A Time to Love and a Time to Die

A Time to Love and a Time to Die Information

A Time to Love and a Time to Die is a 1958 American CinemaScope drama film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring John Gavin. It is based on the book by the German author, Erich Maria Remarque, set on the Eastern Front (World War II), and in Nazi Germany.


Ernst Graeber is a German soldier stationed on the Eastern Front during the war's last days. He and fellow soldiers Steinbrenner and Hirschland are ordered to kill Russian civilians, but Hirschland commits suicide instead.

Given his first furlough in two years, Ernst returns home to find his village bombed and parents gone. Elizabeth Kruse, daughter of his mother's doctor, tells him that her father is being held by the Gestapo as well. Constant air raids interrupt any peaceful moments Ernst and Elizabeth enjoy.

An old friend, Binding, is a wealthy Nazi now and welcomes Ernst to his home. He prepares a feast for the wedding of Ernst and Elizabeth, who are now in love. And a sympathetic professor, Pohlmann, offers his help should the newlyweds decide to flee.

Ernst is ordered back to the front. He finds Steinbrenner about to shoot civilians and kills him. Ernst frees the prisoners, but one nonetheless shoots him. He dies while reading a love letter from Elizabeth.


  • John Gavin as Ernst Graeber
  • Liselotte Pulver as Elizabeth Kruse Graeber (as Lilo Pulver)
  • Jock Mahoney as Immerman
  • Don DeFore as Hermann Boettcher
  • Keenan Wynn as Reuter
  • Erich Maria Remarque as Professor Pohlmann
  • Dieter Borsche as Captain Rahe
  • Barbara Rütting as Woman Guerrilla
  • Thayer David as Oscar Binding
  • Charles Régnier as Joseph
  • Dorothea Wieck as Frau Lieser
  • Kurt Meisel as Heini
  • Agnes Windeck as Frau Witte
  • Clancy Cooper as Sauer
  • John van Dreelen as Political Officer
  • Klaus Kinski as Gestapo Lieutenant
  • Alice Treff as Frau Langer
  • Alexander Engel as Mad Air Raid Warden
  • Jim Hutton as Hirschland (as Dana J. Hutton)
  • Bengt Lindström as Steinbrenner
  • Wolf Harnisch as Sergeant Muecke
  • Karl Ludwig Lindt as Dr. Karl Fresenburg
  • Lisa Helwig as Frau Kleinert


  • Academy Award: Best Sound Mixing (Leslie I. Carey) (1959)
  • Berlin Film Festival: Golden Bear (1958)

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