Everyone Dies Alone

Everyone Dies Alone

Man and woman on trial (black & white photo)

Courtroom scene: Carl Raddatz and Hildegard Knef as Otto and Anna Quangel
Directed by Alfred Vohrer
Produced by Karl Spiehs
Screenplay by Miodrag Cubelic
Anton Cerwik
Based on Every Man Dies Alone
by Hans Fallada
Starring Hildegard Knef
Carl Raddatz
Music by Gerhard Heinz
Cinematography Heinz Hölscher
Edited by Jutta Hering
Release dates
1976 (in English)
Running time
102 minutes
Country West Germany
Language German

Everyone Dies Alone (Original title: Jeder stirbt für sich allein) is a German film produced and released in West Germany in 1975, adapted from the Hans Fallada novel, Every Man Dies Alone. It was released in English in 1976.[1] The book was based on the story of two ordinary Germans, Otto and Elise Hampel, who committed acts of civil disobedience against the Third Reich, were caught and sentenced to death.


The film takes place in Berlin in 1940, during World War II as Adolf Hitler is at the height of his power. Anna and Otto Quangel, a working class couple, live in Berlin in simple circumstances and are not particularly interested in politics. Then, their only son is killed in action during the Battle of France and as they grieve for their son, the desire to resist the Nazi regime grows within them. When a Jewish neighbor is also killed, Anna decides to actively join the German Resistance. She begins writing very personal flyers on postcards, which she at first alone, and then with her husband, leaves in public places and slips into mailboxes. The two are discovered and are arrested and eventually sentenced to death. Otto Quangel commits suicide in the courtroom with a cyanide pill; his wife is executed two months later.


The Lexikon des deutschen Films published in 1995 by German publisher Reclam called the film Vohrer's most challenging work, stating further, "albeit somewhat sentimental, but without sensationalist moments, this film adaptation comes near Fallada's original. Especially haunting is the focused and unadorned performance by Hildegard Knef."

Other screen versions

There are two earlier screen adaptations of Fallada's book and one later. The first filmed version was Falk Harnack's 1962 television play, Jeder stirbt für sich allein produced and broadcast in West Germany. Anna and Otto Quangel were played by Edith Schultze-Westrum and Alfred Schieske. In 1970, DEFA produced a three-part miniseries, Jeder stirbt für sich allein in East Germany, directed by Hans-Joachim Kasprzik.[2] Elsa Grube-Deister and Erwin Geschonneck played the main roles and supported by Wolfgang Kieling and Fred Delmare among others. In 2004, a Czech version, I ve smrti sami, was produced as a television miniseries, directed by Dušan Kleina and broadcast in the Czech Republic.[3]


See also


  1. Everyone Dies Alone at the Internet Movie Database
  2. Filmsterne biography of Erwin Geschonneck DEFA. Retrieved March 5, 2012 (German)
  3. "Dobro a zlo u Dušana Kleina" Hospodářské Noviny (February 16, 2004). Retrieved March 4, 2012 (Czech)
  4. Biographie Carl Raddatz Film Museum Potsdam. Retrieved March 5, 2012 (German)


External links

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