Jacob the Liar

Original title: (Jakob der Lügner)
GDR, 1974, 101 min, color
In German; English and other subtitles

In a Jewish ghetto in German-occupied Poland in 1944, Jacob Heym is summoned to the police station. While there, Jacob overhears on the radio that "the Russians are twenty kilometers from Bezanika." The next day he tells this to a despondent friend who is about to commit suicide and the news renews his hope in salvation. As no one would believe the true story, Jacob pretends to have a radio; as no one in the ghetto is allowed to have a radio, however, all are eager to hear news from the outside world and constantly ask Jacob for updates on the advance of the Soviets. Jacob creates fictional reports to help alleviate the unbearable hopelessness of those around him, but his lies cannot stop the machinery that brings death to all the ghetto inhabitants.


A bittersweet comedy loaded with human quirks and nuance. Based on the book by Jurek Becker.


Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1977, the story was remade in Hollywood starring Robin Williams in 1999.

Special features:
  • Trace of the Times, a documentary about director Frank Beyer
  • Introductory trailer of DEFA films
  • Biographies, pictures, and more
  • English, Spanish, French, and Hebrew subtitles
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Jacob the Liar

Screening Rights: 
Educational Streaming

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