Gwisdek, Michael


Michael Gwisdek, born on January 14, 1942 in Berlin, was one of Germany’s most renowned contemporary actors and appeared in almost 150 cinema and television films. After studying at the Academy of Performing Arts in East Berlin from 1965 to 1968, he was engaged at the theater in Karl Marx Stadt (now Chemnitz). In 1973, he became a member of the ensemble at the Volksbühne in Berlin, where he later also worked at the Deutsches Theater from 1983 to 1991.


Gwisdek worked as a freelance filmmaker while continuing his acting career. His first film appearance was in a supporting role as a cowboy in the East German Western Spur des Falken. He was one of few East German actors to have the privilege of working with West German directors, such as Bernhard Wicki and Hark Bohm, in the 1970s and 1980s. Treffen in Travers, his directorial debut, was shown at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and earned him an immediate international reputation.


Michael Gwisdek’s performances were honored with important prizes, including: the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival for Nachtgestalten (Dir. Andreas Dresen); the German Film Award in Gold in 1991 for Der Tangospieler (Dir. Roland Gräf); and Best Actor at the 1984 Chicago International Film Festival for Der Fall Bachmeier–Keine Zeit für Tränen (Dir. Hark Bohm). Most recently, Gwisdek played the lead in Florian Cossen’s outstanding debut film, Das Lied in mir, which won international awards and was short-listed for the German 2012 Oscar contribution.

Gwisdek died on September 22, 2020.


Festivals & Awards:

2013 German Film Award in Gold, Best Actor, for Oh Boy
2013 Golden Ox, Lifetime Achievement Award, Schwerin Art of Film Festival, Germany 
2008 German TV Award, Best Supporting Actor, Das Wunder von Berlin

Ernst Lubitsch Award for Nachtgestalten

1999 Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival for Nachtgestalten (dir. Andreas Dresen)
1999 Nominee for German Film Award in Gold, Best Actor, for Nachtgestalten
1994 Nominee for German Film Award in Gold, Best Actor, for Abschied von Agnes
1991 German Film Award in Gold in 1991 for Der Tangospieler (dir. Roland Gräf)
1990 First Prize, GDR Feature Film Festival, Berlin, for Treffen in Travers
1990 Best DEFA Feature Film of the Year 1989, "Clapper Board" Critic's Prize, Division for Theory and Criticism, GDR Association of Film and Television Professionals, for Treffen in Travers
1989 Nominee for Golden Bear for Das Mambospiel, Berlin International Film Festival
1988 Adolf Grimme Award for Sansibar oder Der letzte Grund
1984 Best Actor at the  Chicago International Film Festival for Der Fall Bachmeier–Keine Zeit für Tränen (dir. Hark Bohm). 


(A = actor    |    D = director)


2019 Traumfabrik (Dream Factory, A)
2019 Die Lehmanns und ihre Töchter (Lehmanns’ Daughters, TV, A)
2019 So einfach stirbt man nicht (One Wouldn’t Simply Die, TV, A)

Dead End (TV, A)

2019 Familie Wöhler auf Mallorca (Family Wöhler in Mallorca, TV, A)

Das schweigende Klassenzimmer (The Silent Revolution, A)


Kundschafter des Friedens (A Spy for Peace, A)

2015 Heil (A)
2014 Männerhort (Men’s Club, A)
2014 Nachthelle (Light at Night, A)
2014 Miss Sixty (A)
2013 Hai Alarm am Müggelsee (A Shark in Müggelsee, A)
2013 Flaschenpost an meinen Mann (A Message in a Bottle for My Husband, TV, A)
2012 Oh Boy (A)
2012 Jesus Loves Me (A)
2011 Schicksalsjahre (Fateful Years, TV series, A)
2010 Das Lied in mir (The Day I Was Not Born, A)
2009 Hilde (A)
2008 Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex, A)
2008 Das Wunder von Berlin (The Miracle of Berlin, TV, A)
2006 Elementarteilchen
(Atomised, A)
2005 Almost Heaven (A)
2003 Good Bye, Lenin! (A)
2000 Die Unberührbare (No Place to Go, A)
1999 Nachtgestalten (Night Shapes, A)
1998 Das Mambospiel (The Big Mambo, A, D)
1994 Abschied von Agnes
(Farewell to Agnes, A, D)
1991 Die Spur des Bernsteinzimmers (The Mystery of the Amber Room, A)

Farßmann oder zu Fuß in die Sackgasse

(Farssmann, or On Foot Down a Dead End, A)

1991 Der Verdacht (The Suspicion, A)
1990 Der Tangospieler (The Tango Player, A)
1989 Coming Out (A)
1988 Yasemin (A)
1988 Die Schauspielerin (The Actress, A)
1988 Treffen in Travers (Rendezvous in Travers, D)
1987 Sansibar oder der letzte Grund (Zanzibar, or the Last Reason, TV, A)
1984 Hälfte des Lebens (Half of Life, A)
1984 Der Fall Bachmeier – Keine Zeit für Tränen (The Bachmeier Case – No Time for Tears, A)
1983 Ärztinnen (Women Doctors, A)
1983 Olle Henry (Ole Henry, A)
1981 Märkische Forschungen (Exploring the Mark Brandenburg, A)
1981/88 Jadup und Boel (Jadup and Boel, A)
1981 Dein unbekannter Bruder (Your Unknown Brother, A)
1979 Addio, piccolo mia (A)
1975 Hostess (A)
1974 Till Eulenspiegel (A)
1968 Spur des Falken (The Falcon’s Trail, A)

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