The Book Thief

Critics Consensus

A bit too safe in its handling of its Nazi Germany setting, The Book Thief counters its constraints with a respectful tone and strong performances.



Reviews Counted: 144

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 50,143


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

Based on the beloved international bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the story of an extraordinary, spirited young girl sent to live with a foster family in WWII Germany. Intrigued by the only book she brought with her, she begins collecting books as she finds them. With the help of her new parents and a secret guest under the stairs, she learns to read and creates a magical world that inspires them all.

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Roger Allam
as Death, Narrator
Heike Makatsch
as Liesel's Mother
Julian Lehmann
as Liesel's Brother
Gotthard Lange
as Grave Digger
Kirsten Block
as Frau Heinrich
Ludger Bokelmann
as Football Urchin #1
Paul Schalper
as Football Urchin #2
Nozomi Linus Kaisar
as Fat Faced Goalie
Oliver Stokowski
as Alex Steiner
Robert Beyers
as Jewish Accountant
Levin Liam
as Franz Deutscher
Rafael Gareisen
as Walter Nazi Soldier
Carl Heinz Choynski
as Jüergen the Groundsman
Carina Wiese
as Barbara Steiner
Rainer Bock
as Buergmeister Hermann
Barbara Auer
as Ilsa Hermann
Sebastian Hülk
as Gestapo Agent
Beata Lehmann
as Woman with Champagne
Laina Schwarz
as Neighbor
Georg Tryphon
as Neighbor
Martin Ontrop
as Herr Lehmann
Jan Andres
as Fellow Conscript
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News & Interviews for The Book Thief

Critic Reviews for The Book Thief

All Critics (144) | Top Critics (39)

  • It's a worryingly lenient and obtuse approach to history and historical evil, which are smothered in feelgood tragi-sentimental slush.

    Feb 28, 2014 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • The movie lacks the nerve to treat death as anything more menacing than the tooth fairy.

    Dec 10, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Markus Zusak's enormously successful young-adult novel seems to have been adapted as a movie for middle-aged children.

    Nov 25, 2013 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • "The Book Thief" may not be perfect, but it may steal your heart.

    Nov 22, 2013 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • Pretty visuals give an unexpectedly painful twist to other parts of the story.

    Nov 21, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • You just wonder if this film's audience might be happier at home, curled up with a book. "The Book Thief," perhaps.

    Nov 21, 2013 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for The Book Thief

The narrative style that this movie takes isn't the worst part of this movie. Occasionally funny and sweet but not enough to save you from the boredom that ensues!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


Messy as this aseptic drama is from a narrative point of view, with language inconsistencies and dozens of pointless elements, it is also a mystery what it wants to say after all, lacking emotional weight and tension while being completely detached from the real world.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Courage beyond words. Great Film! "The Book Thief" has wonderful photography by Florian Ballhaus, an excellent musical score by Golden Globe and Oscar winning John Williams, and best of all, marvelous acting from Sophie Nelisse as the young girl, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as her adoptive parents, and Ben Schnetzer as the Jewish boy they hide. Many of the core scenes with Nelisse, Watson, and Rush should be required viewing at any acting school. If the film has any fault at all, it is the decision by the film makers to try to walk a fine line between drama and fable. Having "Death" as the narrator right from the start seems to suggest fable, but the story itself veers sharply to drama for most of the 2+ hours, and then, noticeably at the end, reverts to fable. Some viewers may find this disconcerting. But the power of the story and the acting generally compensate for this short coming. Based on the beloved bestselling book, THE BOOK THIEF tells the story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Spoiler Alert - Any war movie set in Germany is doomed to an unhappy ending!

Thomas Johnston
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer

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