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In Bridge of Spies, there is a scene where James Donovan runs into some street thugs in East Berlin, who eventually demand his coat in exchange for directions to the embassy. There are no subtitles for this scene, probably to reflect Donovan's limited German understanding. However I'm curious, what did they say to him (and what does it mean in English)?

  • 1
    Any chance you could find the scene on YouTube or in some transcript? – Mario Feb 22 '16 at 6:29
  • If you find the scene in YouTube, please post the link and mark the time. – Cascabel Feb 22 '16 at 18:16
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+100

I'll try to write it down. My German is a little bit rusty so I may be misunderstanding some parts of it.

Sich verlaufen?

Did you get lost?

I'm not really sure about this line. The best I can hear is that it sounds like 'sich verlaufen'

... ob du dich verlaufen hast?

... if you did get lost?

The beginning of this line is very hard to hear. It may be "He asks...".

(Donovan): Verlofen? Ja, Ja ... Die Uter den Länden?

Lost? Yes, yes ... the 'Unter den Länden'?

Donovan mispronounces 'verlaufen'. I guess Donovan is also mispronouncing 'Unter' as 'Uter' here. He appears to be looking for Unter den Linden, which is the street for the Soviet (now Russian) Embassy in Berlin.

... vor'n 'Streuner' (?)

... for a stray/strayer

This line is spoken very fast. I can only get the 'Streuner' part which may be meaning 'stray'. The next sentence includes the same word 'Streuner' where the guy points at his coat which also suggests that it's a word for coat. Maybe it's some kind of slang for coat.

Feine amerikanishe 'Streuner' (?)

Fine American 'coat'

Frag ihm ob er Geld hat

Ask him if he has money

Again it's spoken very fast but my interpretation is almost correct.

Sprichst du Deutsch?

Do you speak German?

(Donovan): Ja, Ja ich sprochen etwas

Yes, yes I'm spoken a little.

Donovan's German is not perfect so he misuses the tense here.

(Right after the English spoken 'we apologize if this offends' part): Aber Ich will auch gern ... teuer Mantel haben.

But I would also like to have (your/a so?) expensive/pricey coat

... Die Mantz anziehen

... put on the coat

This part is really hard to understand but I guess that he's speaking about putting on the coat. I hear the word 'Mantz' here, maybe I'm mishearing it or it may be a slang for the German Mantel (coat).

... die Mant probieren (?)

This part is also hard to write down but the guy means something like 'He wants to try out the coat'.

Die (?) da gibt die zurück ... versprochen

... will give back, promise

It's hard to catch the complete words here.

Wir können uns ... das (?) Geld aus ... deiner Brieftasche leihen oder du gibst uns den Mantel. Es koste dich nichts.

We can borrow the money out of your wallet or you give us the coat. It won't cost you anything.

Okay, 'Unter den Länden' wo das ist und ...?

Okay, 'Unter den Länden' where it is and ...?

I can't the hear the exact words at the end in this part.

Du gehst geradeaus, dann Rechts, und die zweite Links

You go straightforward, then right, and the second left.

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In addition to the accepted answer I want to point out some things (and write down the whole dialog for completeness).

First off, some things they say are quiet colloquial. E.g. "Ob du dich verlaufen hast" is not really a complete sentence, but Germans often use it when they have to repeat a question, literally translated like "Did you get lost? ... If you did get lost?"

'Streuner' ist not a word for coat. Here it points out that Donovan is a foreigner, someone who doesn't belong to that place. It's an insulting way of saying "Who's that kind of guy?".

"Dieter gibt ihn auch zurück, versprochen!" - Apparently the German guy who mainly speaks is called 'Dieter' (a common forename).

"Wir können uns das Geld aus deiner Brieftasche leihen, oder du gibst uns den Mantel und es kostet dich nichts." - The way the guy stresses the "oder" indicates that Donovan can either give up his coat or the German guys will take his money, probably violently.

"Na ehm... Unter den Linden, wo das ist? Und wir sind quitt?" - 'quitt sein' means being even with someone.

Fun fact: In the german dubbed version they don't say the same things, so that it will still make sense for a German audience. E.g. instead of "Sprichst du deutsch?" the guy asks "Hat es dir die Sprache verschlagen?" which means "Are you lost for words?".


"Hast du dich verlaufen?"

"Guten Tag"

"Ob du dich verlaufen hast?!"

"Verlaufen... ja ja, the äh... the Unter den Linden?"

"Was ist'n dit für'n Streuner?" (Berlin slang for "Was ist denn das für ein Streuner?")

"Ein feiner amerikanischer Streuner."

"Frag ihn mal ob er Geld hat."

"Sprichst du deutsch?"

"Ja ja... ich spreche etwas."

"So we apologize if this is an offense, aber ich würde auch echt gerne so einen tollen Mantel haben. Äh, coat? Kann ich den mal... Kann ich den mal anziehen?"

"Du sollst den Mantel ausziehen, er möchte den gerne mal anprobieren!"

"Dieter gibt ihn auch zurück, versprochen!"

"Wir können uns das Geld aus deiner Brieftasche leihen, oder du gibst uns den Mantel und es kostet dich nichts."

"Na ehm... Unter den Linden, wo das ist? Und wir sind quitt?"

"Du gehst geradeaus, dann rechts und die zweite links."

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