10 “Must-See” German-Language Films

These are good movies, worth watching. Note, the list is non-exhaustive and in no particular order.

1. The Lives of Others (2006)

2. Das Boot (1982)

3. Europa, Europa (1990)

4. Downfall (2004)

5. The White Ribbon (2009)

6. Goodbye, Lenin! (2003)

7. Nowhere in Africa (2003)

8. Das Experiment (2001)

9. Wings of Desire (1987)

10. Barbara (2012)

See also my lists of Spanish-language, French-language & Italian-language films.

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21 Responses to 10 “Must-See” German-Language Films

  1. Artem says:

    Well, I watched the “The Lives of Others” – a great flick about Stasi recon officer who must spy on the local writer, who is believed to stand against the Communist government of Eastern Germany.

    Spoiler alert))

    During his shifts the officer begins to feel empathy to the writer as he becomes a witness of his life and difficulties. Eventually he starts to change the reports and cover the evidences the writer leaves, so the Stasi couldn’t arrest him. After the dramatic outcome of the events, the officer cleans the last evidence and looses his position in the Stasi. His chief can’t prove anything but he knows it was him who helped the writer. The Writer however doesn’t know anything. Many years later, the writer meets the former chief of the local Security office (his long-time enemy). The Germany is united now so his foe is a mere pensioner. So the writer asks him why they didn’t arrest and destroy him back in time, or he wasn’t under the surveillance at all? And he gets an answer: “You were under surveillance all the time, round o’clock”. The writer understands someone helped him. He seeks for the officer that helped him and eventually, through the old archives (made public after the uniting of Germany) he finds the name. The officer works now as a postman. Writer looks at him from the car, but he can’t come up and speak. He drives back. Later the new book of the writer is released. The book’s name is “Story of the good man” (I may mistake in details, but generally the meaning was like this). The first page is empty, except one phrase: To “HGW XX/7, with gratitude”.
    The postman enters the bookstore. He looks through the book and notices the dedication. He buys the book. The sales lady asks him if the needs to pack the book. He says: “No, this is for me”.

    The movie made a huge impression on me. It’s really good. Not something that you’ll watch 10 times, but it worth watching.

  2. Artem says:

    And Diana, I think you missed a great story here. Die Welle (2008), known also as “The Wave” or “The Experiment 2”. I have to admit I didn’t see the movie itself, but I read the story standing behind it. I think it’s a fascinating one. I’m a big fan of the society-problematic stuff like this. There’s a book, documentary, written by the teacher who made this, it’s called “The Third Wave”. It was the experiment to demonstrate his school students how quick a person can accept unacceptable earlier concepts on the example of Fascism. I think you’ll find it thought-provoking to say the least.

    The movie page on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1063669/

    • Have you watched Das Experiment? It is really good. The German version though.

    • dbmoviesblog says:

      Well, it does seem I missed a great story – the Wave (2008). I remember I’ve heard about this real-life experiment, but I never knew they made a movie out of it, thank you for bringing this to my attention! This is the kind of the movie I find irresistible, and, actually, it should have went into my list of thought-provoking and intelligent films. This movie/story takes the saying: “tell me – and I’ll forget, teach me – and I may not remember, show/involve me – and I’ll understand” to a whole new level, doesn’t it?
      On the other note, I notice you are as interested in films as I am, ever thought about starting your own film blog? 🙂

      • Artem says:

        Thanks for the kind words, Diana) I really love to watch movies of all kinds and love even more to discuss them)). But I think I’m more of “advanced” (maybe even not) next-seat-watcher than someone who really understands the art of cinematography so deep as you.
        In fact I did write couple of reviews back in time, but I made it more for the entertainment (mine one and those who’d read it) rather than to create something valuable.
        I enjoy reading your reviews, even if I haven’t watched some certain flick. I love your style and it’s clearly seen you use to put a significant work in each review you create.
        You do a great work by making this so interesting for me that I can’t go to sleep before checking your blog). So I’d be happy to read and talk of anything you write and let you be the Creator. I think you’re really good in this.

  3. Wonderful list. I thoroughly enjoy “What to do in case of fire” (one of the only Til Schweiger roles I like). “Das Finstere Tal” is also absolutely fantastic. If you’ll accept dialect movies and something lighter – “Schellen Ursli” is great too.

  4. Not seen 3 or 7 so will definitely have to check them out!

  5. Thanks for this list. I don’t know all the films and will look the ones I don’t know up. I also put M and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse in my top ten.

  6. Great list! Love Wings of Desire and Goodbye, Lenin!

  7. vinnieh says:

    These have all been added to my list. I desperately need to see more foreign language movies.

  8. Jay says:

    I don’t know all of those, but the ones I do know I agree with. Even if they aren’t necessarily “fun.”

  9. Roy Stafford says:

    Can I suggest The Nasty Girl (Das schreckliche Mädchen, 1990) by Michael Verhoeven? And possibly some Fassbinder? German films don’t get that much exposure in the UK so it’s good to see your lists are attracting new audiences.

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