of Rudy's Hitler Youth squad
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