The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Brian Percival (2014)

12 Certificate


Our Score
On the eve of the Second World War in Germany, a young orphan is taken in by foster parents who help her discover the joy of reading at the same time as the rest of the locals are burning books in the town square. While so many stories from this era have rightly explored anti-Semitism, this adaptation of Markus Zusak's acclaimed novel instead puts the emphasis on the plight of ordinary Germans who didn't buy into Nazi propaganda. First World War vet Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and his grumbling yet good-hearted spouse (Emily Watson) do their best for new arrival Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), but their decision to hide a Jew (Ben Schnetzer) in the basement puts them all at risk. Director Brian Percival (best known for TV's Downton Abbey) might have milked greater tension from this scenario, but his well-acted, thoughtful drama carefully builds a convincing picture of the rising tide of prejudice. It could have been more dramatically powerful, but as it is, The Book Thief encapsulates this troubled historical period in a way that will intrigue and inform younger viewers.


A girl separated from her family is raised by foster parents in Nazi Germany, who instill in her a love of reading. She is horrified by the book burnings and tries to save volumes from the flames, while she and her adoptive family provide a safe hiding place for a Jewish boy. Drama based on Markus Zusak's novel, starring Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson.

Cast & Crew

Liesel Meminger Sophie Nelisse
Hans Hubermann Geoffrey Rush
Rosa Hubermann Emily Watson
Max Vandenburg Ben Schnetzer
Rudy Steiner Nico Liersch
Ilsa Hermann Barbara Auer
Frau Heinrich Kirsten Block
Actor Roger Allam
Director Brian Percival
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century FoxAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 21 Feb 2014