The Radio Times logo
We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent (learn more)

The Book Thief

  • Drama
  • War
  • 2014
  • Brian Percival
  • 125 mins
  • 12A

Summary

Wartime drama based on the novel by Markus Zusak, starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nélisse. As Nazism spreads through Germany and people are forced to burn books in the street, a young girl discovers the joy of literature through her adoptive parents and the young Jewish man they are sheltering.

Advertisement
Powered By
IMDB

Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

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 antisemitism, 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 Jewish man (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.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Hans HubermannGeoffrey Rush
Rosa HubermannEmily Watson
Liesel MemingerSophie Nélisse
MaxBen Schnetzer
Narrator / DeathRoger Allam
Liesel's motherHeike Makatsch
Liesel's brotherJulian Lehmann
RudyNico Liersch

Crew

rolename
DirectorBrian Percival

Details

Theatrical distributor
20th Century Fox
Released on
2014-02-21
Languages
English | German
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content