The story takes place in 1984 in East Berlin. The Stasi, the GDR’s security service, aims to monitor as many civilians as possible and to find out as much as possible about them. Captain of the Stasi Gerd Wiesler is ordered to eavesdrop on the internationally recognized and initially procommunist playwright Georg Dreyman and his girlfriend Christa-Maria Sieland. From the bare attic of the apartment complex, Wiesler gains insight into the lives of Dreyman and Sieland. The longer he listens to the daily activities of these two, the more he becomes aware of his own boring life. Not only does he start to become interested in the literary works that he hears about during the wiretapping, but he also slowly starts to realize that he is on the wrong side and works for a criminal organization.