Wolfgang Becker was born in 1954 in Hemer/Westphalia and studied German, History and American Studies at the Free University in Berlin. He followed this with a job at a sound studio in 1980 and then began studies at the German Film & Television Academy (dffb). He started working as a freelance cameraman in 1983 and graduated from the dffb in 1986 with Butterflies (Schmetterlinge), which won the Student Academy Award in 1988, the Golden Leopard at Locarno and the Saarland Prime-Minister's Award at the 1988 Ophuels Festival Saarbruecken. He directed the Tatort-episode, Blutwurstwalzer, before making his second feature Children's Games (Kinderspiele, 1992), the documentary Celibidache (1992), and the Berlinale competition features Life is All You Get (Das Leben ist eine Baustelle, 1997), and Good Bye, Lenin! (2003).