Plenzdorf, Ulrich


Ulrich Plenzdorf  was born in 1934 in Berlin. He was one of East Germany’s most radical young writers and, after unification, one of Germany’s most sought-after scriptwriters. Breaking off his philosophy studies, Plenzdorf worked as a stagehand at the state-run East German DEFA movie studios from 1955 to1958. He then studied at the Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam Babelsberg until 1963 and, in 1964, began working as a scriptwriter and dramatic advisor at DEFA.


Plenzdorf wrote his debut script for Herrmann Zschoche’s Carla. Along with most of the year’s production, this film was banned in 1965 and not shown until after the fall of the Wall. Plenzdorf’s 1972 play, Die neuen Leiden des jungen W., which references Goethe’s classic novella, elevated him to fame. Expressing the frustrations of East German youth, it became a sensational success, selling over 4 million copies in 30 languages, and was later filmed by West German television. His 1972 film, Die Legende von Paul und Paula, was also a smash hit.


Plenzdorf continued writing socially insightful and successful plays – such as The Time of the Wolves (1989), about Stalinism – and screenplays, like Bunny Hops (1991), or the State Prosecutor’s Nightmare (1991), which addresses the apprehensions of a reunited Germany. In 1992, Plenzdorf took over, after the death of the author Jurek Becker, as scriptwriter for the German television series Liebling-Kreuzberg, starring Manfred Krug. In 1997 he wrote the script for the film, Abgehauen, based on Krug’s autobiographical writings.


Ulrich Plenzdorf died on August 9, 2007, after having suffered from a serious illness for several years.



1998 Abgehauen (Runaway, TV)
1998 Der Laden (The Store, TV)
1995 Matulla und Busch (Matulla and Busch, TV)
1993 Vater Mutter Mörderkind (Father, Mother, Murder Child, TV)
1992 Lieblin Kreuzberg (Darling Kreuzberg, TV)
1991 Der Verdacht (The Suspicion)
1990 Der Fall Ö (The Case Oe)
1983 Bockshorn (Taken for a Ride)
1983 Insel der Schwäne (Swan Island)
1979 Glück im Hinterhaus (Rear House Bliss)
1976 Die neuen Leiden des jungen W. (The New Sorrows of Young W.,TV)
1974 Liebe mit 16 (Love at 16)
1972 Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula)
1971 Kennen Sie Urban? (Do You Know Urban?)
1969 Weite Straßen – stille Liebe (Long Roads – Secret Love)
1965/90 Karla (Carla)
1964 Mir nach, Canaillen! (Follow Me, Rascals!)

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