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Watch These 10 German Movies and Improve Your Deutsch!

So you’re learning German, wunderbar! If you’re looking to up your input (reading and listening), and you’re a movie lover like me, you’re going to want to check out these German movies.

If you’re looking for a way to get the most out of learning through watching movies, check out what I did when I was doing a French 90-Day Challenge. I added a ton of vocabulary to my dictionary and felt like I’d achieved a real milestone in my learning.

10 Awesome German Movies

Victoria

We start with a movie that was filmed in one take. That’s right, just one continuous take, no cuts or edits. Can you imagine messing up near the end?!

Party-loving Spaniard Victoria moves to Berlin looking for a good time. She meets up with three Berliners and we follow them from 4:30 AM to 7:00 AM as their night goes from wild to criminal.

In case you start watching this and think “this German sounds funny”, it’s because the movie also includes some English, Spanish and Turkish.

 

Run Lola Run

Another fast-paced and crime-related adventure in Berlin.

This time we follow Lola, a woman who is sprinting around the city in search of a big bag of cash. Manni, Lola’s idiot boyfriend, has lost the bag containing 1000,000 Deutsche Marks (the currency in Germany before the Euro for all you young folks) of his boss’s money. Now any boss would be upset by this, but Manni’s boss is a criminal and he isn’t just upset, he’s murderous.

Lola is running for her boyfriend’s life, and she has only 20 minutes to come up with the cash!

 

Vitus

Enough crime! Let’s move on to something a little more heartwarming.

Vitus is a Swiss film about a highly intelligent child prodigy who is trying to take control of his life. His parents are overprotective of their “different” child and want him to be a piano virtuoso, but Vitus has other ideas. His real passion is flying.

The movie follows Vitus’s rebellion against his parents and sees him win big on the stock market, buy a plane and get his beloved grandfather his job back.  

 

Good Bye, Lenin!

Good Bye, Lenin! takes place in a divided Berlin. Protagonist Alex is at an anti-government protest in East Berlin when he is arrested. His mother, who is also at the protest, is so upset to see her son taken away in handcuffs that she suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma.

Alex’s mother remains in a coma through the fall of the Berlin wall and the German Democratic Republic. When she wakes up, doctor’s warn Alex and his sister that their mother is very weak, and any news too upsetting or shocking is likely to cause another heart attack. So Alex does what any good son would do, he tells elaborate lies, even getting actors to fake news reports to keep the shocking truth from her!

 

Funny Games

No decent movie list is complete without at least one horror in my opinion.

The film is set in a beautiful vacation community on an Austrian lake. A family arrive at their holiday home and are introduced by their next door neighbour to Peter and Paul, two young men from Vienna.

The family soon discover that there is something not quite right about Peter and Paul. What first seems like two rude young men being idiots quickly turns into something a whole lot darker. 

Funny Games is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s been compared to the ’70s movie A Clockwork Orange, so if you can’t stomach a bit of ultra violence, this is not a movie for you.

 

Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery

Wolfgang Beltracchi is a talented artist… a talented con artist that is! Beltracchi forged hundreds of paintings of early 20th-century masters and made himself and his wife (who helped him) millions of Euros. In 2011, Beltracchi was sentenced to six years in a German prison for his forgeries. His wife was sentenced to four years.

This film documents Beltracchi’s life and is very entertaining. He is a larger than life character who you just can’t help but pay attention to.

 

The Edukators

The Edukators is a three-person group of political activists. Jan, Peter and Jule break into the houses of wealthy Germans and wreak havoc in their homes, moving the furniture around and leaving notes telling them that they have too much money and the time of plenty is over!

The wild lives of these three friends are made more complicated when Jule falls for both Jan and Peter and they and mischievous breaking and entering turns into kidnapping. A love-triangle story for our times. 

 

Downfall

Downfall follows Hitler’s final 10 days, from his 56th birthday on April 20th, 1945 to April 30th when he committed suicide.

The film is seen from the perspectives of people who were there in the bunker with Hitler when the Russian forces reached Berlin, and is based on their memoirs of this time. Bruno Ganz who plays the Führer gives an awesome performance of the human side of this monster of history. A powerful film!

 

A Heavy Heart

After being diagnosed with a fatal motor function disease, former East German champion boxer Herbert decides to make things right with his daughter, who he abandoned as a child.

A Heavy Heart is a bit of a downer, and at times it can be kind of tough to get through, but it’s an impressive character study of the fallen macho man who is trying to right the wrongs of his past before this terrible disease beats him.

 

Das Boot

We finish with a classic of the WWII movie genre.

Das Boot is based on the autobiography of war photographer Lothar-Guenther Buchheim and takes place on the German WWII U-Boat U-96. Military journalist Lieutenant Werner is on board to document the boat’s deployment into the Battle of The Atlantic.

While on board, Werner experiences the cramped conditions (there was barely enough room for two men to pass each other in the corridors), intense boredom of waiting and sheer terror when the boat comes under attack.

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