Prior to moving to Germany, I was a member of a German club at my university. I had recently met my now-husband (a German) and was looking to learn the German language. I thought it would be a good idea to join the club so I could get a better grasp on not only the German language, but also the people, history, and culture.
The club hosted conversation nights and promoted local German events and festivals, but I was most interested in the German movie screenings. Every month or so, the club would play a German or German-language movie in a classroom on campus and provide copious amounts of donuts and coffee to keep us caffeinated and sugar-buzzed throughout the screening. Many students were beginner-level German speakers, so they usually played the movies with English subtitles so we could follow along. Some people don’t like foreign language movies, but for me, it’s an excellent, low-stress way to practice my German comprehension and learn about popular themes in German society.
Since my university club days, I’ve watched some more German movies and have compiled a list of my favourites for you.
Recommended German Movies
Good bye, Lenin!
Good bye, Lenin! is a multi award-winning 2003 tragicomedy set in East Berlin in October 1989. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young man protects his fragile mother (who has just awoken from a long coma) from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany is no longer. Hilarity ensues as he and his sister attempt to cover up any traces of the new West German influence in their surroundings.
Das Leben der Anderen
Known as The Lives of Others in English, this drama depicts the monitoring of East Berlin residents by agents of the Stasi, the East German secret police. This critically-acclaimed film won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Released 17 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Das Leben der Anderen was the first notably dramatic film about the subject after comedies such as Good bye, Lenin! caught the audience’s attention. The film is hailed for its authenticity and accurate portrayal of the atmosphere of East Berlin in the 1980s.
Gegen die Wand
Germany and Turkey, 2004
Entitled Head-On in English and Duvara Karşı in Turkish, this 2004 German-Turkish drama tells the raw and provocative love story of two Turkish immigrants living in Germany and their conflict of being caught between the traditional and modern.Continue Reading