Watching movies in their original language is one of my favorite things to do. It lets me combine two of my passions: movies and languages. Many studies have shown how language skills can be developed better and more efficiently when we do activities we like. Since movies are so popular, it only makes sense that to improve your German, you check out these hits, the best German movies to watch in our opinion.
[Good Bye, Lenin! – Germany- 2003 – Directed by Wolfgang Becker – Comedy – Trailer]
An irresistible comedy that was a success in Germany and abroad. Alex’s mother wakes up after being in a coma during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since any emotional shocks could threaten her health, her son decides to pretend that the wall is still there. It becomes difficult for Alex to recreate the former GDR (East Germany) and act as if nothing has changed when in fact everything has changed. A must-see movie in German.
Linguistic concerns: Everyday vocabulary with a rich and diverse range of words used. Buy it on Amazon.
The Lives of Others
[ Das Leben der Anderen – Germany – 2009 – Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck – Drama – Synopsis ]
A real masterpiece that tells of life in East Germany in the 80s through the eyes (and ears) of an agent of the Stasi (the secret police). There are many memorable and moving moments in this award-winning movie, which is recognised as one of the best German movies around.
Linguistic concerns: In addition to everyday vocabulary, we learn terms related to research and surveys. Intermediate level.
Buy it on Amazon
[Soul Kitchen – Germany – 2009 – Directed by Fatih Akin – Comedy Drama – Synopsis and trailer]
Zinos is a young restauranteur in Hamburg and the happy owner of Soul Kitchen. But then he gets dumped by his long-term girlfriend because he spends more time at his restaurant than with her. After the separation, Zinos, in an existential breakdown, decides to sell Soul Kitchen… until a new chef with great skills and a DJ that plays beats all night make an appearance. Soul Kitchen becomes famous throughout Hamburg and its suburbs.
[Die Welle – Germany – 2008 – Directed by Dennis Gansel – Drama –Synopsis]
Could Germany be eclipsed by a dictatorship again? In a German school, a teacher with unorthodox methods tries to teach his students the answer. For one week, his high school class becomes an autocratic group called “Die Welle” (The Wave). Under the supervision of the professor named the “Führer” of the group, the students take on a name, symbol, and salute. But at a certain point, the experience might get out of control…
Linguistic concerns: Because the main characters are teens, Die Welle exposes you to their way of talking (which can be vulgar at times). The vocab is rich and tied to school and politics.
Run Lola, Run
[Lola rennt- Germany – 1998- Directed by Tom Tykwer – Drama-Trailer]
If you like movies like Sliding Doors, you’ll love Run Lola Run. In this movie, Lola runs around the town meeting different people. Buckle up for a movie where everything happens at lightning speed, and prepare yourself for a series of alternative endings to get you thinking. This movie has become known as one of the best German movies among cult audiences for its quirky style.
Linguistic concerns: The speed of the movie is reflected in the dialogues: the German is very modern and full of slang used by young Germans. This can be difficult to understand without subtitles.
[Der Untergang – Germany/Austria/Italy – 2004 – Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel – Historical –Trailer]
The controversial figure of Hitler and the history of Nazi Germany is the focal point of this movie. Downfall is a historical movie that retraces the last days of the former German Führer. Hitler takes refuge in a bunker when defeat is imminent, and things devolve quickly. Don’t miss this film, internationally recognized as one of the best German movies and nominated for an Oscar.
Linguistic concerns: There’s a lot of war vocabulary and battle terminology, and Bruno Ganz plays Hitler’s unique accent very well, so it’s best to watch this one with subtitles.
The Miracle of Bern
[Das Wunder von Bern – Germany/Austria/Italy – 2003- Directed by Sönke Wortmann – Drama – Synopsis]
Das Wunder von Bern is a beautiful story unfolding during the years after the war. In 1954, Germany (RFA) begins the fight for the World Cup. A family is reunited with a loved one who was held captive for 10 years by the Soviet Union.
Linguistic concerns: The movie lets you learn terms related to sports and soccer in particular. Ideal for those who want a lighter film.
If you have suggestions for which German movies are a must-see, please let us know in the comments below!
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