For Eyes Only - Top Secret

(for eyes only - streng geheim)

GDR, 1963, 103 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)


Hansen is a double agent working for the East German secret police. He has infiltrated the American Military Intelligence Division, part of a network planning to invade the GDR. Hansen’s mission is to obtain and bring back classified, top-secret documents. After the cover of several US spies is blown, Hansen’s boss suspects a leak in his own ranks and has Hansen take a lie detector test.


Before this film, the spy genre (and the topic of spying) was taboo in East German cultural productions, due to the widespread unpopularity of the secret police (Stasi) and its practice of spying on GDR citizens. This film is loosely based on a Stasi propaganda pamphlet about an uncovered secret US military plan to intervene in the GDR, if necessary. The pamphlet was intended to boost public support of the Berlin Wall, which had been built in 1961, and to justify its existence. for eyes only was made two years after the Berlin Wall went up and it received studio support to serve the same purpose as the pamphlet. It was a box-office success. Some film critics described the film as “the answer to the first James Bond film, Dr. No (1962)."




The short film Disco Film 5: In the Heart of US Military Espionage included as a special feature on the DVD for eyes only tells the story of the real East German spy on whom the film is based.


1964 National Prize, Class 3 (Harry Thürk, János Veiczi)

Press comments

"A communist contribution to the spy film genre!"
— Bodo Mrozek, James Bond's German Colleagues

"A cleverly directed and well-performed spy thriller!"
— Lexicon of International Film


"The storyline and the character of Hansen were clearly based on the Western genre in terms of style, tone and tempo."
— Zagreb Film Festival


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • New digitally restored version
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • "The Truth, the Absolute Truth: Liberation Policy and DEFA's For Eyes Only," by historian Bernd Stöver
  • "Our Own James Bond," written interview with dramaturg Dieter Wolf
  • Newsreel 1956/29, A US Agent in the GDR, 1956
  • Disco Film 5: In the Heart of US Military Espionage, 1975
  • Original Trailer
  • Teaching Guide

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