A protégé of Max Reinhardt and Piscator, Wolfgang Staudte debuted on-stage as an actor in the late 1920s and in films in the early '30s. In 1943, he made his directorial debut. Following the war, he resided in East Germany and was a key figure in the rebirth of German cinema. In 1953, he fled to West Germany and continued making films. He also occasionally wrote his own scripts. In the 1960s, Staudte began directing television shows.